Digital capabilities are superpowers. We have grouped them in four main categories; connectivity, intelligence, speed and simplicity. If you use them wisely, they will create magic.
Connectivity is the foundation. Everything will be connected to the internet. Everything? Yes, everything. Or better to say, almost everything. In most cases it is or will be more feasible to connect anything to the internet and make it digitally accessible. Cars, homes, cities, schools, hospitals, factories, warehouses; even lightbulbs, livestock, etc.
Once everything is connected, then all of those things are constantly creating and updating data – lots of data. Customer analytics will be based on all the data collected from the channels, wearables, smart homes, and so forth. Supply chain analytics, demand forecasting, and optimization are all fueled by a shops floor data and supplier data; it is the data coming from traceability.
Design will enable business flows, create memorable experiences for customers, business partners and employees. User experience and business enablement is truly competitive and will be a real differentiator. Design can make it or break it. Da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. Words truer today than any time before.
Last, but not the least, digital superpower capability is probably the most powerful. Digital is light-speed. The moment a user presses the button, connectivity flows literally with light-speed across the globe and the transaction is committed. You have just sold a new car, you just opened a new account, you just confirmed the delivery, you just approved the claim. In this time of constant flux and ever-growing consumer expectations any pace slower than light-speed is too slow.
Now, imagine you have these digital superpowers. A focused and realistic approach to digital transformation will give you these capabilities over time and there is no other way to survive in this decade and in the decades to come. How would you like to compete? In which area(s) would you like to apply these superpowers? For what purpose?
If your main duty (business model) is to manufacture anything and deliver it, if you work mostly business to business, then it is likely operational excellence will be your priority. Digital superpowers will make you more productive and effective than you could have ever imagined.
Most of your visions can only be realized by gaining digital super capabilities, such as an end to end traceable value chain, such as a fully connected warehouse, such as a fully and highly granular monitored shop floor. You can never be precise enough, fast enough, adaptive enough.
Suppliers will be managed better. Flows of material, money and data will be streamlined. Processes will run frictionless, production will be of higher quality, faster, better and cheaper. Who would not want a factory like this? You think it’s a dream? No, this is operational excellence at its best, realized with your new set of digital superpowers.
If your business is more focused on sales and marketing to consumers, such as retail, e-commerce, hospitality, airlines or the like, then “customer experience” will be your most important priority. In the fast moving and evolving world we live in, competition is getting stiffer, consumer expectations are growing continuously, patience and loyalty vanish rapidly.
What if you could know everything about every single consumer, at any given time, at every single interaction through all of your channels? You could adjust the experience, you could recommend the most suitable products, you could fine-tune the relevance and price of your products or services.
The world’s tech giants know almost anything about their users at any given time. How can you compete with them? Digital superpowers will give you the intelligence, the design, the agility, the precision to outperform the competition. You will be able to know almost everything of relevance and build an experience so insightful and delightful, that you will become the company you always envisioned to be.
Operational excellence and customer experience are the most compelling strategic imperatives moving forward. Digital superpowers are enabling both in an unprecedented way. But what if that is not enough? What if software eats the world? What if young startups are eating from your market share? Then the sole answer is innovation.
Digital superpowers are strong levers for compelling innovation. Building a new business model, developing a new site or app is just immensely quicker and more effective in the digital world than in real life. User tests, accessing thousands or even more consumers rapidly and with very limited budget, is not just possible on digital channels, it’s eminently achievable.
But this requires some “new age” capabilities. Working in an agile manner, designing experiences, collaborating with external freelancers, integrating APIs, co-creating with startups, sharing open data, failing forward, and so forth. In summary, this requires a whole new mindset, one we call a “digital culture”.
So, it’s anything but easy to succeed in the new digital realm. Defining your competitive strategy, gaining your digital superpowers and shifting your culture to become more agile all go hand in hand, while still achieving your business targets, delighting customers, and running processes smoothly.
This is all quite tough, but it is possible. Good luck and see you there, where the digital champions meet.
Photos: Unsplash, Twitter
We are trusted advisors to many great companies on their digital journeys. Our passion and focus help businesses succeed. Digitopia is an objective and independent management consulting firm driven by values and delivering tangible impact.