No one wants to be rushed into a major project like digital transformation, nevertheless, certain situations can arise that might force your company into making major changes, or, alternatively, drift down the stream of obsolescence. It happened to Kodak, it happened to Blockbuster and Sears, so it just might happen to you. Strategic thinkers should have well-established plans in their back pocket, because sooner or later one or more of the following forces will steer you to the path of transformation:
- Competition. A standard analyst technique to predict whether a company will take a certain step, is to see whether the competition has already taken it. If innovation is successful, it must be matched. With that said, a true transformation requires taking a leap forward in a new area, rather than just matching your competitor’s offering.
- Regulatory changes. New regulations very often force business changes and systems changes. For example; the history of roaming rates in the EU, data residency, privacy, and the lawful intercept laws around the globe. Most new regulations force changes to organizational technology processes and systems; the business-oriented changes usually piggyback those waves of change.
- Group-level standardization. Most carrier groups strive for standardization of technology and processes across their various operating companies, the goal being a realization of efficiency through multi-country operations. Group-level transformation is a net positive for national carriers: Although such standardization might eventually limit local autonomy, in practice and the transition can be beneficial to the local operations. This presents new possibilities for innovative local departments to achieve recognition and drive their own technical vision and best practices across the rest of the group.
- Leadership/priority changes. Most new C-level officers are hired because they promise change. Very few telcos are in a situation where they are looking for steady, no-risk leadership. Leadership changes will then often come with new areas of focus, whether it is customer experience, IoT, or unified platform projects.
- Mergers and acquisitions. Disruption caused by M&A can be daunting, but can also provide extra capital and the will to spend it. The new company’s leaders will then work to justify the transaction, either by boosting the top line or by cutting costs to boost the bottom line. At the lower levels, a compelling plan can mean the difference in a scenario where two sets of staff are vying for the same post-transaction roles.
Even if none of these situations are currently happening in your organization, or if the changes aren’t reaching your area, it is still better to do what you can in order to implement change. You know the fable of the frog that doesn’t jump out of the slowly boiling pot: In most cases, it is better to expose your colleagues to the changing environment rather than resign yourself to doing nothing.
For a full discussion of how digital transformation can be implemented at your company, read the IDC whitepaper Putting the “Transformation” in Digital Transformation here.