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Demystifying Digital Transformation
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Demystifying Digital Transformation

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Widely accepted as the fourth industrial revolution, the winds of ‘Digital Transformation’ are threatening to rapidly sweep away the ‘old’ businesses. Steam power, which brought mechanization to the industry at the end of 18th century – is considered the first industrial revolution. About a century later – the invention of Electricity, along with the discovery of oil & gas – which made mass production possible – brought the 2nd revolution. The third industrial revolution came another century later, around the middle of 20th century – with the advent of nuclear energy, the rise of electronics with transistors, microprocessors, computers, and telecommunication. This third revolution leveraged electronics and information technology to automate production. The currently underway Digital revolution – widely accepted as the fourth revolution –  is blurring the lines between physical, digital and biological spheres. The impact of this digital revolution is so strong and widespread that traditional business models are getting rapidly demolished.

For businesses, Digital Transformation is about moving away from selling products and services and making the Customer experience the fundamental of business. This requires reimagining models of customer engagement, employee empowerment, process optimizations, and remodeling products & services. It’s about bringing people, data and processes together – in ways hitherto unthought of.

Satya Nadella had famously said – ‘every company is a software company’. To succeed with Digital Transformation – every dimension of a business – sales, purchase, marketing, product designing, production, operations, HR, and everything else need to pivot around the technology transformations underway. Gathering data at every stage – through connected people, systems and ‘things’ – bringing the data back into backend systems, analyzing the data, and actioning on the analysis to enhance the customer experience and remodel offerings – are core to digital transformation. Whether it be proactive triggering of preventive maintenance before a device fault surfaces, gathering customer sentiments and remodeling products, or uncovering and acting on unknown patterns through big data analytics and machine learning -the SMAC stack, and connected ‘things’ are enablers of the digital transformation businesses are trying to achieve.

McKinsey suggests that instead of being seen as a thing, digital should be seen as a way of doing things – creating value at the new frontiers of the business world, creating value in the processes that execute a vision of customer experiences, and building foundational capabilities to support the transformation. For someone looking for a more structured definition - Digital transformation is the profound transformation of business and organizational activities, processes, competencies and models to fully leverage the changes and opportunities of a mix of digital technologies and their accelerating impact across society in a strategic and prioritized way, with present and future shifts in mind (i-scoop).

Taking a technology view, a digital business has five ‘platforms’ as enablers:

  • Information Systems platform
  • Customer experience platform
  • IoT platform
  • Ecosystem platform, and
  • Data & analytics platform

These platforms are built with service-oriented architecture, and interoperability is key. Some components may be common across platforms. The services across these platforms may then be used for building diverse systems.

The Information Systems platform comprises of:

  • Back office systems (like ERP), for system of records for master and transaction data
  • Core industry systems, like for banking, telecom or healthcare
  • Supplier portal and apps
  • Customer portal and apps
  • BI for reporting and decision making with data visualization and OLAP
  • Endpoint computing, that includes devices, security, and management

The Customer Experience platform enables interactions and commerce with customers. It comprises of:

  • Multichannel interaction and commerce
  • Social networks
  • Customer analytics
  • Customer portals and apps
  • Back office systems

The IoT platform integrates endpoints, bringing together connected ‘things’ – belonging to the enterprise, customers, vendors, partners, and maybe employees - with IT systems, and provides IoT Analytics.

The Ecosystem platform creates value for the enterprise by collaborating with external business ecosystems. This requires API driven interfaces for data, systems, and processes, to work together with external systems of new partners, customers, marketplaces, communities, financial systems etc. Usually, there would a different set of APIs for each category.

The Data and Analytics platform delivers descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive insights. Each of the platforms mentioned here has components to provides data analytics.

While we have described above what ‘Digital Transformation’ is, it is also important to mention, what it is not:

Adaption of any technology, systems, infrastructure, or platforms – that only assist in automating enterprise record management systems (like ERP and CRM), enhance productivity, or optimize processes & operation – is not digital transformation, unless it is targeted at transforming the customer experience. Not to misunderstand – each of these components is a vital part of the digital transformation, but are not by themselves digital transformation.

(parts of the content here are drawn from various sources, including Gartner, McKinsey, Microsoft, Forrester, and i-Scoop)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Author: Ajay Mian

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Alletec is a leading technology solution provider in India. We have a team of professional technology enthusiasts which implement revolutionary Business Technology Solutions.

Alletec has been a leading provider of Business Technology Solutions & IT Services to Growth Companies since 2000. Recognized consistently by Microsoft to be amongst their Top Microsoft Dynamics partners with expertise ranging from providing ERP, NAV, CRM solution for eCommerce, travel, retail companies, Alletec has been part of the global elite Microsoft Dynamics Inner Circle and President's Club. Working with customers in India, APAC, Hong Kong, Europe, USA, Africa and Middle-East, the company has helped companies across various industries in their Navision software implementation and upgradation.


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posted by Joshua
Monday, 26 November 2018 10:01

Nice read! How will AI and machine learning will change the way people do business.

posted by Piero
Monday, 30 July 2018 10:28

Un articolo approfondito e dettagliato sulla trasformazione digitale.

posted by Hai
Thursday, 28 June 2018 10:23

Zhēnzhèng yǒu jiànshì de wénzhāng yuèdú guānyú xīn jìshù qūshì de wénzhāng. Jìxù fēnxiǎng zhèyàng de dōngxī.

posted by Kenny
Thursday, 03 May 2018 06:39

Thanks for sharing this valuable information which describes the importance of adopting the new technology to increase business productivity. Keep writing stuff like this I am bookmarking this site for more cool information like this.

posted by Jonathan
Thursday, 03 May 2018 06:37

Digital transformation has become a buzz word these days. Many organizations are already on their way to adopting automation and new technologies to enhance their business operations. This article is very finely written and gives an apt introduction to the topic.

posted by Steve
Thursday, 03 May 2018 06:27

Truly this is the era of Digital transformation and the organizations must act quickly in adopting these technological advancements to be there in the race. It would be great if you could discuss more on the pillars of the Digital transformation like the Machine learning, data science, and the artificial intelligence,

posted by Richard Brown
Tuesday, 24 April 2018 06:19

Very insightful blog. can please elaborate more on the SMAC strategy in Digital Transformation.

posted by Judson Althoff
Thursday, 22 March 2018 12:32

Very rightly quoted by Satya Nadela that every company is becoming a software company. Keeping up in the today's industry scenario those who do not leverage the software and technology won't be able to manage their businesses efficiently. I must say this article is a good read.

posted by Mark Jhonson
Thursday, 22 March 2018 12:29

Very nice article. Its true that the modern technological advancements like the Artificial Intelligence, IoT and virtual reality are shaping up the industries strategies in their methods processes as well as jobs and employment types in the future.

posted by Evan Kirstel
Thursday, 22 March 2018 06:37

really an insightful article. It was great to read about the new technological trends. Keep sharing stuff like this.

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