Digital Transformation: Strategies for Success

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“Transforming businesses through digital innovation — blazing through dreams, disruption and delivery.” These are the beginning words shared by Salesforce in its new “NorthStar” report. Over the last few months, Salesforce interviewed over 500 customers as well as executives and thought leaders to discuss their personal experiences, triumphs and challenges in their pursuits of digital transformation. I appreciate that I was on the company’s radar during the development of this report. I was asked to share my thoughts on the subject, and I graciously did. Even though, it’s easy to think that with all of the work we invest in a subject, that we are entitled to attention or notoriety, we’re
. There’s always someone else who’s smarter, more captivating or better at self-promotion. At best, we can simply be humbled in the reality that life is, in all of its nuances, with some crazier and some lovelier, only in the spotlight for moments at a time. Here are some of the ideas I shared with Salesforce… On dreams: “Customer experience has become the tried and true catalyst for digital transformation. It’s about bringing disparate groups in your company together in order to modernize. On the customer journey, for example, you really need that purpose and focus to align the various parts of your business. “Organizations need to have a real sense of purpose. For example, when it comes to how customers are evolving, companies need to determine what to do to align with these changes and ultimately get ahead of them. “The ‘dreams’ stage forces people to get together and be honest about what they have and what they need. Part of it is about the supporting tech and part of it is about expertise and vision.” On disruption: “The nature of the organization is complex, but I have always said digital transformation is a human story. Tech is not the magical solution, it’s an enabler for something bigger. That takes vision – it takes people to work together to bring it to life. “Leaders must create almost a ‘culture 2.0’ – a new model of working with a new generation of expertise. This is why we’re starting to see things like special teams or innovation centers that operate in a new world without being plagued or shackled by what exists in an organization’s legacy setup. In my research, culture has consistently come up as the number one inhibitor of digital transformation and corporate innovation. But when culture is designed to be collaborative, productive and innovative, it’s also the number one driver for digital and business transformation.” On delivery: “The topic of digital transformation is a difficult conversation, particularly around who owns what. Digital transformation and corporate innovation are often viewed by the board and shareholders as costs against the bottom line, so we therefore only see incremental iterations of innovation. “Ultimately though, to start change, you need a change in behaviors, incentives and business models. There’s no one path to get there, but it’s worth looking at the culture and questioning whether employees are empowered to work differently. “The same things that are forcing customers to evolve are forcing employees to change, too. What you end up seeing is a more customercentered team that is more collaborative and cross-functional. Digital transformation is a crossfunctional force and runs across the entire enterprise.” I hope this helps you…

Brian Solis

Brian Solis is principal analyst and futurist at Altimeter, the digital analyst group at Prophet, Brian is world renowned keynote speaker and 7x best-selling author. His latest book, X: Where Business Meets Design, explores the future of brand and customer engagement through experience design. Please, invite him to speak at your event or bring him in to inspire and change executive mindsets. Connect with Brian! Twitter: @briansolis
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