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Article

The End Game of #DigitalTransformation | @CloudExpo #IoT #M2M #AI #ML

Understanding what winning looks like

Digital transformation requires participants to have a vision for and understanding of what they are trying to achieve and why. In fact, the lack of a clear digital strategy is the second biggest mistake companies make in digital transformation, right behind moving too slowly, according to the middle managers we surveyed. Digital strategies, however, should evolve out of a documented, enterprise-focused digital transformation "doctrine."

The purpose of a digital transformation doctrine is to create a unified understanding of why digital transformation is needed. An organization's doctrine should influence its strategy, its operating model and the tactics it uses to compete. A simple example of a doctrine could be:

The digital transformation of our marketplace is changing the behaviors of our customers and the nature of our competition.  We must embrace and respond to these changes by creating a digitally agile business, and employing digital technologies and strategies. We will achieve transformation and information dominance by investing appropriately in an optimized information logistics system. We will restructure our organizations for business agility, speed and real-time decision-making. We will develop a culture that encourages collaboration, innovation and creativity.

The justification for the pain and stress of digital transformation is to compete at a higher level. Digitally-transformed enterprises have fully functioning "digital nervous systems" consisting of sensors, mobile devices, technology-enabled people, shared situational awareness, networked applications, automated data collection, optimized processes, advanced analytics and a centralized OILS. This system provides full visibility, in real-time, into system changes that require a response from humans and/or bots. This awareness enables leaders to make data-centric decisions and implement automated bots using AI to speed up responses to data triggers.

PG&E is a great example of a company with such a doctrine and an accompanying "digital nervous system." PG&E supports 50 million customers with 1,500 distributed work crews managed from 67 different locations using separate software applications and databases. With this scale of customer service operations, PG&E's pre-digital infrastructure was highly stretched and brittle. Each dispatcher's visibility and authority was limited only to the local work crew's schedules, which resulted in poor and inefficient resource allocation, slow responses to major events and high administrative costs. To solve these inefficiencies, PG&E redesigned its business strategy and IT infrastructure by implementing an OILS, including cybersecurity, mobile, telematics and IoT systems, and consolidating all of its dispatching and field services management into two centralized centers, which were standardized on a shared software solution for scheduling. The results: Management now has centralized control over workforce scheduling and can accurately measure work crew utilization. With these capabilities, management can move work crews between different regions for optimal efficiency; dispatch is now consolidated to two offices (from a previous 67); and the company is standardized on one solution that can be enhanced and upgraded in a uniform manner.

It's important that all participants understand not only what digital transformation is, but what it means for your business and what the endgame looks like.

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Kevin Benedict is an opinionated Senior Analyst at Cognizant's Center for the Future of Work, SAP Mentor Alumnus, speaker, writer, and mobile and digital strategies expert. He is a popular keynote speaker, and in the past three years he has shared his insights into mobile and digital strategies with companies in 17 different countries. He has over 30 years of experience working with enterprise applications, and he is a veteran mobile industry executive. He wrote the Forward to SAP Press' bestselling book on enterprise mobility titled Mobilizing Your Enterprise with SAP, and he has written over 3,000 articles.