Digital Transformation: Full Steam Ahead. Are You On Board?

Digital Transformation: Full Steam Ahead. Are You On Board?
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Digital transformation. You’re probably hearing more and more about it—but how much of it is hype and how much is real? It turns out that digital transformation is actually a force to be reckoned with, and embracing it could be the secret sauce that puts you head and shoulders above the competition.

Innovate and Set the Pace

Too often we see many a company convinced that its business will continue in its current state. But in what kind of world is that really true? The status quo may be fine for now, but change is inevitable. Wouldn’t you rather lead the charge?

After all, corporate history is rife with stories of companies that didn’t see change coming and failed to adapt to shifts in their industry in time to survive. But when you take control and move to the forefront of such shifts, you not only survive, you thrive. And, in doing so, you might even alter the entire fabric of your industry.

Think about how Amazon alone transformed so many aspects of commerce, and not just online. Not only did they change the way people shop, they transformed the way people think about shopping and what they expect from a retail experience. Successful innovation means paying attention to those shifts and planning ahead.

Make Innovation a Priority

And that’s the key to innovation: it has to be planned and organized. In a recent interview with The Huffington Post, our CEO Matt Greeley discussed the need for intentional, focused innovation, which is the only type that can succeed. That means it has to be a distinct program within your business—with its own budget and governance structure.

“If you have a busy call center, you can’t just pull three people off the desk to work on a project,” as Matt said. “So companies are setting up innovation labs to create the space to do this work in an intentional way.”

This intentionality is crucial—because if you’re not disrupting, you’ll be disrupted. Consider how Uber has changed the transportation industry. “If you’re a taxi company, your whole business could go away in five years if you’re not careful,” Matt warns.

There are seemingly little things like an Uber app in every industry that can snowball and run right over your business if you’re not focused on innovating and staying ahead yourself.

But there’s a flip side. Innovation is not easy and failure is a big part of the digital transformation process. Remember when everyone thought they were going to use a pager? New ways of doing things will come up all the time, but there’s also a sort of discipline in knowing when something isn’t working for you anymore.

Otherwise, you’re wasting resources on projects that will never come to fruition. Matt calls these “zombie projects”—dead ideas that are holding you back because no one thought to ditch what wasn’t working. Sometimes quitting is a good thing, and that’s one of many things an innovation management program helps you identify.

Consider Innovation as an Investment

The fact that trying to transform your business can be a frustrating and scary endeavor is why so many organizations opt for keeping their heads in the sand. It might seem easier—and cheaper—at first, but in the long run you’re doing your company a disservice. Because while you’re not innovating, others are actively pursuing the next big thing—and it might eventually render you irrelevant in the marketplace.

Investing in innovation labs and platforms to collect, organize, evaluate, and test all your good ideas are the best thing you can do for your business.

Think of it like eating healthfully. There are lots of maladies that tend to come with old age, but if you’ve eaten healthfully all your life, you have a better shot at fighting whatever comes your way. Innovation is similar.

And more often than not, innovation is the product of consistent effort, just like everything else in your business. Without that effort you lose the opportunity to choose how your company will transform itself. There are those who light the flame and carry the torch to its next destination, and those who burn out and die. You want your company to be the former, and it’s not too late to start.

We’re ready to show you how organizing your innovation efforts will take you further, faster. Reach out to talk to us!