If it moves digitize it


There are so many manifestations of digital transformation on every public, private and third sector enterprise. From communication-enabled business processes and multichannel CRM provision to the use of big data analytics to guide product development, everything is changing in business.

Multichannel is becoming omnichannel. Contact center manager at luxury brand Hermes, Catherine Lindsay notes that company now has six CRM channels where it used to have just telephone and mail. "The biggest change is that customers want to be able to contact us in a way and time that suits them using social media," she told delegates at the 3PL Conference in Birmingham.

Martin Kuppinger, principal analyst at security consultants KuppingerCole says digital transformation is unstoppable and affects every business and industry, “It is far wider than just the internet of things,” he said at 2015 European Identity & Cloud (EIC) conference. “Just think about smart manufacturing, smart wallets, smart vehicles, smart homes, smart grids, e-books, digital music, online retail and online payments,” he said.

Every business process is feeling it - even transaction management is becoming digitized. Eighty-three percent of IT decision makers see a need to adopt digital processes across every company process.

The transformation isn’t just about processes, of course, it’s also about people. The millennials comprising both your workforce and your customers are mobile and connected everywhere using their choice of device – tablet, phone or wearable device.

Reflecting the scale of all this change, traditional company culture is being transformed as silo-based departmental barriers dissolve in favour of the kind of improved collaboration and fast service delivery you find in more agile company set-ups.

Not every enterprise has climbed aboard, at least, not yet. An infoMentum report identifies key barriers to transformation, namely:

  • rigid corporate culture
  • resistance to further change
  • lack of expertise
  • cost
  • regulation

This means many enterprises have work to do – but few own the skills to do it. A 2014 Forrester report found that while 73 percent of executives believe their company has a digital strategy in place, just 19 percent think they have the right technology to execute it – an even smaller number (15 percent) believe they have the skills and capabilities to accomplish it.

Laggards in the third sector

There’s a similar lack of skillsets and planning in the third sector, according to an Eduserv report called Creating the Right Environment for Digital Transformation. This report confirms the need for digital evangelists. It found 70 percent of leaders and IT teams within the sector aren’t working together to define future digital priorities and 51 percent have not invested in people with skills to support digital transformation.

Worse yet, almost half of charities don’t have an IT strategy to support future needs.

The Eduserv report lists five digital opportunities charities are neglecting: engaging volunteers, improving online service for beneficiaries, reducing costs, collaborating with third parties and increasing donations.

Digital evangelists are required. Tim Cockle, head of digital services at Eduserv says change must, "start with the trustees and leaders at the top so that they are structured, managed and organized in a way that supports digital transformation effectively".

It seems clear the third sector is missing out on the potential positive impacts of digital change. That’s a real shame as emerging technologies such as AI, big data analytics or cloud computing could help drive efficiency and growth, even in the charity sector.

Join the dots, release the value

Efficiency and growth through smart application of digital within public, private or third sector enterprise sometimes means adopting a different viewpoint.

Take social media, for example. Your social media feed isn’t just about spreading the word for your group, it’s also about communication with supporters and other forms of engagement, collaboration and support, as Hermes already understands. It is interesting that as an industry, retail brands like Hermes are far ahead of the digital transformation curve.

This is because retailers understand that "Deploying innovation management tools empowered by emerging technologies will help firms propel organic growth through innovation," as Frost & Sullivan analyst, Sathya Vendhan states.

This means enterprises of any kind in attempting to engage with digital transformation also need to open themselves up to new ways of looking at use of these technologies in order to identify the tangential benefits of using them.

"For instance, the integration of cloud computing with idea management solutions will enable organizations to reap the benefits of collaboration. Similarly, the use of big data and cloud will enhance project efficiency and decrease production costs," said Vendhan.

Of course change is challenging and takes time. “Transforming the workspace is an ongoing evolution, not a one-time revolution,” writes Orange Business Service General Manager of Greater China, Eric Haïssaguerre.

“Successful transformation creates business value within the company as well as with customers and partners, hence the need to involve an organization’s management, finance, HR, legal and facility management departments in the planning and implementation of the new digitized workspace evolving environment. Buy-in from all business units is vital to succeeding,” he adds.

What’s important is to recognize that digital transformation doesn’t simply drive efficiency, it may also help create and identify new sources of funding, markets and opportunities – essential for public, private and third sector industry.

The move to digital processes could boost the wider economy too, Accenture’s Digital Density Index claims use of digital technologies could add $1.36 trillion to the world’s top ten economies by 2020.

Read more about how Orange Business can enable your digital transformation and find out about Orange private cloud and hybrid network services. 


Jon Evans

Jon Evans is a highly experienced technology journalist and editor. He has been writing for a living since 1994. These days you might read his daily regular Computerworld AppleHolic and opinion columns. Jon is also technology editor for men's interest magazine, Calibre Quarterly, and news editor for MacFormat magazine, which is the biggest UK Mac title. He's really interested in the impact of technology on the creative spark at the heart of the human experience. In 2010 he won an American Society of Business Publication Editors (Azbee) Award for his work at Computerworld.