Gaining digital mastery

Jul 18, 2017 5:37:43 PM

Your company’s customer value creation and competitiveness call for nothing less than digital mastery

Companies that don’t get digital transformation and the strategic use of digital technologies right, are likely to fail or fall behind their competitors’ performance. Those that achieve digital mastery can outperform and outcompete their field. Today and in a few upcoming blog posts, we take a look at what this means practically and you should act on it.

Few digital masters and many also-rans

On an uncharted journey, it can be helpful to check your insights and learning against those of other people. Digital business transformation is a case in point. It’s hard to find useful insight on this topic that doesn’t come from somebody who wants to sell solutions or services. That’s why it was a treat for me to read a book from Harvard Business Review Press called Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation, by George Westerman, Didier Bonnet, and Andrew McAfee.

The authors performed research in large companies in manufacturing and other industries, not enterprises that create software or digital hardware products. They introduce the category of digital masters to distinguish companies that experiment with technology to varying degrees of success from those that get it right. Digital masters are companies that “use digital technologies to drive significantly higher levels of profit, productivity, and performance.”

Currently, few firms are digital masters. Many struggle to keep up with the changes in business models and customer requirements unfolding around them. However, companies which have accomplished digital mastery outperform their field. They are 26 percent more profitable than their average competitors and generate 9 percent more revenue with their capacity.

A need for strategic, visionary leadership

Digital business initiatives require a compelling, shared vision, along with a strong alliance of business and technical stakeholders. Digital transformation has less to do with acquiring more, newer technology than with the strategic use of digitally powered services, processes, and technologies. Leadership and a sense of purpose are critical in pursuing digital mastery. Digital masters understand that they need to build digital leadership as well as digital capabilities.

Digital leadership sets the right, strategic direction, motivates people to participate, and provides the governance and optimization of transformational efforts. Because you typically can’t revolutionize your business from the bottom up, top-down leadership is necessary to move companies along the road to digital mastery. Execs coordinate and validate the company’s transformational activities, keep their momentum going, and ensure completion.

Many avenues lead to digital mastery

Digital masters enjoy both mature digital leadership and capabilities. Digital beginners are still at the starting points as regards both of these areas.

Sometimes, companies embark on digital transformation without evenly weighting leadership and capabilities. They may rate high in capabilities but low in terms of leadership. They might own advanced digital tools and run digitally enhanced processes, but lack a governing vision. Their initiatives are not always sustainable.

Others are strong in terms of leadership, but behind in capabilities. Vision and governance may be well-articulated and effective, but these companies fall behind in taking advantage of innovative digital capabilities.

Many of our manufacturing customers are clearly doing very well in both digital leadership and technological capabilities – they are well on their way to digital transformation.

Operational areas for transformation

Digital capabilities and digital leadership impact and transform three areas of a business that are essential in any company’s digital initiative – the customer experience, operational processes, and business models. At a high level, this is how we think of them at To-Increase:

- The transformative, digital customer experience bridges physical and digital channels. Companies use digital technologies and tools to connect more closely with customers, using analytics and data-enabled insight to understand and improve the customer experience.

- The operational processes to enable digital mastery rely greatly on integration, automation, and collaboration both internally and across organizational boundaries. Data analytics and evidence-based decision-making keep process improvements and changes grounded in reality.

- Digital processes and organizational change to strengthen the customer focus promote new, digital business models and practices. Digitally enabled services and digitally enhanced products help us meet customer requirements profitably. We incorporate and integrate the entire value chain to create the value we aim to deliver to customers.

In the next few blog posts, we’ll discuss the strategy and tactics of digital mastery in more detail. Feel free to send me a note with your ideas and questions.


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About Author
Luciano Cunha

Luciano Cunha

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) For Luciano, being responsible for To-Increase’s global sales and marketing means unleashing the company’s insight, innovation, and creativity to tell our story and help customers achieve their goals. On the road much of the time, he travels the world to meet with customers, understand their challenges and ambitions, and find the most effective ways to help them advance. Luciano develops and mentors our marketing and sales team, and creates strategies to help the To-Increase worldwide partner channel thrive and grow.
Making Customer Needs the Main Business Driver Luciano and his team have daily conversations with the To-Increase research and development organization to bring customers’ requirements and concerns into the road maps and design of our solutions. Luciano brings his insight to the marketing group to make sure the company’s communications resonate with customers and speak directly to their experience.
“I’m awed by customers’ innovative spirit in taking business management technology past its limits and by their generosity in letting us participate and empower them. I hope to transform our organization to become even more customer-centric than we are today. That means making more resources available to spend productive time with both our customers and partners, so we can ensure that we place into customer businesses effective solutions that fit the evolutionary stage of their operation and the way their people and processes work.”
Empowering a Global Channel
Because To-Increase only sells through partners, readying the channel to be successful in helping customers is a business-critical effort. Luciano aims to meet partners where their interests are. Partners who consider the relationship with To-Increase strategic can rely on our industry specialists to work with them as they plan their growth and serve customers. If partners prefer a less collaborative relationship, they still receive the rich To-Increase expertise and resources to ensure they win the business, perform a successful deployment, and retain a satisfied customer. In working with partners and their customers, Luciano brings to bear his experience of many years of creating successful, customer-focused business development and marketing strategies in many of the world’s countries and regions.
Enabling Customer Success in Challenging Business Environments
Looking into the near future, Luciano expects that customers will continue to expect To-Increase to help them make business sense of unfolding trends and technologies. For example, the internet of things (IoT) will thoroughly revolutionize manufacturing, engineering, and supply chains. Big data will be meaningful and valuable when decision-makers can use technology solutions to transform it into actionable business intelligence that supports key roles and business processes. Mobility will help companies become digital enterprises and move business processes forward from any location, at any time. Team To-Increase harnesses innovation to help customers translate the promise of these technologies into business results.
Before his current role, Luciano for several years was one of To-Increase’s global industry directors, responsible for our industry solutions. His experience also spans more than 17 years in IT and manufacturing management roles. These positions took him into various areas at IBM Brazil, serving as product manager for several software development companies, and included working in senior management at a manufacturing organization in the U.S.
Luciano is married with two young children. Away from work, he enjoys participating in a soccer class together with his son and daughter as well as taking relaxing walks in natural environments with his family.

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