We are in the middle of the fourth industrial revolution, with technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics, artificial intelligence and cloud-based business management tools a regular talking point
But technology alone won’t solve productivity bottlenecks and open new avenues for growth. There is a bigger picture that cannot be ignored – and it starts with the customer, Thomas Honoré, CEO and President of Columbus, explains.
The technological landscape is rapidly changing and with it, businesses must change too. IDC predicts global spending on digital transformation technologies will reach nearly $2 trillion in 2022 – with IoT connectivity, automation and cloud technologies all contributing to this increase.
Where to start? Start at the beginning
Knowing how and where to deploy emerging technologies is essential, but technology adoption alone won’t keep companies at the fore of the industry. Any future-proof business strategy needs to rely on data-driven concepts and principles that can survive rapid technology shifts. Data is your most powerful tool for driving disruption and innovation, not only by providing insights but also giving you direction. Learning where data can deliver the greatest business results and acting on it is a process that both starts and ends with the customer.
Your customer’s challenges are your challenges
It doesn’t matter if your organisation is small or large – when it comes to digital transformation, everything starts with the customer. The first question organisations need to ask is how people use their products and services, and how disruption would affect that experience.
Business leaders must get to grips with the unique pain points of their customers – even when they remain unexpressed – and find a solution that directly responds to these. They then need to adjust their operating models within the organisation from the top down to facilitate the changes they want to see.
Lead your customers on their digital transformation journey
In order to deliver unrivalled and inspired experiences to end-customers, organisations should continuously explore opportunities where they can leverage technology – either through improved field service management, faster customer service or seamless e-commerce. Solutions such as data analytics, Business Intelligence and cloud can help customers run and manage their applications 24/7 and work smarter.
By helping organisations plan their digital strategy or analytics projects and by assisting with the repetitive, daily operations that come with managing IT and cloud infrastructure, we can empower customers at all levels.
Disrupt or die – empower your team to drive change
When I was writing my first book on business disruption and leadership, Disrupt or Die, I realised an important lesson about the need to disrupt the individual, not just the business. You will not be able to shift the way a company pursues its goals without changing your company culture first – the way your staff feel, act and work.
The starting point for disruption has to be in the workplace, where processes must be put in place to take individuals on the journey from “novices” to “digital ninjas”. Indeed, one key element of how Columbus delivers customer value is by drawing on the extensive industry knowledge of our experts and providing business leaders with the resources they need to plan out their digital transformation strategy – from consulting and workshops to industry insights. Customers speak to our employees to develop an understanding of how the technologies of today and tomorrow will help them reach their goals.
Lead by example, with innovation in mind
For me, it is fascinating to be the leader of a business full of experts who really understand digitisation and how it affects industries and our customers. This is an exceptional moment in our industry, and there are so many opportunities for growth.
From a digitalisation perspective, I’m really inspired by what we do and how it profoundly affects people, businesses and societies. We must help customers protect their data, reach their sustainability goals and create jobs, all while changing the way we interact and collaborate with each other and how we as businesses create growth opportunities.
Keep the lights on
Fundamentally, the aim of all digital transformation efforts is to help organisations always keep the lights on, innovate and find new solutions to meet emerging challenges. In the race to disrupt, no single technology will give them as much of a head-start and competitive edge as knowing where the customer value lies and how to use data to extract it.
About the Author
Thomas Honoré, CEO and President of Columbus. Leading Columbus with more than 1300 employees in 27 offices worldwide. Columbus is a leadingDigital consulting company and solution provider for primarily Food, Retail & distribution andmanufacturing.