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From ‘Doing Digital’ to ‘Being Digital’

John Burgin, APAC Head, Digital Business, Cognizant | Jan. 31, 2017
Adopting a digital mindset can only happen with active sponsorship from senior-level executives, including the CEO.

Digital endeavors require a centralized effort, but cannot be the responsibility of a single team. However, adopting a digital mindset can only happen with active sponsorship from senior-level executives, including the CEO.

Companies looking to grow as digital businesses often start with smaller digital initiatives in various parts of the organization. These initiatives are not run-of-the-mill projects. Instead, they require new thinking around implementation and ROI analysis, outside the usual framework of annual budget cycles, making it vital for the CEO to be fully on board.

Digital transformation efforts that are led exclusively by the CMO or CIO often fall short of addressing transformational needs across the business, as they fail to prevent insular, departmental or divisional agendas from overtaking the enterprise digital mandate. The most holistic transformations can take place by creating a focused organizational unit to drive the digital agenda in collaboration with all functions across the organization.

Use a human lens for digital success

For companies looking to drive meaningful change, it's important to make sure that any initiative is aligned with changing industry dynamics and the shifting needs of their customers. In this case, ethnographic research can provide useful insights into the type of new experiences that different types of customers will respond to. Such insights can make the difference between success and failure of a new product launch. They can also be used to start the important work in re-thinking the company operating model and enterprise architecture.

Don't change. Evolve

Growing into digital maturity - from 'doing' to 'being' - is a process of evolution, encompassing experiments and failures. The transformation might start at the periphery of the organization, but ultimately redefines the enterprise. Companies intent on success must foster behavior that encourages difficult questions, challenges industry norms, and looks beyond organizational boundaries.

Companies must continue to build or leverage external capabilities in ethnographics, data sciences, automation and artificial intelligence to become digital. The reward for doing so is to put the company on a new path to sustained customer loyalty and trust and thus, higher revenues, better reputation and higher employee satisfaction.


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