According to Change Associates, business transformation is the process of fundamentally changing the systems, processes, people and technology across a whole business or business unit, to achieve measurable improvements in efficiency, effectiveness and stakeholder satisfaction.
If ever there was a time that drives home the importance of the conversation around business transformation, it’s the holiday season. Where once the Christmas shopping routine involved driving all over town, fighting holiday traffic, wading through crowds at department stores, mad dashes to grab the last Cabbage Patch Doll on the shelf, and long lines at the post office to make sure your package to Aunt Martha arrived on time, now it’s largely a sedate affair of clicking a few buttons online and waiting two days for the perfect gift to arrive at your – or Aunt Martha’s – doorstep.
While most of us take for granted now the ability to do our holiday shopping in our jammies from the comfort of our own home, we don’t often dwell on the upstream implications of making this all possible and the transformation requirement that it imposes on nearly every business.
The need for transformation
The digital transformation of the shopping experience is just one example of how the Internet economy is driving social, cultural and technological change, but it’s a big one that most people are familiar with, and one that drives behavior in other areas. The fact that I can click a button and get a package delivered to my home in two days is fueling the on-demand culture and contributing significantly to the “I want it now” mentality:
- I want my news… now
- I want to see what my friends are doing… now
- I want my dinner delivered… now
- I want to watch my favorite TV show… now
- I want to know who played Squiggy on Laverne and Shirley… now
- I want a ride downtown… now
My phone is already alerting me that my screen time is trending upward (I’m not sure if it’s encouraging or discouraging more screen time), and it’s no wonder since most of my banking, shopping, fitness, reading, entertainment and communication is done via my mobile device. And that means anyone who wants to get my attention needs to have a digital strategy.
Customers expect to be able to get instant information about a product or service – what it is, what it does, when can they have it, how much does it cost, what kind of support will they get, who else is using it and what is their experience – and ideally complete an entire transaction through their mobile device. Ultimately, whether they’re ready or not, businesses are being swept up in the on-demand tornado and in many cases having to deliver a bespoke experience to each customer. And they have about 15 seconds to make their case, before their potential customer loses interest and starts clicking on their competitors.
In the online shopping example, it’s not just the retailer who needs to transform; their whole supply chain and all of their partners need to retool their businesses around increased agility and rethink product design, packaging, customer interface, software development and updates, IT, advertising, marketing, utilities, payment processing, content delivery, logistics, product and service delivery and just about every other aspect of their business. Nothing short of a fundamental change in the systems, processes, people and technology across the whole business will keep them competitive.