If you’ve been one of the naysayers about the business world’s transition to digital, you might want to read the writing on the wall again. At this point, that writing is in BOLD FACE – 48 POINT TEXT. You need to lead your business into the digital age before it’s too late. Check out the advice given by Ram Charan in his recent Harvard Business Review article on how to proceed with your transformation.
Charan points out that algorithms and math rules will drive and “differentiate the customer experience.” Regardless of the great old-school relationship you might have with your customers, competitors stand ready to steal them through digital outreach. For example, while you’re greeting your best customers with a warm smile and their favorite beverage at your coffee shop every morning, your competitor may be using beacons to flash great deals to the same customers’ smartphones before they reach your establishment. You'll need to take action now to stop your business losses. You can start by focusing on your team and communications.
Charan has a lot to say about teams in a business. Once you commit to making the shift to digital, you need to have senior management in place to lead the change. Your managers should focus on the ‘end-to-end customer experience.’ This means making sure product and service levels are of the highest quality. Not everyone may be on board with the kind of energy and commitment it takes to shift an organization’s direction. If you detect a problem with one of your senior managers don’t waste time offering him a package and then hire the best person you can find to help lead the transition. Nothing says more about your commitment to change than bringing in new people.
Once you get your senior management team in place, it’s time to communicate plans and goals to the folks who really make your operation run. Whether you’re selling widgets or consulting services, the people who make the widgets and the consultants who meet with clients know how your business works. They understand where the roadblocks exist so management should engage in two-way conversations. Charan cites the new Chief Digital Officer at GE Power and Water who noted the importance of hashing out “ the details of how the digital platform should work to transform the consumer experience.” GE is engaging in these kinds of conversations as it transforms itself from a manufacturing firm to an information-services provider in the renewable energy sector.
If a large, old-school organization like GE can succeed in transitioning to a digital company, your business can make this change as well. Read Charan’s other recommendations and don’t wait any longer to take the first step to your new future.