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Navigating Tech Transitions – How Leaders Steer Through Digital Transformation

May 17, 2024 eye-glyph 78

Table of Contents

    Technically speaking, the digitalization landscape is constantly on the move, or maybe even like a current in the ocean. And not so surprisingly, if your business doesn’t steer well through the ocean currents, it’s going to drown in no time!

    Surprisingly, over 91% of businesses around the world are engaged in digital transformation in some way or another. (Gartner) However, more than 70% of companies need to improve in their attempt to transform their business and meet their set goals digitally. (McKinsey)

    You must be wondering why. This is because their C-suite executives or leaders have failed to navigate technical transitions in and around their businesses.

    We’ll come to that later. First, let’s review some of the successful case studies and real-life examples of how leaders swiftly navigate their companies through technical transformations.

    Case Studies: Successful Digital Transformation Stories

    Nike:

    The world-renowned shoe company that has a significant market share in shoes and apparel recorded revenue of over 33 billion U.S. dollars in the first quarter of 2023. (Statista)

    However, there was a time when Nike faced significant challenges in digitally transforming its company. They later understood the importance of switching towards digital marketplaces owing to the emergence of e-commerce websites and platforms.

    Thus, under the guidance of their then CEO, Mr. Mark Parker, Nike decided to entirely focus on getting on their customer’s mobile devices by launching their Nike SNKRS app. The app, which was launched back in 2015, was appropriate and very basic at that time; however, with more advanced technologies coming up every year, there are several new add-ons in the app. Today, the app has an intelligent leg scan feature that allows users to scan their feet and find the perfect shoes in seconds.

    The company heavily invested in establishing its presence online by diving into omnichannel marketing and creating innovative user experiences. They also utilized customer data efficiently to provide an unique personalized experience and figure out its digital investments. If Mr Parker had not taken the required steps towards Nike’s digital transformation, the company we know today would have been buried under the bedrock of irrelevance with time.

    Netflix:

    What do you do in your ‘me time’? You delve into binge-watching your TV series, right? But what if Netflix didn’t exist in the world of binge-watching? Surprisingly, this could have been the scenario if, one day, a video and DVD rental company called Blockbuster had not decided to reinvent itself.

    See, the 1990s and early 2000s were the era of video cassettes and DVDs. Still, as soon as the technology started to evolve, people gradually moved towards online video viewing instead of opting for video rentals. This was when Netflix’s new CEO, Reed Hastings, hatched a plan to elevate the company to a new level and undergo a digital transformation by becoming an online video streaming platform. Today, Netflix is enjoyed in over 190 countries and is currently valued at $149 billion.

    KPMG:

    KPMG, a big company that helps other businesses in the market, decided to use ServiceNow’s ITSM to improve its technical support team. ServiceNow automates some tasks and makes things run smoother, so KPMG could fix problems faster and keep things running well overall.

    In addition, ServiceNow lets KPMG employees fix their own minor computer problems, allowing them to focus more on other important tasks. The company achieved all of this by leveraging advanced pre-configured SaaS platforms and all-around effective Managed Services offered by ServiceNow. This helped KPMG drive more efficiency and productivity in their processes.

    Read More: How KPMG drives digital transformation with ServiceNow

    IKEA:

    Today, we know IKEA for its world-class in-store experiences and solutions, but there was a time when the company was really struggling to cope with new technologies taking over its culture. Being a company of that scale and feeling a sense of insecurity about losing a well-established business culture is natural unless you have change-oriented solid leaders.

    IKEA’s Chief Digital Officer (CDO) was highly adamant about changing the company’s culture and taking a deep dive into the technical specifications required for its business to thrive and grow. The company focused entirely on digitizing its existing supply chains and strategically used inventory management and logistic solutions. IKEA also focused on providing relevant skills to its workforce and strengthening its customers’ interactions.

    Today, IKEA has a robust omnichannel presence, and innovative AR and VR technologies are integrated into its systems to strengthen its customer experience to the next level.

    Amazon:

    The Amazon we know today is a multimillion-dollar company that is leading in the e-commerce sector. Still, back in the day, Amazon predominantly dealt with selling original books.

    When the C-suite executives sensed that there would gradually be a massive shift in the technical spheres, Amazon introduced its Prime membership program in 2005. It offered premium customer services like two-day deliveries and exclusive discounts, revolutionizing people’s shopping experiences.

    The following year, Amazon came up with its cloud consulting platform, AWS. Later, there were other advancements like AI voice assistant Alexa and robotic monitored inventory systems. This was indeed an impeccable journey of digital transformation for Amazon.

    Role of Leadership in Digital Transformation

    A study by Google found that over 72% of digital leaders believe consistent collaboration among top executives is crucial for a successful digital transformation. This is the vitality of strong and thought leaders in navigating or steering digital transformation.

    I completely understand and empathize with leaders who have so many eyes looking at them for change, and they have significant responsibilities and accountability to follow. But hold on, as leaders running full-fledged businesses, when were there no challenges in your way?

    Navigating Challenges Through Digital Transformations

    You’ve already overcome those challenges, and now it’s time to prove your Mattel again by navigating through digital transformations. Here are a few things you can do to overcome specific challenges that act as roadblocks in your business’s journey towards digital transformation:

    • Firstly, keep in mind that it’s going to take a lot of work. Things are going to take time, and the only way through this is acceptance. The faster you accept the process of transformation, the easier it will be.
    • Secondly, understand your role as a leader. Be the one who has a vision and is self-aware of the current processes. Acknowledge that with a shift in technology, there is going to be a culture shift as well as a talent gap for some time. In that particular time, don’t let the morale of people who work under your guidance fade away; try to help them out and curb the gap of digital illiteracy.
    • Lastly, always keep the communication channel open. This will help you address your employees’ problems proactively.

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    End Note:

    Digital transformation is a continuous journey of collaboration between people, processes, and technologies. Leaders can swiftly ensure their businesses stay ahead of their competitors in the digital age by encouraging adaptability, skilled learning, and innovation. Thought leaders will undoubtedly navigate through the technical landscape with ease and collaboration.

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