January is generally a good time to look back at the year that was and the lessons learned. This year, there are some important notes for large, global enterprises, especially those looking to become more digital.
Although there were some enterprises that reaped early digital rewards, a huge number floundered in the face of overwhelming technology advancements and the march of the startups. From that, I see two main lessons. First, do no harm—keep your operations running as they are until you know what exactly you need to disrupt. Second, disruption is here to stay—come to grips with the fact that you will need to disrupt something in your business to stay relevant. That includes processes, technologies, human capital, and even your business model.
If 2016 was the year of a Digital Awakening, 2017 will be the beginning of a Digital Renaissance: the rebirth of the smart enterprise with a digital mindset and a more holistic approach.
Renaissance refers to the 300-year period in Europe beginning in the 14th century when the Middle Ages gave way to modernism in the sciences, arts, politics and literature. Digital Renaissance implies a similar reimagining of the enterprise through a variety of lenses, namely strategy, platforms, experience and culture. At NTT DATA, we believe an enterprise undergoing a Digital Renaissance needs to apply four key lenses:
- Redefine success. Define what digital means for your enterprise by understanding what problem you are trying to solve and for whom and what digital success should look like. Align all existing and planned investments around this intersection of business and IT.
- Reexamine friction. Understand customer behavior and identify inefficiencies in interactions. Remove high-friction bottlenecks at both the process and interface levels.
- Reimagining experience. A fundamental truth about a digital business is that it is built around the customer, which includes employees, partners and suppliers. Create an experience that is engaging, timely and relevant for all your customer communities.
- Reengineer platforms. Let the experience drive the plumbing and the data you need. All modernization activities should be about creating the right experience and reducing friction.
2016 was the year of living on the “digital edge,” with many companies discovering they were not ready to compete with upstarts or that the culture and the executive mindset just wasn’t there to adapt. In 2017, enterprises would be wise to shake off their stupor and embrace Digital Renaissance as a way to create their own path toward ROI from digital investments and ensure their relevance in the digital world.