Digital First Transformation

Many Fortune 1000 companies are currently trying to differentiate their products and services and simultaneously provide lower cost to their customers through innovative Digital Strategies.  The ones that fail, will most likely not be around in 10-15 years and the ones that do, have a chance to dominate existing and adjacent markets.   Depending on the structure and physicality of the industry, such as reliance on physical presence or resources, disruption may come sooner than incumbents ever dreamed possible.

We define Digital Transformation as the fusion of IT Strategy and Business Strategy into a cohesive Digital Strategy that innovates existing business models, drastically improves operational efficiency, and enables a new and improved customer experience.

In order to create and execute a sustainable Digital Strategy, organizations need to invent a futuristic vision, ensure wide-spread stakeholder engagement, consolidate IT and Business governance and ensure sufficient resourcing of multi-facetted digital initiatives.   In general, Digital Transformation can drive IT Transformation, however the reverse is typically not the case.

Unfortunately, fewer than 15% of US companies can be considered on the path to digital transformation.   The main reasons companies fail at digital strategy are that they don’t understand the implications of digital technology, they fail to have a holistic digital vision and/or they have a vision, but severely underfund digital projects and related infrastructure.   The other area of risk is around not having sufficient support from top management.

One key learning over the past 10 years is that digital transformation is not a destination; but a never ending journey to improve internal operations and the overall customer experience.  This organizational journey is greatly facilitated by having an agile architecture that can support the continuum of transitions.  The specific steps to create a continuously evolving digital value proposition are as follows:

  1. Create a Digital Strategy
  2. Assess the existing business model
  3. Transform Internal Operations
  4. Transform the Customer Experience
  5. Repeat

Only in this manner can organizations stay ahead of the competition and maintain digital hegemony.  The creation of a winning digital strategy first requires an assessment of existing the business model, infrastructure, operations, capabilities, skills and initiatives.  After this has been established, plans should be made to transform the organization’s internal operations involving improved digital capabilities, cloud-based platforming, channel integration and key performance indicators.  Simultaneously, the customer experience should be analyzed for transformation opportunities utilizing streamlined workflow, experience enhancements and modern digital conveniences such as mobility, social or AI enhancements.  In many industries, this is akin to decomposing the customer journey into its component parts and getting creative about service, information and process enhancement opportunities.

An example of a customer journey transformation in the Airline Industry is looking across the various stages from a guest’s perspective.  The stages include Dreaming, Planning / Booking, Departing / Flying / Touching Down and Sharing the experience with others.  At each stage in the customer journey, there are specific aspects that can greatly differentiate the passenger experience.  In each instance, making the customer experience more personal through value-add data access, enhanced digital interaction, flexibility and/or on-demand services can transform each of the physical touch points in the customer journey.   In this way, the customer value proposition is reshaped and the operating model transformed.

In general, there is significant opportunity to provide a differentiating competitive advantage by leveraging digital innovation throughout an organization’s value chain.  This can come in the form of business technology platforms, real-time decision support, mobility, predictive analytics and unification of front office and back office systems.  The transformation of internal operations with the goal of transforming the customer experience requires many new fine-grained measurements throughout the value chain.

The new currency of business is digital speed and as the boundaries of companies become more information porous, having a flexible Digital Strategy and Infrastructure is key to the dominating your organization’s ecosystem.  For more information on how HBSC Strategic Services can digitally transform your business, please contact us at 1-800-970-7995 or visit us at

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