Digital Mindset Leading to Digital Transformation

By Chandan Khaitan, SVP & Head - Digital Transformation, E-commerce, and Technology, Walmart India Private Limited

Digital Mindset Leading to Digital TransformationHow do we Digitally transform our business/company?

A question that is often asked these days.

The responses could be one or all of the below and these sound familiar too.

- Let’s add e-commerce as an additional sales channel

- Let’s have social media presence and start digital mar­keting

- Improve IT Infrastructure, Technologies or Applica­tions

The fact is that Digital Transformation is not about doing ‘anything different’, rather doing things ‘differ­ently’. It is about bringing ‘Transformational’’ change rather than being ‘Incremental’. Companies such as Uber, AirBnB, Netflix etc. are testimony of the transfor­mational change impact. Being digitized is not just an add-on; it’s about fundamentally changing the way one thinks about the customer or way of doing business etc. It is about being data-driven and working with agility.

Digitization would mean rethinking the complete business model or the way customer needs to be served. For example – a leading turbine company was earlier selling turbines and also providing downtime servicing as and when it happens. That was older business model. Now, this company has added IOT device in the turbine which on real time, feeds data of turbine’s functioning and helps the company predict downtime and provide the servicing proactively. This is re-thinking the com­plete product. There is whole lot of service element be­ing added to the product, thanks to data.

"There are both good and flip sides of digitization. Good part is that it always puts ‘Customer’ first. The flip side is that it is no longer a utopian thinking; one doesn’t have the option but to adapt or perish"

Let’s take another example of smart houses. Here the company is not just providing you the devices but also services like energy management.

So, there are three key elements of ‘Digitization’:

1. Being customer fanatic

2. Being extremely data driven but not ignoring gut and the intuition

3. Challenging the status quo ‘always’; even to the extent of challenging the complete business model

There are both good and flip sides of digitization. Good part is that it always puts ‘Customer’ first and hence ‘Customer’ is set to be winner. The flip side is that it is already here; it’s no longer a utopian thinking; one doesn’t have the option but to adapt or perish. Follow­ing are some of the essentials to adapt Digitization:

1. Tone at the top

It’s not just about being mere part of the Strategy deck or CEO’s long term vision statement. It needs to be vis­ible in how the CEO including the CXOs showcase digi­tal mindset in every discussion, thoughts and actions. It can’t just be a mandate because that will only influence a mindset change but may not drive it. Leaders would need to foster an environment where employees feel safe and encouraged to experiments with their ideas; ‘Fail fast and fail cheaply’ becomes a mantra.

2. Perfection is the enemy of getting `work done’

Being comfortable with going live with Minimal Viable product (MVP) and then adjusting it on the fly is the key to win with today’s demanding and evolving customer. Lot of inspiration comes from the software industry - agile development, MVP thought process, cross func­tional teams working together to create prototypes, to test them and to release them out in a fast manner. In order to create agility, an accelerated loop of Develop - Go Live - Measure - Change is required and to do that it needs an environment of collaboration and understand­ing individual roles.

3. Fall in love with Problem

Gone are the days where in meeting will start with some­one pulling out a solution without even going in depth of what needs to be solved. Today is the world of falling in love with the problem and not being solution orient­ed. This will force the organization to be extremely cus­tomer oriented and letting data do most of the talking.

4. Old Power vs New Power

In its book ‘New Power’ Jeremy Heimans explains the difference between ‘Old Power and New Power’

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, in­accessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it cap­tures.

New power is like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channelize it.

New power gains its force from people’s growing ca­pacity - and desire - to go far beyond passive consump­tion of ideas and goods. (Views expressed in the article are of the author only)

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