Digital transformation is and will continue to be one of the most significant contemporary drivers of business change in modern society. Absolutely every kind of firm, institution, Government agency and non-profit organisation in the coming decade will have to figure out how to facilitate their customers (and to a great extent too their employees and shareholders) on-line.
This imperative represents a significant challenge to the local and Regional private sector, particularly those businesses which wish to grow and access all markets, but particularly those internationally.
The profound growth of the internet economy has set in motion a series of markets shifts and trends at the intersection of business strategy and technology, which individual firms and business groups must respond to, and which are likely enabled by modern tools such as cloud, mobile, data, and analytics.
Even prior to the need for raising awareness regarding the availability, cost, and characteristics of various potentially relevant IT/Business tools, it must be noted that business model changes lie at the heart of these transformation efforts. As such there are implications across the enterprise and by extension the industry. Operations, marketing, Human Resources (HR), Information Technology (IT), finance, and other functions are all impacted as companies / institutions seek strategies and transition frameworks that are specifically relevant to the changing realities in their own firms, value chains and industries.
Determining a Plan of Action
Popular opinion seems to equate digital transformation with marketing, which is incorrect even if understandable. Because the marketing department controls websites, social media, and other customer-facing aspects of digital interaction, it is tempting to equate these elements with the much broader concept of digital transformation.
True business transformation is not just a website or attractive new channel for sales or customer service. Instead, transformation involves redesigning processes, strategies, business models, and particularly culture, to take full advantage of new capabilities offered by digital mediums and technologies.
Traditional brick and mortar business models and models which work for e-businesses can be quite different. Making changes to incorporate ICTs into business processes, without a clear understanding of the commercial and revenue models which work on the internet, can result in ICT-related outlays being expenses rather than investments upon which clear returns are expected.
A Starting Point for the Digital Transformation Journey – Assessing e-Readiness
Going deeper and beyond the basic Technology-People-Process model, our consultants have produced the INFOCOMM Technologies (ICT) Ltd. e-Readiness Framework. This framework has been used with good success in countries throughout the Caribbean (Region) and in Africa and Pacific, within the ACP grouping in a number of projects and endorsed by Regional and International Development Agencies including:
- IDB / CARIRI: e-Readiness assessment of SMEs
- UNECLAC: e-Readiness assessment of DRM institutions in the Caribbean
- EU / CTA / CARDI – ICTs in Agriculture Value Chains in the Caribbean.
- EU / CTA – e- Agriculture Readiness Framework (toward a Global e-Agriculture Readiness Index)
- UNDP – in its CARISECURE project assessing the state of play in the security and justice sector in 13 Caribbean nations
The framework has also been endorsed Cornell University and appears in their “Journal of Development Communication”, which has global coverage.
The Framework assesses the current level of sophistication of ICT use within a sector, industry or organisation, and assesses the preparedness of a sector, industry or organisation to use ICTs to achieve operational effectiveness and efficiency gains, as well as to improve information management, dissemination and collaboration capacities; all of which ultimately result in business growth and capital investment.
The framework looks at factors such as Business Environment, Governance, Human Resource Capability, Psychographics and ICT Infrastructure
Each headline Pillar has a number of indicators and sub-elements with weightings which vary by sector.
For more about these and other consulting products and interventions from INFOCOMM Technologies Ltd., for more information please contact us.