Digital transformation – part 2 – Enterprise vs Startup

Dileep Marway

Posted On: December 16, 2022

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Read time5 Min Read

Digital transformation - part 2 - Enterprise vs Startup

Recap from the first article:

What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation is using technology to create new or modify existing business processes, culture and customer experience to meet changing business and market requirements.

It can be summarised as the reimaging of business in the digital age.

Why should companies consider digital transformation?

Personally I have seen the power of digital transformation and it really sets you up for working in an agile, cross collaborative way which pushes a company towards a journey of growth.

It also allows a value add to every customer interaction and can give a better customer experience. In most cases companies push towards digital transformation as it helps to stand out against competitors.

The big add for me is the fact that data collected via a digital transformation has meant that companies can make more informed decisions, at the same time they can understand more about their customers. One brand that comes to mind is Tesco and their use of the Clubcard – this allowed them to recommend offers to customers based on what they buy generally and it enticed customers to come back when they had previously left for competitors.

When does digital transformation succeed?

I have seen digital transformation succeed in an environment where communication is clear, concise and we can track success.

Generally I have seen that in a flat organisation structure it lends itself to better communication and decision making, thus giving a higher likelihood of success.

If each decision has to go through multiple layers of managers to move forwards, mistakes cannot be detected and corrected quickly enough.

Thus as part of digital transforming an organisation I have seen the focus on the use of agile processes, which involve faster feedback loops and failing fast.

Startup environment – digital transformation

In a startup environment digital transformation can be seen as the building blocks to building up the team and it can initially be seen as the key focus to start making profit.

The issue in this type of environment can be that this can be seen as a costly and risky solution, though with the right guide rails and metrics, the risks can be mitigated.

The most important aspect is to ensure that the culture is such that digital transformation can be achieved.

I personally feel that the technology aspect is not the hardest, rather the people side is always harder. Getting those who are fully aligned with the challenge and culturally they fit the bill will mean that there is more chance of success.

Some key tips that I would recommend to startups based on my experience:

  1. Don’t be discreet about your digital transformation.
  2. Don’t focus on new technology, prioritise your goals instead.
  3. Don’t ignore feedback and sentiments.
  4. Do your research, maybe you do not need more technology.
  5. The culture of the organisation is key, no matter how good the plan if the change is not accepted it will fail.

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Enterprise environment

In an enterprise environment it can be more challenging. There are multiple structures in place and there can be a resistance to change.

What helped me personally in an enterprise setting was that keeping data on how we will measure success and delivering a weekly update meant that the team was more open to change. At the same time, documentation has been key to ensure that there is a level of confidence in the understanding of a particular change and what value it can add.

For example in our technology department we moved from bi-montlhy releases to weekly releases. At first when I mentioned this there was reluctance for the change and it was mentioned that this move had failed a few years ago.

I achieved small steps by taking a release with less tickets, adding more structure and showcasing the value of failing fast, and getting constant feedback. What helped was when we first went with a bi-monthly release there was an incident and we had in excess of 100+ tickets and could not even track down what had caused the issue. With weekly releases we do not have this issue.

Some key tips I would recommend to enterprise organisations based on my experience:

  1. Strengthen communication – influence culture, productivity, performance and success of a company.
  2. Be disruptive and innovate – set trends, address changing consumer needs and offer authentic solutions to address the needs.
  3. Nurture a collaborative culture – departments tend to hoard information and power in a top-down hierarchy.
  4. When moving forward, do not forget to look back.

Closing

Digital transformation is a great tool to accelerate profit in a company. It can be difficult and it can fail – in those bad times it is key to learn and not be scared to keep going!

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Dileep Marway

Founder of Be More Meerkat (https://bemoremeerkat.com/), where I write blogs on leadership and I provide technology consultancy. I am passionate about the use of technology and innovation to create change, deliver value and solve complex problems whilst improving the lives of users, by using the most effective technology stack. A commercially focused, results driven executive level technology leader with over 15 years experience: leading strategy development and execution, successful digital transformation and delivering organisational, IT change alongside cost effectiveness (to budget), secure and high availability operational IT. Extensive experience of outsourcing and managing IT delivery in multi-site environments. Strongly focused on partner selection and management, actively managing IT and change risk with an emphasis on quality assurance (QA), and full review of technology and engineering effectiveness. I create, scale and optimise business portfolios that bring customer success and better service. To accomplish this, I focus on delivering key outcomes and building “high performing” teams. I act as a bridge between the C-suite and the technology technical teams.

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