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Thinking Strategically About Digital Transformation

In the age of digital transformation, technology buying decisions should never be just about price, and they can no longer be solely made by IT for IT.
 
That’s the essence of the messaging I gleaned from an SCTC event I attended last week that should resonate most for No Jitter readers. I’m going to illustrate that here in terms of how digital transformation is impacting the enterprise environment. (I’ll be writing about other notable takeaways from the event in another post soon.)
 
Mitel and the Transformation Imperative
Aside from being a vendor helping businesses adapt to digital transformation, Mitel is an enterprise itself, just like its customers. Not only that, but with a long history of growing via acquisition, Mitel has more than once needed to integrate new cultures and operations into the organization. At the event, Mitel CIO Jamshid Rezaei talked about Mitel’s transformation imperative, and here are four lessons learned that should help any enterprise in developing a successful strategy for digital transformation.
 
1. Be adaptive -- there will always be something better
Jamshid cited the familiar but highly apropos example of evolution in the handheld technology space. When the BlackBerry first came out, there was no better way to do mobile communications -- it was truly a breakthrough product. Its creator, RIM, arguably invented the smartphone market and dominated it to the point it was hard to imagine how there could be anything better. The same was true with the PalmPilot for PDAs, and the Sony Walkman for portable music. Each stood alone in parallel universes, and there was no reason to think their paths would ever cross.
 
Then, of course, Apple came along and integrated all of this into a single device, and with the iPhone’s debut created the smartphone category that has been the standard since 2007. There has been no turning back, and those pioneering single-use devices were rendered largely obsolete overnight.
 
This is long-winded way of saying don’t make big, long-term bets on technology, especially those that are singular in purpose, like a PBX. Being adaptive here means two things. First, don’t lock into one technology, especially in isolation, and be open to combining technologies in new ways. Until recently, nobody was talking about using speech technology to manage our calendars, nor about integrating contact center with UC. For many reasons, the cloud is a fundamental driver of this ongoing change, and it’s still early days for what’s possible.
 
2. Digital transformation never ends
This is a natural extension of the above example, but needs to be considered on its own as well. Rather than view digital transformation through a technology lens where new tools replace old tools, the focus should be on improving processes and outcomes. More specifically, this approach is kaizen-based, where you’re on a never-ending journey of continuous improvement. As technology evolves, so do the possibilities for improving everything -- processes, quality, teamwork, job satisfaction, even personal fulfillment.
 
With kaizen being a form of philosophy rather than textbook MBA school theory, this approach to digital transformation becomes elevated to supporting more humanistic goals around a harmonious workplace where everyone makes meaningful contributions toward serving customers with the best possible products and experiences. This noble vision is really about investing in technology to support people -- not the other way around -- and that makes the ongoing journey easier to embrace and make part of the company’s culture.
 
Continue to next page for lessons learned three and four