The Four Tenets of Digital Transformation

Innovation isn't this or that...it is a continuous process; a journey in excellence.

The first and foremost realization that must dawn upon every living person on the this planet is the fact that Digital Transformation is inevitable. Whether one likes it or not, the age of digital is already upon us and is evolving rapidly. Much too rapidly for comfort of having lived in the past with the inability to anticipate the future with a higher sense of purpose and precision. And where this age will mature and shape our living is a very vague guess at this point in time.


The thinking that went with the construction of the modern society post the industrial revolution was every person who drives on the road need not be a great driver; for the speed controls in place and a governance that promotes defensive driving assures safety and soundness. And yet it is a travesty of human life that an approximate 14% of deaths in societies globally are caused by motor accidents. The modern digital architecture is about to change that thinking by providing the means to every single individual to take control of their safety and soundness.

We have built modern societies and enterprises promoting mediocrity. This was the provenance of the industrial revolution when mass customization had to succeed and data transformation was deliberately slowed and available only to a selective few. Now we are crossing over to the age of Digital Revolution where the paradigm has shifted and into real-time (read instantly) data transformation and availability on-demand. In essence the earlier term 'systems integration' which was an offline activity that patched together data has will now be seen as 'Computing' in real time criss-crossing Processes, Roles, Technology and Infrastructure across disparate systems instantaneously globally.


The premise of digital transformation is an exciting roller coaster ride that takes the erstwhile data endpoint and loops it into a continuous spiral extending Information , Intelligence and Innovation at the same time. This ride needs a great amount of courage and conviction coming from being prepared to take on this exciting journey and enjoying it.

It should be plainly evident from the illustration above that the transition from IT driven applications to digital driven applications clearly started around 2012. However most enterprises globally are still in the first wave of Digital 1.0. It is extremely critical that enterprises and societies morph the conventional terms of Planning, Preparing and Performing into one single term call "Readying". Due to the overlapping evolution of technology enabled processes we are compelled to now work on finding solutions not just from the perspective of Problems but rather from the mutually inclusive covenants of Innovation that focuses on Aspirations and Expectations without compromising one for the other.


Technology Centric Customer


The Customer is in the center of of a technology connected universe enveloping their Demography, Psychography and Biography. Profiling, Personalizing and Preferentiating are not just driving the Engagement and Experience but also the Security and Compliance associated with them. The handover of data needs to be seamlessly persisted in transaction while anticipated in Engineering and Development. Intelligence is woven into configuring and delivery solutions that are consumed in the process of Industrialization and Commercialization while Demand is created in the process of Conceptualizing and Engineering.


The conventional economic definition of a Customer was one who paid in exchange for an offer of product or service. In the modern economy, that definition has morphed to those who contribute value to making revenue from the offer of a Platform, Product, Process and / or Service.

Customer Immersion is key in the entire lifecycle of both Mind 2 Market (M2M) and Time 2 Market (T2M) that ecompasses Innovation. The age of Competitive Differentiation has given way to Innovative Distinction for those who court Industry Leadership and Premium Positioning. The shelf life of a business cycle is a very short one due the dynamic changing of the landscape on all the five dimensions (Strategy, Process, People Capability, Technology & Applications & Infrastructure) of an enterprise architecture. Hence there is a demand to establish a digital factory that is akin to the now getting industrial factories albeit with a radically different purpose, process and therefore outcomes . This is the basis for Creating and Managing Demand that focuses Customers through the process of Education, Ownership and Commitment to the Aspirational; that in turn contributes to a higher quality of life itself.


Globally Agile and Locally Operable


A lot of litany has flown under the bridge about implementing Agility and CD / CI. The IT Development mindset has seen this as a sequential transition from Waterfall to Agile methodologies. Whereas life demands this to be seen as the very essence of getting 'real'. Meta Models of Platform, Process, Product and / or Services need to be engineered in readiness for what the customers in certain segment of market and mindsets are willing to adopt. This is the clear indication of the transition from the age of mass customization to Customized Massification.


An IOT device is as much a Customer as a Business Partner or a Vendor who might have a unique IP. The challenge and opportunity with digital is the ability to connect these disparate elements early in the solution conceptualization globally and immerse the Experience and Engagement for an early adoption through the three stage gates of Education, Ownership and Commitment.

A Digital Factory is therefore a globally connected one that is Socially Mobile on a Cloud and works on Creation and Contribution of Intellectual Property (IP) that generates Value in the Customer Ecosystem. As can be understood from the above illustration, Agility must be orchestrated for Strategic outcomes between the conceptualization and engineering of solutions while Continuous Delivery (CD) / Continuous Improvement (CI) must be structured to orchestrate Profitable and Productive Operations between the Industrialization and Commercialization environments.


Talent


There needs to be a paradigm shift in the way Talent is recognized in the modern context. In an era when information and opportunities were restricted it was inevitable that that a majority of instruction takers were led by a minority of decision makers. But with the evolution of globalization and Internet it has created the need to recognize the basic cognitive abilities of humans to respond rather than react to their stimulus. The rate and pace of Innovation therefore is complemented now by a majority of decision makers who want to find expression to their latent capabilities (capacity to transform + ability to perform) that influences the Creation of Value.


The democratization of societies and institutions has created this feeling of independence that can be no longer stifled to find expression. The best way to utilize this expression is to build a confederate structure across an enterprise ecosystem that can leverage the best talent from the world to deliver a unique experience and engagement every single time to every customer (n=1; R = G); thereby increasing the rate of value created and consumed.

Relevance is a process of discovery which needs to Resonate with a majority in order for a Concept / Idea to succeed. Not all concepts and ideas will succeed even if they have gone through the fine sieve of qualifications and testing. This is where individuals, societies and enterprises need to find Resilience to be able to thrive in both good and bad times and keep a continuous approach to growth growing.


Culture


The emphasis on growth should not be looked at from the narrow definition of Profitability / Productivity alone. It has to focus on the larger social purpose / premise where the former becomes automatically embedded in the outcomes. For example, a banking and financial services enterprise can make digital the premise to enable societies become reliant in pursuing well articulated financial goals or the healthcare industry can use the digital health data to give individuals the control of their health or the education system can make learning a life time process.


Shouldn't we focus digital as a premise to benefit our societies with a higher threshold of capability that catalyzes socio-economic change democratizing intelligent decision making? Isn't that promise exciting and enriching future generations while also addressing the current requirements of economic progress?

The Culture (Values, Beliefs & Assumptions) of most enterprises and societies have been woven around the principles of monopoly and oligopoly. And yet the human spirit has never stopped yearning for freedom. But the questions that has often alluded most is freedom from what? It is this very question drives the proverbial wedge between the millennials and Generation Alpha from the Generation X and Baby Boomers. While the former have come to see the strife of life amidst a very comfortably prosperous socio economic environment, the latter are still latching onto the insecurities with which their growth was characterized.


Tools such as Design Thinking need to be adapted more to make enterprises establish the immediacy of the future in the Now.

We see a lot of attempts at Culture Change and they produce very limited outcomes because of the cosmetic approach rather than a causative one. It is only possible to adopt a causative approach when the intent becomes the driver of the moral compass of enterprises and societies rather than the pragmatic action that satisfies and lulls a limited few. History will teach us that laggards have had difficulty in always crossing the chasm from one age into another simply for the fact that the gap has widened quite a bit by the time they have arrived at the peak of one valley.



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