Digital transformation – need or luxury?

By Sreeram Kolisetty

What is common between JP Morgan Chase, Jim Beam, Cigna, State Street companies which are more than 200-year-old in existence and companies such as PayPal, Tesla, Zoom which are in business for about 2.5 decades? How companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Apple went through big changes and turned around their fates with great market capitalization? What is the pattern that one can observe in these companies?

If we carefully examine what went inside these companies and what their fundamental DNA is – all these companies re-invented themselves to suit the times of the age, introduced new processes, new methods, and new ways of doing things, and continued to be profitable and continued to build that customer loyalty and stayed afloat in the business. In simple words, they transformed their businesses to suit changing times.

Jim Collins in his book Built to Last describes “Visionary companies are so clear about what they stand for and what they’re trying to achieve that they simply don’t have room for those unwilling or unable to fit their exacting standards”. This is so valid for all the companies whether they are new age or old age. Old Age companies have now stepped into a new age, and companies of the late 20’sth century and early 21St century are quick to understand and quick to change their operating models and always focus on the customer and building value for the company.

Given the current circumstances of the new age companies, they not only need to work on the transformation but embrace digital transformation as the world is mostly digital these days. You cannot imagine a company that does not embrace some technology in today’s world. As times start changing more rapidly, companies need to be quick as well in transforming themselves. Customer loyalty is a thing of the past, and now it is essential for companies to keep customers engaged constantly to ensure a constant flow of revenue to the company. If customers are not engaged, competitors will just take away your customers. It is inevitable to constantly wonder the customers about products/solutions. Innovation, faster delivery and technical excellence with breakproof implementation are the solutions to go.

Digital transformation is not just a fancy word, it is essential, and companies must master in transforming themselves to stay in the business and thrive. Lean-Agile is here to stay and this mindset needs to be applied across the organization from leadership to the interns in the company. Building that culture and processes around Lean-Agile mindset are the ultimate responsibility of the visionary leaders. Many entrepreneurs start with a good vision and obtain initial success, but a lack of innovation and the ability to constantly engage their customers will make them shut down their ideas faster. There are very few successful entrepreneurs who made it into the unicorn club. A unicorn club is certainly a privilege, having a vision, roadmap, and consistently pivoting from the product failures and maximizing the success will make a start-up into a unicorn. Digital transformation is certainly a winning proposition for all startups. It is necessary for a start-up to get mentors in this space for better success in their endeavours.

The author is global chief information officer at KnowledgeHut upGrad.


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