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Transforming a Legacy Organization into a Future Leader – Digital Leadership

Digital is the New Normal 

If you still think it’s too soon to go for a digital transformation, wait until you find AI, robots and BlockChain technology disrupting your business and industry.  Digital technology has drastically changed how we engage with customers, provide services, develop products, and ultimately grow our organizations and economies. The writing is on the wall for business enterprises. They must innovate or face extinction.   To lead and grow in this new digital age, it is imperative for legacy enterprises operating in traditional ways to examine their processes, adapt to the changing environment, leverage customer data more efficiently, and not be afraid to change their value propositions and business models.  In our upcoming book How to Create Innovation, we have revealed the complete step-by-step roadmap for transforming a conventional and sluggish legacy organization into an agile and responsive digital leader. The book will be available to our readers very soon. For now, I’ll let you take a quick look at the four key areas in which any traditional business aspiring to digitally reinvent itself must invest. But before you even think of investing in any of those areas, there’s another most crucial thing you must do. 

Transform Your Thinking 

Strategic thinking is the ultimate prerequisite to digital transformation, as digitalisation is not just about upgrading your technology. It’s about using the right technology in the right way at the right time to uplift and continuously improve customer experience. But Digitalisation goes far beyond Customer Experience. You can achieve amazing results through Customer Experience, but it is just one of the numerous levers of technology. When we talk about digitalisation, we have to take a much more global perspective, talking about strategy, ecosystems, people, culture, processes, structures, technology, and value.   A company-wide transformation of mindset must precede digital transformation. The change should begin at the top. Top business leaders are responsible to strategize and send out their clear long-term vision and mission for the company to employees and stakeholders. In the book, we will discuss 3 fundamental questions that leaders must ask to clarify their vision and solidify their strategy. The following graphic illustrates these questions.  Key Questions to ponder when developing a Digital Strategy   To answer these questions fully and create a successful Digital Transformation strategy, you have to go through a full digital strategy exercise such as the one we run with our customers. We cannot cover everything here, but we can start discussing some of the key areas that any legacy organization needs to focus on to start its path towards becoming a digital leader. 

Two-Way Customer Engagement  

Today’s customers are digitally grounded; and digital is taking over a greater part of their lives with each passing day. Within years from now, it might become common to see people commuting in autonomous cars, controlling their homes from mobileand receiving legal or health advice from robotsThe world is not the same as it was just a few years ago, and it’s not going to stay as it is today.  

Digital has now completely taken over the business world by becoming the core platform for customer engagements. Social media and mobile have emerged as the most effective channels for gathering datand adopt strategies to influence buying decisions This shift requires organizations to redesign the business process by putting the customer centerstage. Today, you cannot just push out products following the operational needs of your business. You have to establish truly customer-centric thinking and engage meaningfully with your customer on  as many touchpoints along their buying journey as possible.   

Legacy organizations consider customer engagement as a one-waystreet where they sell their customers the products. But transformed businesses aiming to be future leaders understand customer engagement is a pre-cursor to sales and look for opportunities for using technology to createtwo-way engagements.  

Analysis and Utilization of Big Data  

The digitization of nearly all aspects of business and the advancements in data collection technology has created an era of big dataEven traditional organizations track countless business metrics in a bid to align people and processes with the organizational objectives and improve the bottom line results. Those business metrics are now turning into big data which is transforming the way organizations analyze the success and failure of their products, marketing, sales, PR, and other business initiatives.    There are two key dimensions of the legacy systems. Data itself is the first dimension and typically relational in legacy systems from ERP, CRM, and other business applications. The second dimension after data itself is the infrastructure. Legacy systems tend to possess a bounded and constrained infrastructure. The challenge of pulling data from existing CRM and ERP systems and then merging it with the newer types of enterprise data sources can be solved by building a data bridge. The following steps are critical for bridging old data with new data:   
  • Move your on-premise and off-premise data completely to the cloud or hybrid infrastructure.  
  • Embrace social and mobile data to blend the old data with newer sources.  
  • Follow the 3 Vs of the modern data structures, Volume, Velocity, and Variety.
Big Data: Expanding on 3 fronts at an increasing rate
  • Use data virtualization to pull several sources together into a new system.   
  • Use business intelligence systems to manage your data transition for example, TIBCO Analytics.  
  • Incorporate capabilities like predictive analytics.   
The implementation of Big data requires selecting suitable tools and solid structure to ensure the data’s  security and to avoid any vulnerabilities.   Another big challenge of legacy organizations is to rely on technology or data without humanizing the experience. It is crucial for organizations to know how to rely on data and apply it where it can be most useful. The kind of human connection which helps in driving lasting value is exactly what the technology and data are best suitable to deliver.   

Fully Integrated Marketing 

Today, the average person is bombarded by 6,000 to 10,000  marketing messages every single day. Most of these messages do not even get noticed.  To survive and thrive in the digital age, organizations thus need to work on integrating their marketing activities to be noticed by the general public and particularly of decision-makers. Organizations can start to test and develop their marketing capabilities with the ultimate objective of generating more value along the customer’s buying lifecycle.  For marketing integration to truly create the desired benefits, consistency in messaging, positioning, and branding are critical prerequisites.  Next, the traditional marketing mixneeds to change to increasingly focus on interactive digital channels.  Digital channels are measurable and real-time and are thus the best way to reach your audience and track their preferences and brand experience.  Traditional companies need to heavily invest in advanced analytics and attribution models for both advertising and PR-driven content so marketers understand which marketing campaigns drive real conversions. To achieve this, enterprises must invest in experts with significant data skills to put the “science” in their advertising, PR, and other marketing campaigns.    The indicator for you to see if you are still running a legacy organization or not is to see if your marketing department works closely with sales and coordinating with advertising, analytics, PR, and utilizing all the data points for better decision marking in an integrated approach.  

Customer-Centric Value Proposition.  

In today’s business world, an organization’s Value Proposition needs to be consistently aligned and re-aligned to match the expectations of modern, information-rich, and empowered customers.   

There is a critical difference between a traditional business vs. a digitally transformed company. The conventional business focuses oncrafting the appropriate messagingfor its customers. In contrast, the transformed business focuses on the jobs that its customer need to get done. After figuring out the best way to do the job, future leader goes to work to break the silos and create a ‘value ecosystem’ centered around the customer. 

We can learn this from two industry category leaders: Amazon, before the digital revolution, used to ship books, and  Netflix  before embracing new avenues used to send out DVDs by mail. Both have evolved their business models, channels, and processes to match the pace of burgeoning technology . Both firms created new products to fulfill the evolving customer needs yet stayed aligned to their core values. The main reason these tech giants became successful is that they continually re-examined their Value Proposition and pivoted their business instead of being stuck in their legacy silo.  

It’s Time To Act  

Technology is evolving way faster than even tech-savvy people predict. Moving forward from the age of smartphones, the next evolution we are experiencing is the smart everything age” with smart appliances, smart cities, smart vehicles, smart energy production, and so on, and all of these work together and communicate in a well-connected ecosystem.   

The digital (r)evolution is creating two main elements, a  constant flow of data  and increasing integration and connectivity of every type of product, which is opening the doors to new Value Propositions and Business Models across all industries.   

Businesses that move too slowly or refuse to listen to their customers will quicklylose market share or be forced out of business. If you want to stay relevant, you have to learn to move fast and listen to your customers.  

Can we support you in your own transformation journey? We are here to help. Simply give us a call!


  1. Colabrio

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  2. […] need to appoint a teachable, reliable, and loyal leader who will lead your digital transformation team. Most times, this position can be occupied by a […]

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