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For executives, transforming an enterprise is always difficult

For executives, transforming an enterprise is always difficult, but when an enterprise is highly profitable - digital transformation is even harder. The temptation to follow the maxim, "Don't fix what isn't broken," is just too compelling.  "When you average 8% same-store sales [growth] for 35 years, it can breed a sense of, 'Why do we need to change? Things are working,'" John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, said in a recent interview with "The Wall Street Journal."  Today, however, Whole Foods is struggling to compete with other lower-priced grocery stores that have embraced organics and healthier foods.  If you take your eye off the game for a second, consumers will change directions on you.

The challenge enterprises are faced with today is that digital technologies are changing the way consumers behave faster and in different ways than executives have ever seen before.  Today's profits can hide or mask the serious problems of tomorrow.

Competitors can't compete, and leaders can't lead if they don't know the rules of the game.  Understanding how the game is played, and how points are scored, are key to any competition.  In the age of digital transformation these are some of the key rules to learn in order to score:

  1. Data is the modern commercial playing field, information dominance is your goal, those that can "act and with speed" have the advantage over those which cannot.
  2. Advantages in the speed of data-driven decision-making, automation, robotic process automation will dictate the winners of tomorrow.
  3. Complexity is the enemy of agility, and acts as poison from the past.
  4. It takes an optimized Information Logistics Systems (OILS) to support real-time digital interactions.
  5. Faster operational tempos and information logistics systems - open up a plethora of new business opportunities and business models.
  6. Precision and real-time data beats estimates and conjecture.
  7. Digital interactions require real-time business operational tempos.
  8. Bad data will make the smartest systems dumb.
  9. Competitive advantages from new technologies depreciate quickly - so act fast.
  10. Situational awareness enables management to focus on the knowns, rather than the unknowns.
  11. Demand for real-time digital customer interactions increases the need for contextually relevant and personalized user experiences and digital transformation across all systems and processes.
  12. Data has a shelf life, and the economic value of data diminishes quickly over time, and the more data that is collected analyzed and used, the greater the economic value it produces in aggregate. In addition, the economic value of data multiplies when combined with context and right time delivery.
  13. Digits can be changed faster than the human mindset.

These rules not only help you understand how to compete and win, but they should also guide enterprises in their development of a digital transformation doctrine - a guiding and unifying statement as to the purpose, desired effect and outcome that is wanted.

These rules not only help you understand how to compete and win, but they should also guide enterprises in their development of a digital transformation doctrine - a guiding and unifying statement as to the purpose, desired effect and outcome that is wanted.

I invite you to watch my latest short video on digital technology trends and strategies:

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Kevin Benedict
Senior Analyst, Center for the Future of Work, Cognizant
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

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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.