On a Digital Transformation Journey? Head for the Islands!

Digitisation or Digital Transformation?

Digitisation and Digital Transformation are common terms in conversations these days, but do they mean the same thing? The short answer is a resounding “absolutely not”.

Digitisation refers to the process of taking information from a source and putting it into a digital format – like converting a paper-based form into an electronic form that can be digitally signed improving data integrity and effectiveness. Digitisation takes a largely manual process and replicates it in a digital environment without significant change to the process or organisation.

 Transformation is the key word in Digital Transformation. Paraphrasing Mike Stopforth, true Digital Transformation is a change, which brings about a reorientation of an organisation resulting in a significant change or improvement. While Digital Transformation makes use of platforms and systems to achieve that, it is not just about the technology – it must be led by the business model and therefore is strategic in nature.

 Digital Transformation must be underpinned by the business model, which in turn is built around value creation for the customer. So, the starting point of a Digital Transformation strategy is to assess every customer interaction and process, find ways to redesign those interactions to remove friction or enhance engagement across the various departments and, using technology, implement changes that will delight the customer.

Jason Bloomberg, (Forbes, 2018), takes this a bit further, stating that “In reality, Digital Transformation requires the organisation to deal better with change overall, essentially making change a core competency as the enterprise becomes customer-driven end-to-end. Such agility will facilitate ongoing digitalisation initiatives but should not be confused with them.”

What does all this mean? Customers today demand more from organisations. The expectation is instant feedback and no-one expects to apply for a loan by physically walking into a financial institution to complete a pile of paper forms. The application must be available online, through a portal catering for the digital upload of supporting documents required, with the necessary filters like value and time period of the loan. The loan should be granted or declined immediately.

When was the last time your organisation took a look at the business model and asked how it could be more closely aligned with its’ customers? 

Solutioneers have recently completed a project on behalf of a South African Insurer and identified a series of digitisation projects, which we like to call digitisation islands, that will remove friction from the customer experience throughout their journey.

Torch Solutioneers believes that if organisations take the time to purposefully plan the Digital Transformation strategy, connecting the digitisation islands, that this will lead to an enhanced customer journey and associated operational and service models. It can’t just be the CIO’s problem – it is critical to recognise the impact across the entire organisation and the necessary commitment to the strategy and inferred change management will need to be supported at the highest level of influence.  An organisation must undertake these projects with a long-range view that the result is worth the effort.

Building a sustainable business model for the future that satisfies the end customer is key to staying in business and changing out one or two processes for a digital version will not be sufficient. Digital Transformation is rather a continuous and long-term approach, resulting in a more agile organisation which constantly reviews the customer journey for points of friction that can be improved upon.