What do digital transformation and hyper-connected optimization have to do with each other?
And how does hyper-connected optimization benefit companies?
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More importantly … what does “hyper-connected optimization” even mean?
Below, we’ll explain:
- What hyper-connection is and why it matters (with as little jargon as possible)
- The benefits of integrated, optimized workplaces, workflows, and workforces
- The stages of digital transformation
- A few essential tools to help you develop a digital transformation strategy
Let’s start by understanding what “hyper-connection” is and why it can benefit a company.
Digital Transformation and Hyper-Connected Optimization, Defined
Here is a quick distinction between “analog” and “digital” businesses.
Legacy companies operate in silos:
- Departments don’t share data
- Communication is wanting
- Processes, products, and projects are developed independently
- Technologies are adopted ad hoc
An integrated, hyper-connected business, however…
- Shares data among its departments and utilizes it strategically
- Collaborates regularly
- Develops projects under the umbrella of organizational strategy
- Adopts digital technology intentionally and strategically
Reasons such as these drive companies to adopt new technology, new business models, and new strategies.
Hyper-connection, for some, is the pot at the end of the digital transformation rainbow.
What Hyper-Connected Optimization Looks Like
Let’s look at a few models that can help us understand hyper-connected optimization:
- Gartner’s Nexus of Forces – Gartner’s Nexus of Forces refers to the convergence of social, mobile, cloud, and information, major forces that drive today’s business scenarios.
- HFS’s OneOffice – The Digital OneOffice has a 3-story back office: the digital underbelly, digital support functions, and digital processes. These functions connect to the digitally-driven front office, driven by social, mobile, data, and design.
- SMAC and the Digital World – Social, mobile, analytics, and cloud offers another model that integrates digital business functions under a single hood. However, SMAC is losing relevancy as new technologies emerge…
- DARQ and the Post-Digital World – A recent Accenture report envisions SMAC’s replacement, DARQ. DARQ stands for: Digital ledger technology, artificial intelligence, extended realities, and quantum computing.
Models such as these can serve as valuable tools when developing digital transformation initiatives.
Naturally, each one has its own focus – the HfS model is a top-down business view, while others focus on technology.
Once we have these models in mind, we need to begin transforming our business, one step at a time.
The Stages of Growth
Those goal posts, such as SMAC, DARQ, or the Digital OneOffice, should be the end targets for digital transformation efforts.
As a business progresses along its journey towards full transformation, it will go through a few stages of digital maturity.
For the sake of brevity, we will look at a simplified digital maturity model:
- Analog Business – An analog business uses no digital technology, relying on analog technologies for communication, interaction, and business functions. Given the proliferation of mobile technology, there are almost no businesses – saver perhaps a tiny handful of small businesses – that are totally analog.
- Digital-First Business – Digital-first businesses make technology their primary business strategy. They use it to increase connectivity, build better customer experiences, create better products, and enhance business processes.
- Post-Digital Business – Some would argue that there is no such thing as a post-digital business. However, Accenture research claims that we are moving toward a post-digital world, where every business will become fully integrated and fully digital. In that world, when every business is fully digitized, where do you shift your strategic aims?
These three stages of growth should be viewed as a spectrum.
Just as there is no such thing as a fully analog business any more, there is also no such thing as a post-digital business.
After all, no matter how far you transform, there is always more road ahead.
But how do you start breaking down silos, becoming more agile, and integrating disparate business functions?
Building Blocks for Digital Transformation Strategy
Today’s businesses are all digitally transforming, whether they realize it or not.
One factor that will distinguish the winners from the losers, though, will be their digital transformation strategy.
Building blocks for effective transformation, as we’ve covered elsewhere on this digital transformation blog, include:
- Digital Adoption – Digital adoption means embracing, implementing, and making full use of a new technology. After all, technology that isn’t fully utilized won’t deliver its full ROI potential.
- A Digital-First Strategy – Digital-first businesses don’t adopt new technology as an afterthought. They use it instead as a strategic centerpiece. It is the driving force that helps them gain an edge, innovate, and evolve their business models.
- Customer-Centrism – The customer experience has moved from the sidelines to take the spotlight. In an era where customers have more choice than ever, businesses must prioritize customer experiences, trust, and relationships.
- Digital Skills Training – Employee training, onboarding, and digital literacy are now mandatory. The bar is continuing to rise, which makes it necessary to implement digital adoption solutions and other training systems.
- Change Management – Change is continuous and permanent in today’s business, making change management a must. For companies to succeed, they must become agile, lean, and flexible.
Ideally, these building blocks will lead towards a business that is integrated, hyper-connected, and even “post-digital.”