The Havard Business Review is further endorsing the sentiments of my previous post "The small d and big T in digital Transformation". This paper emphasises that the digital revolution is about enterprises making potentially seismic shifts in their business models, products and services in order to survive in a digital ecosystem - which in turn will disrupt their industry as they know it.
The statement "No Industry is Immune" couldn't be more true. Although there is still a level of scepticism in some industries - including some of the Insurance fraternity - this is something that no business can afford to ignore for too much longer.
Without a doubt technology is a critical component, catalyst and pressure behind the speed at which enterprises (and whole markets) are having to change. However, there is no technology that alone can provide the "silver bullet" to remove the effort, pain and financial investment associated with transforming a business into being a digital superstar. If there was such a technology then everyone would implement it and the playing field would once again be level, forcing businesses to once again look inwards to identify the changes in their business model that could give them competitive edge.
The concepts above, continue to reinforce my point of view that although investments in technology can make today's businesses more competitive and provide some short-term returns on investment, such investments are simply buying time before more fundamental business change is required. With the rate of change in technology, social norms and economic conditions the amount of time this buys the modern day organisation is ever decreasing and such tactics run the risk of forcing an enterprise into a position of constant catch-up with the competition.
This is a time where the bold and brave will prosper. Enterprises need to take a step back and consider the changes that have occurred over the last 5 - 10 years in their industry and start to imagine what the next 5 - 10 years is likely to look like in the digital, on-demand, automated and customer configurable world we live in today. The next step is to start to formulate ideas and concepts about the products, services, channels and customer experiences that will be critical in that industry and at this point they need to start to work with technology companies to enable those business-led concepts.
The road ahead for long-standing heritage businesses operating in traditional markets, like insurance, is not likely to be straight forward. Those that will survive the digital revolution will embrace change at the heart of their business and look to technology to make that change happen effectively. Given the need for enterprises to change to business models that may not be well known or where there is little internal experience, those who collaborate with others in their market, experts in other markets, digital transformation experts and technology companies will most likely form the clearest visions for their digital business and put in place realistic plans to realise that vision.
Digital transformation is the result of enterprises seeking to adapt to the storm of new technology affecting markets and customers. Effective internal systems, processes, and value chains will always be essential, but enterprises will increasingly need to harness the skills, capabilities, and passions of the external market. Digital transformation forces wholesale change to the foundations of an enterprise — from its operating model to its infrastructure, what it sells, and to whom and how. No industry is immune. Industries dominated by information-rich assets (think publishing and music) were swept up in the early wave of internet innovation. The subsequent mobile revolution created challenges for retailers who found customers flocking to online alternatives. Today, disruptive technology shifts such as cloud, big data, and IoT will not only upend these industries (again), but introduce revolutionary change to even the most staid industries.