The sometimes over-used and often misunderstood concept can create images ranging from opportunity to uncertainty and confusion. While there may not be a universally-recognized definition, it deserves our unabated attention as many smart companies are turning in record performance through transformative initiatives.
First, I’m going to explain how AgileThought defines digital transformation. Then, I’ll ask two of my colleagues, Taylor Howard and Steven Granese, to weigh in on why digital transformation is important, why organizations struggle with it, and how AgileThought can help.
What does Digital Transformation Really Mean?
At AgileThought, we believe digital transformation is about revamping existing systems and delivery processes to take advantage of new opportunities. It’s not a specific offering, but rather a concept that we support and guide our clients through with a full complement of products, services, capabilities and knowledge. We don’t sell “digital transformation”— we help our clients achieve it.
Our definition: Digital Transformation is a journey that an organization takes that fundamentally changes how they deliver products and services to their customers and partners with a focus on modern, digital solutions that use data to improve customer experiences and business decision-making.
Let’s Unpack That Definition:
- Digital transformation is a journey, not a destination. Some steps are simple and fast, while other strategic initiatives can take years—especially for larger enterprises.
- It creates new business models and fundamentally changes old, traditional business models. Think about the way Uber, Amazon and FedEx deliver products and services to their customers and business partners. It’s deeply rooted in how they are shifting the way they operate to focus on the customer experience.
- With a focus on digitization, it replaces or retires applications and systems that are not cloud-enabled. New experiences are created for customers on the latest platforms ranging from IoT devices, mobile, kiosks and wearables, to AR/VR, bots and beyond.
- It makes use of entirely new sets of data that were previously unavailable. Using AI, this data is leveraged to enhance customer experience (CX) and deliver predictive analytics for better decision making.
- It’s an understanding that CX is not a one-time fix; it requires an agile mindset of continuous improvement to stay aligned with evolving customer needs and wants.
Steven: How important is this to the average mid-sized or enterprise company?
Just about every company we speak with is either developing or engaging in their own digital transformation journey. For some, the journey is subtle and includes small changes to existing processes, with a focus on becoming more operationally efficient; but for most, the journey involves rethinking how they interact with their customers, how they leverage modern technologies, and even how they can invent new business models.
As an agile software development company, our role includes helping them to create new products and become more adaptive in the way they lead their organization. Often, this also means helping them retool the way they conceive, manage and evolve that technology over time.
Traditional software development has been driven by a “project approach,” where one group of people will define a solution at the outset, but then a different group of people will develop the solution over a long period of time without regards to changing customer needs. Today, a company’s digital transformation means learning to evolve alongside changing customer requirements and thriving amidst the uncertainty of the marketplace.
The AgileThought Transform Practice focuses on fundamentally transforming the way organizations accomplish work. More than simply helping teams to be more efficient, our coaches focus on instilling agile, product management, and DevOps best practices to allow entire departments and organizations to unleash the potential that has been buried inside of them.
Taylor: Where do you see companies struggling with their digital transformation journey?
All companies struggle with change, and digital transformation is all about change. People are wired to stay inside their comfort zone even when they understand the importance of evolving the company. A decade ago, most people had no idea what “the cloud” was and today entire businesses are being created and transformed because of it.
When a company goes down the digital transformation path, they need buy-in and action at all levels. Leadership, marketing, sales, development and delivery—everyone needs to play their role, but we often see these groups embracing the journey with different or inconsistent levels of enthusiasm.
Not everything is about reluctance to change. Sometimes it is perceived conflicts in process or methodology, like “Agile vs DevOps.” Agile typically emphasizes team interaction, while DevOps is more about delivery pipelines and flow. Our team has figured out the optimal chemistry between the two, but we see companies struggling with this as they transform and adopt new strategies. Like most things, this requires education, expectation setting, positive change management and a good partner like AgileThought.
So, how does AgileThought help organizations through a digital transformation?
We shift an organization to a product-focused mindset and away from the old school IT projects that inherently had a gap between requirements in the field and what was communicated to or understood by the development team.
We place a major emphasis on the continuous delivery and flow of new products and services. We shift organizations away from heavy on-prem applications that reside on expensive servers to new cloud solutions—like infrastructure as a service—that are scalable, secure and cost-effective for fluctuating workloads.
We seamlessly deliver software that has analytics, AI and machine learning capabilities and enable new ways to build innovative applications rapidly.
We integrate those solutions with online components that have never been possible before.
Finally, we combine all our products, services, knowledge and methodologies to fully support our client’s digital transformation, enhancing how they go to market.