The digital era offers multinational companies new opportunities: the possibility to create new value, to offer innovative services and experiences for customers and to become a leader on significant markets. To seize these opportunities and maximize their business impact, these companies have to transform their whole organization and adapt in an ever-changing environment.
Digital transformation therefore remains at the heart of companies’ concerns. This major topic was recently highlighted by Forbes in one of its articles entitled “Breaking Down The Six Pillars Of Digital Transformation From The CEO’s Perspective”. The six following pillars of digital transformation are paramount: culture, customer experience, people, innovation, change and leadership.
We have learnt that another pillar is essential when a multinational company wants its digital transformation strategy to reach success: focused initiatives. To achieve digital business success stories, choosing the right battles is essential. We propose to develop here this last pillar.
How to identify the right initiatives to deploy to maximize business impact?
1. What is a business initiative?
Let us start by defining what a business initiative is. The business initiative is another way to deal with business in an evolving digital world, with specific characteristics:
- It aims at a business objective
Contrary to a project that only aims at its delivery. That means direct relationship to defined and measurable benefits (sales, margin, brand recognition…).
- It is never-ending
As continuous “Test & Learn” is the only way to fit in a fast-moving market. If you stop, obsolescence will inevitably loom.
- It has a moving target
Contrary to a project that has a target in terms of results. That means working in an agile mode and modifying the target according to the evolution of the initiative, by adapting to feedbacks and continuous improvements.
- It asks for another approach to budgetizing
A rule of thumb in business initiative: take uncertainty into account and budget all the stages of the initiative. Forecast twice the budget needed to release first version of your product or service because you won’t be able to measure ROI until you completed at least a round of improvements (see chart below – results cannot reasonably be expected on Release 1).
- It navigates through a complex ecosystem
As relevant solutions to your problems and requirements can be found outside your internal, under-control but limited system. If you want to be quick, you have to deal with that widened ecosystem as it packs pure innovation.
- It requires business courage
Last but not least, courage is needed because you might not succeed at first try. Courage to learn, improve and adapt continuously. Courage to explain the approach and seek support at the higher levels of hierarchy. Courage to deploy initiatives with mid-term results.
Launching a business initiative is not the easy way but the successful one. Successful initiatives can emulate a whole organization: showing that another way is possible, reaching business results and spreading a motivating empowerment over teams. Business initiatives also allow multinational companies to obtain high returns on investments in a short time-to-market and maximize business potential. In few words, business initiatives represent the successful way to achieve ambitions in an ever-changing digital environment, reach business success and become a major player in significant markets.
2. Business success is focused initiatives
To obtain strong success stories of digital transformation and set apart from competitors, carefully managing its initiatives is necessary. Prioritizing them and focusing the energy on opportunities with the highest impact on the market will allow multinational companies to maximize their business impact.
Once identified and prioritized, business initiatives have to be deployed at scale in no time. To go fast and be scalable, we have learnt that starting with several identified business successes thanks to agile digital platforms and then extending them at scale, learning from a fist wave of deployment, is the successful way to transform the whole company.
How to choose the right initiatives to generate value quickly? Through our experience, successful initiatives are based on ambition, market potential and digital capabilities. We have learned that business success is about addressing digital transformation thanks to a pragmatic approach:
- Set local ambition
- Measure local market potential and digital capabilities
- Define the matching opportunities your company will deploy with success, aligned with business ambition, adapted to the local market context and local internal capabilities
“Structuring global and acting local“ is the only approach that leads to success. Deploying high value initiatives locally helps address the company’s strategy.
- How to animate a business initiative to avoid the stalling effect and reach business success?6 March 2019
- How to deploy business initiatives at scale in a short time-to-market to achieve its business objectives?4 March 2019
- How to enable a short time-to-market to be successful?1 March 2019
- How to deploy a new business model in a short time-to-market to reach success?22 February 2019
- How to monitor brand positioning and product performance online to reach business success?20 February 2019
3. Success stories based on focused initiatives
Aware that focused initiatives and a logical approach lead to success, some multinational companies quickly achieved their objectives.
Let us start by the true story of a global healthcare leader. For this multinational company, efficiently managing its portfolio of more than 100 initiatives in its various entities, prioritizing them according to its strategy and optimizing the associated resources is essential. Thanks to a customized support as part of a strong partnership, a change management approach, a continuous improvement process and a customizable digital solution, this multinational company has quickly obtained tangible benefits at three levels:
- At a business level: a new process has been implemented, which saves time, efficiency and agility. Digital technology represents a great opportunity to boost practices by learning to work differently, in agile mode.
- At a management level: Governance has been defined. The various committees to support the portfolio could be precisely defined.
- At a technological level: the platform allows this pharmaceutical company to have a global view of its initiatives portfolio, to facilitate decision-making, to increase the impact of its initiatives and to manage its resources.
Thanks to a pragmatic approach, this global healthcare leader was thus able to prioritize and deploy strategic initiatives aligned with its ambition and to achieve success in a very short time-to-market.
Another multinational company, in the automotive industry, has used its strategic digital initiatives to become leader in Asia, India and the Middle-East. To achieve its ambition, using digital technology as a growth lever was a priority for this world largest tire manufacturer’s. Let us focus on India. Thanks to a methodical approach to engage change, scalable to each market, they succeeded in identifying and deploying in only two months three strategic initiatives on three dimensions: aligned with company’s ambitions, adapted to local markets context and considering the local internal capabilities. Outcomes: These three strategic initiatives will allow this tire manufacturer to have an impact on the market. Sales will increase within 2021: 20% sales out and 45% sales in. Thanks to this pragmatic approach, a 3 year roadmap has been defined and they can now move forward and focus their energy to deliver significant results in India:
- Improve significantly the brand awareness and perception through branding investment
- Become best in class in recommendation in the tyre category in India and educate the market on the benefits and value for money of high quality tyres
- Be successful in the smart use of data and its conversion into relevant insights for the business
To sum up, business success is achieved thanks to focused initiatives. Prioritizing their digital initiatives allows multinational companies to maximize business outcomes and reach their ambitions.
Through our own experience, conducting its digital transformation in a pragmatic way is the only approach that leads to success. Ambition, market potential and digital capabilities are the main pillars of a successful initiative. Identifying, prioritizing and then deploying strategic initiatives aligned with business ambition, adapted to the local market context and local internal capabilities: here is the way to success.