As part of Solutions Review’s Expert Insights Series—a collection of contributed articles written by industry experts in enterprise software categories—Varun Goswami, the VP of Product Management at Newgen Software, outlines some of the difficulties around enterprise-wide digital transformation and how companies can manage them.
Transforming at an enterprise scale is not easy. As organizations over the last decade have learned the hard way, digital transformation can flatter to deceive. Outcomes may remain elusive, or fizzle out quickly, leaving everyone involved a bit underwhelmed. After all, we live in an era where expectations are changing faster than most enterprises can. Amidst this constant catch-up, enterprise-wide digital transformation can feel like a moving target, a mirage.
Once we cut through the jargon that ‘digital transformation‘ is, we find that enterprises across the board have their mixed bag of success in various aspects of the business. Some find success with customer onboarding after implementing a new omnichannel approach, for instance. There is also a significant impact on how front-end technologies have made it easier for enterprises to address user experience. New technologies in low-code and AI (artificial intelligence) are also promising to make lives easier for leaders in areas across the industries.
However, the sentiment of “not doing enough” with digital persists. There are two parts to the conundrum, and therein also lies the key to unlocking it.
True transformation is when an organization naturally and nimbly responds to the demands of rapidly shifting expectations and continues to do so sustainably. For this, organizations have to treat digital transformation as a way to create an organization that addresses three critical aspects of sustainable growth:
- Customer experience: A superior customer experience at every touchpoint throughout the customer journey drives the top line. It is a primary key to growth.
- Operational excellence: Many businesses prioritize customer experience and invest in it but bypass efforts on the operational backbone, eventually paying to cover up the operational deficiencies and hurt their bottom line. Creating the right operational fabric is critical for sustainable profitability.
- Continuous business Innovation: With the right environment and nimbleness, organizations that can innovate continuously can keep up with rapidly shifting expectations.
The key is to do these three in unison. A great customer experience creates growth opportunities, while operational excellence facilitates cash generation, and continuous innovations help tackle dynamicity. But, when addressed together, they multiply and make a positive feedback loop for sustained enterprise-wide digital transformation.
The second and critical piece of the conundrum is “How.” How can enterprises leverage technology to create a constantly evolving, transforming organization? This is how.
1) Address holistic customer journey
A beautiful UI (user interface) is not enough. Even an omnichannel experience may fall short if not tied back to the end-to-end experience across touchpoints driven by the end outcomes. The way to create a lasting and superior customer experience is by connecting in the front end with backend operations powered by process automation (not to be confused with robotic process automation, aka RPA). A customer journey-driven experience is not only better for customers but also operationally efficient and better for employees.
2) Strategic agility through low-code
The days of long-haul application development are passe. Long application development cycles are hungry for resources and directly contribute to the non-ending catch-up game.
Low-code offers technology leaders a way to develop applications rapidly. However, one needs to be careful in picking the right low-code platform, as it’s essential to have one that enables composition-based scalable and enterprise-scale development for pro-developers and is not just focused on citizen development.
3) Application development at scale
The ability to make an enterprise-level impact is where one makes it or breaks it. This is why enterprises must be wise in picking their low-code platform. They need deeper capabilities to build complete applications across a broad range of use cases—from smaller approval-type applications to highly complex mission-critical applications with complex information models.
They also need to support extensibility through functional services that can be combined to compose applications facilitated by solid project governance. That’s where enterprise-scale strategic agility comes from.
4) Continuous innovation through AI
AI is a powerful technology, but if misconceived, its usage can rapidly drain resources and divert attention from priority areas. Enterprises can use it judiciously with process automation and content services to harness great advantage. Information from process insights and data extracted in an automated manner from all incoming content can be fed to prescriptive and predictive models to offer intelligent decisions in real-time.
When combined with business rules decoupled from the applications, AI-based decision systems can speed up quality outcomes while freeing up knowledge workers for truly subjective decisions. What’s more, combined with low-code, and process automation technologies, the rollout of innovative models through AI creates a continuously innovating and improving organization, which is the real essence of digital transformation.
5) Integrated technology stack
In the quest for digital, enterprises procure multiple-point solutions and specific digital technologies, inadvertently creating other silos in an already disjointed operational fabric. The impact is not apparent because these systems and technologies do well in their scope. However, they often break the customer journey with weak hand-offs and poor integration.
The objective should be an integrated architectural stack that combines process, content, communication, and AI technologies. This frees the organization to focus on business outcomes rather than worrying about integration issues and making things work. The cherry on top is if low-code is used to achieve all of these capabilities.