We're operating in a new era of business.

The changes powered by Digital are so profound that the World Economic Forum coined the term the "4th Industrial Revolution" to describe them.

99% of Businesses Need to Evolve, Change

Thanks to changes in the business environment powered by the social web, mobile, tech infrastructure, "big data", software etc. that have created "The Connected Economy", companies that embrace this new era of business are cultivating competitive advantages that 5+ years ago weren't even imaginable. GE, the 124-year old software start-up?

"What if you didn't know that you didn't know something about your business that could have an immediate, material and significant impact on your success? What if your competition had a similar challenge but started to figure it out before you did?"

In a way, the above statement captures what Transformation is all about.

Transformation is a process where companies are evolving their approach to Sales, Marketing, Corporate Strategy and Operations so they can see/capitalize on Digital Data that hasn't ever been visible before.

By Transforming, forward thinking companies can use the data to make more strategic decisions that increase the likelihood of achieving their goals. Leaving their competition behind.

Becoming "Customer Obsessed"

Transformation is about becoming a "Customer Obsessed" company by getting closer to its customers. Using customer vision as a benchmark, the "Customer Obsessed" organization thinks about how it can move from "Blind" to "Visionary" by leveraging tech/digital to evolve all relevant processes by putting the customer at the center to illuminate information that can help the company make better decisions.

3 Key Transformation Principles

Without getting into the weeds on the "How?" as we'll save that for another post, it might be useful to consider 3 principles that really matter and are key Transformation success drivers.

1 - Bimodal IT

If you only read one link associated with this post, "Dueling the Digital Dragon" is the one. Transformation requires IT to work at 2 speeds that complement/enhance each other to sustain the old way of doing things in parallel with introducing new ways. One speed operates at the more moderate speed/pace of the existing IT governance model while the other moves at the speed of digital business. Not an "either or" but "together".

2 - Compete With Speed

External change outpaces most organizations' capacity to adapt leaving them prey to more agile competitors. New organizational structures, those designed to collect, harvest and capitalize on data driven insights, fast, are the path forward.

3 - Digital Mindset + Culture

Changing a company's culture is one of the hardest thing in business to achieve. A big part of Transformation is making sure the digital mindset and culture is embraced and cultivated. For example, companies that organize Hackathons on a regular basis have found this to be a great way to get started.

Strategy vs. Execution

A "Customer Obsessed" organization is effectively able to "see around corners" by being able to see customer insights and take action in ways that were unimaginable until recently.

Naturally, it doesn't happen overnight but Transformation is a process that requires the right amount of commitment, runway, investment and last but certainly not least, the right calibration of agency resources.

Needless to say, the process is complex and the right agency partner is worth its weight in gold due to the productivity and efficiency gains they bring to the Transformation party. The value of applying key learnings from prior Transformation experience to jumpstart the process is substantial.

Ultimately, Transformation is about surviving + thriving in "The Connected Economy".

E: Alec.coughlin@sapientrazorfish.com; T/IG: @Alec_Coughlin