George Westerman, a speaker at NILF, is credited with award-winning research, writing and speaking shows for senior executives on how to drive competitive advantage leveraging transformative technology. He says that digital transformation is happening at the customer-facing side which is smart and sexy, and just as importantly at the back-end, driving business processes. The two combined are putting things in a different way. This may or may not change basic business models. For example he gives the example of business model of Volvo. Volvo sells to dealers who in turn sell to the end consumer. Volvo, through mobile apps is able to reach out to the end-consumer, without necessarily cutting out the dealer. A B2B business is able to go B2B2C way.
This new technology can make you more collaborative not just locally, but globally, across nations just as effectively. Do businesses really have a choice of not transforming? Again, he gives the examples of PC, email, mobile phones. Just as businesses cannot keep away from these seemingly basic technologies, today, similarly disruptive technologies is being embraced just as rapidly. All these ideas which seem common, were huge, and not very long ago. Either businesses disrupt on their own free will or they will be forced to with not so pleasant outcomes.
The elements of digital transformation is happening in two stages. Those who are investing heavily in technology and those who are putting a leadership engine in place to see how they can derive more value out of all this. The 4 disruptive technologies he says are: Social, Mobile, Analytics & Embedded Devices. Sure, Cloud is right out there, no questions asked, but in the disruption curve, it’s a step down.
In the same breath he hastily adds that 80 to 85 % of businesses are not doing it yet and there remains a challenge for CEOs. For decades, back-end processes were driven by IT and one can’t simply give it all up and lose all the cumulative learning. This transitioning is where leadership fits in and is able to derive optimum value.
Be there at NILF 2015 and be part of the august company. As a Research Scientist with the MIT Sloan Initiative on the Digital Economy, he leads a portfolio of research efforts on digital transformation. He has written numerous articles and other contributions for publications such as Sloan Management Review, Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal and Forbes. His books too have received wide acclaim.