Approximately nine out of 10 organisations surveyed for the Red Hat Global Customer Tech Outlook 2019 recognise the need to become digital enterprises and have plans to digitally transform within the next two years, if they have not already done so.
Some of the key drivers of digital transformation include increasing operational efficiency and improving customer experiences. In the case of Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific, it employed enterprise-grade open source solutions to develop its cloud platform as part of its digital transformation efforts. In doing so, it was able to standardise and centralise management, as well as quickly deploy applications to better support its overall business strategy that puts customers at its core.
However, it takes more than just a one-off digital transformation project to succeed in the digital age. As the business environment is constantly evolving, organisations will need to adopt digital refinement — which requires them to continually re-evaluate their digital transformation strategies — to remain relevant amid rapid changes. This process of digital refinement will be key in helping at least 55 per cent of organisations in Asia Pacific to be digitally determined by 2020, wherein they will transform markets through new business models and digitally enhanced products and services, according to IDC.
So how should organisations in the Asia Pacific embrace digital refinement to proactively anticipate shifts in customer demands and quickly deliver services that satisfy them? These are three things enterprises can do to achieve that.
1. Analyse their value chain
Advancements in technology can be a double-edged sword. Although it can provide more convenience to consumers, it can also drive new customer demands and behaviours that force businesses to transform their operations and services.
This calls for companies to analyse their value chain by studying their market position, identifying their competitive weaknesses and improving their offerings. By doing so, Malaysia’s AmBank Group managed to identify ways to deliver more convenient and seamless mobile banking services, which also helped create new revenue streams.
2. Put digital at the heart of their organisation
Even though technology plays a big part in digital transformation, having a digital-first culture can also be a key factor affecting the success of digital transformation. Companies with a digital-first culture can align people, processes, and structures to use technology with a goal of optimising operations and creating new business opportunities.
However, the key focus for companies should be how they can best align their employee skillset to this change as this transformation calls for a mindset change. They should also identify skill gaps and provide the necessary training to ensure that every employee is able to keep up and contribute to the digital transformation journey.
Take the case of Singapore Airlines (SIA) for example. As part of its digital transformation, the carrier not only modernised its traditional monolithic systems, but also upskilled its application and infrastructure teams. Since the latter enables both teams to operate on the new platform efficiently and effectively, SIA can now better address business needs by releasing more frequent updates to its business apps.
3. Select the right technology partner
Given the complexity of digital transformation, companies should consider which are the relevant partners that will value add as the company addresses digital opportunities and challenges. No one company can easily possess all the resources needed to develop robust technology systems, and trying to do it alone can prove difficult and costly. And so the next step a company has to take is deciding whether to build or buy its needed capabilities.
Indonesia’s Bank BRI, for instance, partnered with Red Hat Consulting to develop a hybrid cloud platform and avoid the complexities of migrating its systems to the cloud. The move also equipped the bank’s IT team with the knowledge and experience to effectively use Red Hat solutions to best manage their hybrid cloud as well as rapidly build and deploy applications to keep up with changing customer demands.
When it comes to selecting a partner, organisations should look for one with a good track record in basic areas such as project management and relationship management, and share the same expectations as the organisation on the quality and implementation of a solution. Having a partner that is culturally aligned on how to conduct the business will bring more value to the enterprise, especially in the long run. As the relationship grows, partners will have a better understanding of the enterprises’ business and be able to play a more strategic role such as flagging issues that may become potential risks or providing advice on strategies.
Future proofing the business with digital refinement
Success in the digital age requires enterprises to sustain a constant innovation momentum instead of innovating on an ad-hoc basis. Since digital refinement can help organisations to proactively and continuously innovate, organisations that embrace it will be able to not only avoid being disrupted but also better compete by capturing new opportunities before their competitors.