Business Management

Top Tips: Becoming a Digital Business

Rob Price is Head of Digital, at Atos in the UK and Ireland.  Atos, along with its cloud arm Canopy, are responsible for the transformation of business to digital organisations, delivering the emergent products and services that enable them to succeed in the digital revolution.

Rob shares his top tips for becoming an effective, relevant digital business.

To dispel some myths, ‘digital’ is not a website, a mobile device, ‘1’s and ‘0’s, or about getting rid of paper. It’s a mindset, a culture, an expectation of immediacy of service and the access to information we have become accustomed to with the arrival of ubiquitous connectivity.

Digital is an opportunity to improve, yet a disruptive threat that enables new players to compete with established businesses at a much lower cost of entry. Digital is to re-imagine your business from the perspective of ‘what the web would do’, paying no heed to the legacy and accumulated years of experience. Digital operates at sprint speed rather than marathon pace. To help keep up, businesses must take note of the following best practices:


1.       Customer Experience is Everything


In this connected world, this digital economy, your primary role is to deliver excellence in customer experience – enabling your customers to easily interact with you personally, intimately and immediately through any channel of their choosing. Much is said about ‘the single view of the customer’, yet to them, a single holistic experience across your business is essential. Use analytics to gain insight to drive predictive and even prescriptive interactions, and consider how to create new revenue models on the back of insight you gain. Understand new internet economic models such as ‘multi-sided markets’, and how you can apply them to your business. 


2.       Align your Operating Model


We often see that existing business processes and operating models do not operate at Digital Speed. You need to revisit them. How can you ensure that your Operating Models – business, digital and IT – are aligned to deliver the agility, flexibility and speed of operation that you need to meet the customer service that is demanded. Do not just consider how to digitise existing processes (to drive efficiency and acceleration), but redesign from first principles using the Digital mindset. Your new market competitors do not have to consider migration from years of applications and infrastructure – they just create from scratch.


3.       Two Speed Thinking


Much is made of ‘IT speed’ and ‘digital speed’, two terms often used interchangeably, however, a distinct separation of two is needed.

IT Speed is about efficiency and certainty, about keeping systems operational and utilising new technology solutions such as Cloud to achieve that. Digital Speed is an agile culture and approach – about applying tenets such as ‘what would the web do’, about timescales of days and weeks rather than months and years, as well as open source, open data and open standards.

We recommend a combination of both in enterprises to deliver the acceleration of business needed, together with the surety of efficient execution. At Atos, we are doing just this - utilising our Canopy Cloud Fabric and data platforms to accelerate the creation of cloud native digital applications, in parallel to driving efficiency in IT speed through cloud operating models, as well as IaaS and SaaS platforms.


4.       Work the Way your Employees Want To


To think Digital in the way in which you design products and services for your customer, what could be better than enabling your employees to work the way they want to – to become digital in their mindset. To consume digital services in their day job, choosing their own apps or devices in a manner whereby internal IT services become an enabler not a hindrance. Create a framework whereby employees are able to collaborate together, to create, to pilot, to drive change … and where you are able to provide enough protection to your IP, your corporate knowledge.

5.  Seek evolution, not perfection

And finally, the simplest recommendation so far, yet one that is in contravention to everything we have known for the previous 30 years of enterprise IT. Resist the temptation for perfection. Evolution is key.  Defining a first answer – no matter how innovative or basic it may seem - and then evolving, beats trying to define the perfect answer almost every time.


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