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The digital era offers companies a few once-in-a-lifetime opportunities: the possibility to reclaim a direct influence on consumers, to rebrand themselves and to create innovative services that set themselves apart from traditional competitors. To seize these opportunities and reach business success, multinational companies have to adapt and transform their entire organization.
Today engaging a digital transformation is a necessity for any company and decision maker wishing to achieve measurable business success in virtually no time. In every industry, companies are aware of this revolution and invest in digital technology. According to Euler Hermes, « French companies are expected to invest an additional €7 billion in digital technology in 2018, which would represent more than two-thirds of the growth in their total investment ».
However, despite those huge investments, some multinational companies have difficulty in adapting and being successful. How can they reach such a strategic goal in a changing environment?
1. Business success starts from a vision
To achieve fast and scalable business success leveraging technology, it is necessary to perform 4 strategic activities in parallel: understand issues and create a strategy, engage transformation, target visible business successes and measure ROI. All these activities require having a vision first and communicating it to the whole company.
A vision is a real cornerstone of business success and allows decision makers to obtain a lot of outcomes at several levels. Firstly, it sets a forward-looking goal about what the company is trying to achieve and therefore enables to define associated objectives. The vision is designed to engage all employees and inspire them to collaborate with purpose and alignment. According to a report from the World Economic Forum, a “sense of purpose” in the daily work is the second most important factor for millennials considering a job. Setting a clear vison and communicating it allows the workforce to be involved and supportive of the company’s mission. A vision also allows to create a successful digital transformation strategy that will be executed according to tangible action plans.
As we have just pointed out, having a vision is a necessity for any multinational company wishing to obtain fast and scalable business success. But the vision is just the first step to achieving business success. Other key success factors are needed, such as technology.
2. Business success is achieved through digital technology
For the last ten years, digital technology has been considered as a real revolution. What does digital technology mean for business? By pushing the limits of what’s possible, breaking down cost barriers and spawning new consumer behavior, digital technology is flipping every sector on its head. As a real business accelerator, digital technology allows multinational companies to reclaim a direct influence on consumers, rebrand themselves, create innovative services that set themselves apart from traditional competitors and therefore helps them maintain their competitive advantage.
Having these business outcomes in mind, the main question for any multinational company wishing to obtain business success leveraging technology revolves around implementation.
Through our own experience, a business success approach relies on three phases:
- A research phase to build up an innovative concept
- A go-to-market phase to transform the concept into a business success
- An industrialization phase to streamline execution and maintain a competitive advantage
Conducting the 3 phases head-on requires an individualized and scalable digital platform. Today’s most successful companies reach success through agile business solutions allowing them to adapt, test new concepts, deploy them at scale in no time and set an appropriate governance.
So technology is another step to success. Having a digital platform to engage and drive a company transformation is a necessity. However, as digital technology is a key factor in the future companies’ growth, managers must ensure their digital investments have a real impact on value creation. That is why another key to success is the management of digital initiatives.
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3. Business success is about focused initiatives
Why is it necessary for multinational companies to carefully manage their initiatives today? To achieve their ambitions, obtain high returns on their investments in a short time-to-market and reach business success, companies need to engage successful digital experiences. Prioritizing projects and focusing the energy on opportunities with the highest business impact on the market will allow leaders to maximize their business potential and become major players in significant markets.
The question is, how to do so? Through our own experience, successful initiatives rely on the 3 following pillars: ambition, market potential and digital capabilities. We have learned that business success is about conducting a digital transformation in a pragmatic way:
- Define local ambition
- Evaluate local market potential
- Measure digital capabilities
- Identify and deploy strategic initiatives aligned with business ambition, adapted to the local market context and local internal capabilities
Through our own experience, only a hands-on approach that we call “structuring global and acting local“ leads to success. Deploying high value initiatives locally helps serve the company’s overall strategy and achieve the associated objectives.
Focused initiatives represent thus another step to success. A last one is paramount to achieve business success: being fast and scalable.
4. Business success needs to be fast and scalable
Digital revolution goes fast, focus on business value. The best way to achieve success is to deliver business value by increasing revenue, decreasing cost, improving productivity, differentiating from competitors and improving customer satisfaction. In an ever-changing environment, delivering business value involves going faster than the competition, being able to adapt, test new concepts and deploy successful initiatives in a short time to market. This is the key to obtain strong success stories of digital transformation.
The question is: how can you go fast? How can you be scalable? To do so, we recommend to start with several identified business successes thanks to technology and then to extend them at scale, in no time, to transform the whole company. As already mentioned, agile digital platforms allow any company to identify and deploy successful initiatives at scale in a short time to market, by learning from a fist wave of deployment and putting in place a continuous improvement process.
The business outcomes of fast and scalable digital initiatives are huge: improved profitability, increased ROI, a leadership position in a significant market and a lasting competitive advantage.
Success stories of digital transformation are about how fast successful initiatives can be deployed and how scalable they are.
To sum up, digital technology is of paramount importance to achieve business success. It is about combining key factors: having a vision and communicating it across the whole company, using technology as a powerful tool to adapt and manage initiatives with efficiency and deploy them at scale in a short time to market.
Through our own experience, learning by doing is the way to success. Our recommendation to transform an entire organization is to start with a few identified business successes achieved through technology and to extend them on a large scale in a very short period of time.
Charles Darwin said: “It is not the strongest species who survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones who adapt to change.”