By Francois Volschenk (IoT.nxt Chief Digital Innovator and Learnership Evangelist)
Organisations could be slow to react to digital transformation due to traditional methodologies, the nature of the organisation or individual resistance to change. Merifield (2015) suggested that digital transformation means something different to everyone, but digital leaders are 26 per cent more profitable than their industry competitors.
However, it’s important not to confuse digital with digitisation. Digitalisation involves the standardisation of business processes driven by potential operational excellence and reductions in cost. Additionally, for many organisations, digital transformation is only digitalisation or digital optimisation in disguise, where the new digital initiatives merely augment existing services (Denning, 2018).
The concept of digital transformation is an all-encompassing change involving people, processes, systems, operations, technology, culture and finance in an entirely new paradigm of organisational change. Peter Drucker once said, “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” that articulates the heart of digital transformation, which is core to IoT.nxt.
Traditional approaches by organisations to obtain competitive advantage included cost leadership, market-leading research and development or marketing (Porter, 1998; Teece, 2010). In contrast, Spil et al. (2016) suggested that the ability to capitalise on new digital technologies will become a more significant way to both maintain, improve and strategically change the competitive positioning of an organisation. The research by Spil et al. ( 2016) observed a lack of e-leadership or the inability of organisations to capitalise on the new business model and product innovation opportunities that were enabled by digital technologies and resources.
Established companies do not have to change their business model or become digital platforms by emulating other digital disruptors (Lamoureux, 2017). Schwab (2017) predicts the winners of digital will be those who can participate fully in innovation-driven ecosystems by providing new ideas, business models, products and services. Ross (2017) warns that digital transformation will be a long journey, consequently encouraging organisations to start soonest with the process.
The evolutionist, Martin Nowak remarked, co-operation is the only thing that could possibly rescue humankind (Hollis, 1992). Technology should be employed to drive humanity towards more sustainable development (Hollis, 1992). The future ought to be formed by putting individuals first and enabling them to make a difference. Humankind continually needs to be reminded that all modern technologies are the foremost tools made by people for people. The closer technology mimics the reality of human existence, the more beneficial the impact of digital transformation will be on humanity.
It’s your business, only better.
Just as in the real world, communication is key to unlocking the potential of digital. Creating interoperability across your value chain is an integral part of IoT.nxt’s solution and the key to delivering the deep insights you need.
IoT.nxt is a software development company that’s part of Vodafone subsidiary Vodacom. We offer dynamic Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to industries and businesses alike, worldwide. With IoT.nxt, you can keep an eye on the core parts that make up your ecosystem from the palm of your very hand, with no need for rip or replace.
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About the author
Francois Volschenk is Professor of Management and Associate Dean of the Faculty at Monarch Business School Switzerland. Over the years, Volschenk’s research interests have focused on the areas of digital technologies, digital disruption, leadership and entrepreneurship. In the last 30 years, he has been involved with technology development companies that use digital innovation to transform business operations and industries. He completed his DBA at Monarch Business School, Switzerland.
Since January 2020, he has served as IoT.nxt’s Chief Digital Innovator.