• Sun. Jun 4th, 2023

A Digital-first Mindset Reimagines Agility and Resilience


May 12, 2023

Sustainable and long-term business success in complex times requires that organisations embed digital relevance and resilience, and this means paying attention to 4IR and putting people first, says Dr Karen Luyt, Snr Specialist: Digital Transformation at BCX.

A digital-first business is an ever-changing relationship between an organisation and the technology it harnesses to optimise its processes, people, and platforms.

It is, as IDC puts it, an ‘ongoing shift towards digital business models that mark the next era of digital transformation’.

Technology isn’t just an enabler – it has already proven its worth as decision-maker and optimiser – it’s a critical component of strategic thinking and planning.

It is a sentiment shared by CEOs in the IDC Worldwide CEO Survey 2022 where they unpack profits, cost savings, operational efficiencies, increased revenue and improved customer experiences as the drivers of doing business in a digital-first world.

It is a sentiment echoed in the PwC 26th Annual Global CEO Survey which underscored the value of intelligent and strategic technology investments at a time of deep geopolitical and economic uncertainty.

Smart investment into relevant technology is a priority for CEOs that are focused on reinventing the future (60%) while ensuring that the existing business is preserved (40%).

The CEO recognises that the business they have today is not one that will necessarily thrive tomorrow, and this means putting the right platforms in place to allow for seamless pivots and built-in organisational agility. And each of these touchpoints defines a business that’s operating within a digital-first mindset.

But achieving this level of agility and resilience and entrenching a digital-first mindset requires a re-imagining of digital and the potential of technology, and this is the cornerstone of 4IR.

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Leaders need to focus on clear strategies that allow for them to enable digital within the business, tackling legacy challenges with a digital-first, data-driven organisation.

The reality is this – uncertain times are expensive times and digital has to deliver a positive impact. It is only relevant if it shows proven value across revenue growth, cost reduction, improved profitability, enhanced customer satisfaction, transformed employee and supplier satisfaction, and trusted gains in governance, risk, and compliance.

Digital is also key in helping leadership gain visibility and the value from technology without having to shift their gaze from the horizon and the bottom line.

After all, the business needs to focus on what it does best – servicing its customers – which means that digital needs to be embedded intuitively throughout.

The HR department can access relevant information at speed, decision-makers can access dashboards that provide immediate visibility into financial and market information, and finance has access to data that makes it easier to forecast, plan and strategize.

For most companies in South Africa, this journey has already been fast-tracked thanks to the 2020 pandemic.

Digital was mandatory for success. Now, the real question needs to be – how can companies take this digital foundation and make it work today? Make it really meet the tenets of 4IR and the needs of resilience and agility?

Companies need to know what technologies to use so they can grow and expand their businesses and so they know that they are using the technology to the absolute best of its ability.

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They also need to reimagine the way they engage with their employees, paying attention to the people that are going to be driving this technology in the business, regardless of role or responsibility.

This takes the conversation back full circle to the key value adds of cost, revenue, customer, and people. If you want a digital-first business, you need to put people first and upskill your employees, so they develop a digital mindset that allows them to unleash the full potential of technology and the business.

Digital-first is not just a conversation about products, services, and solutions, it’s a conversation with people.

Building the foundations of a digital-first business asks that the strategy be focused on the core metrics of success across customer, process, platforms, and people.

All these components have to work together like, as the saying goes, clockwork, each cog turning the next wheel in an ecosystem that’s geared for change.



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