Visa’s story: When Digital Transformation begs for Organizational Change

Contrary to popular perception, digital transformation is not driven by major technological upgrades. Instead it is the result of organizational change in terms of mindset. Visa for example has successfully leapt to the digital age but it’s the organization structure that has seen change. Earlier Visa was divided into silos such as marketing, IT, product, legal or risk functions. This led to information being contained within those silos, but the change brought about better alignment across departments. With marketing too, paid, earned and owned media were earlier perceived by the company as three independent approaches but soon it was realized that consumers do not view it that way and thus the streamlining process was initiated. Teams were thus reorganized where there were members from various backgrounds. The departments were now divided horizontally rather than vertically as earlier. Another way in which Visa was able to change its earlier market perception was the fact that the company excelled at talent management. It has a vast pool of well trained personnel but also does thorough homework before recruiting from external sources. This includes study of candidates’ social media background.



Digital Transformation? Culture is the Key

In order to implement digital transformation in any organization, it is essential to mold the mindset of the people accordingly. In such a scenario, corporate culture attains paramount importance. Business research undertaken by Deloitte has managed to identify the exact cultural fit to ensure this change can be implemented. Some factors which ensure the digital transformation include an increased willingness to take risk, constant experimentation and heavy investment in talent recruitment. Soft skills have been identified as very important but surprisingly, the report states that technologists are not mandatory at the strategy level to ensure this transformation. Adobe, Salesforce and Slack are examples of organizations that have executed digital transformation in the best possible manner. Source:

Top five Enterprise Digital Mistakes

With digital transformation taking hold over several organizations, some mistakes in its implementation are bound to occur. Some major ones have been listed down. The first mistake committed is digital washing. Here washing refers to anything that has been excessively used such as whitewashing where the entire place has been painted in white. The word digital has been added to far too many terms. The next mistake is comparing all forms of digital disruption to that done by Uber. Another problem is that while many want to get a slice of the cake, few are providing integrated services. Marketers speak about digital marketing, agencies discuss branding, designers about customer experience and tech vendors know about the technology itself. In this way, the bigger picture is getting ignored. Sometimes dude to too much focus on the technology, marketers are ignoring what the customer actually needs. A lot of content sent to customers in any form is not user friendly. A lot of organizations are treating digital transformation just as business transformation. However unlike in the latter, there is no end point in the former. Once a certain stage is reached, the business world may latch on to the next latest trend.



The 4 things it takes to succeed in the Digital Economy

A study conducted by MIT Sloan has earmarked a few aspects which all firms must undertake in order to survive in the present day digital economy. Customer expectations must be matched with commitments made while finalizing any deal. Products must be enhanced in order to be able to cope up with modern realities especially technological. This includes not only individual products but also connecting with platforms such as Apple, Airbnb, Lynx and Uber. Business innovation is no longer about cut-throat competition to defeat competitors. Instead it is about building a collaborative environment by leveraging strong points of channel partners. Firms such as Amazon, PayPal, Fidelity and Microsoft have succeeded by focusing on only what they do best while outsourcing singular aspects which others might do better. The leadership at such organizations needs to be sound in digital aspects. That is where the likes of Blackberry, Kodak, Sears and Blockbuster among others suffered.



The bar for Digital experience is rising in exponential Times

In the initial phase of the advent of the internet, a lot of companies could not trust this technology and developed their own websites pretty late. Same is true about today’s digital experience where several companies, big or small, have proven to be laggards. Now the technology revolution has hit the peak with examples such as tablets being adopted in the quickest possible time in 2012 or Pokémon Go registering fifty million downloads in just nineteen days. Email is one of the top digital marketing tools and its biggest advantage is the fact that emails are compatible across all platforms. Websites now need to be fully responsive to provide the all round digital experience to visitors. Digital advertising, social media, mobile applications, Internet of Things (IoT), wearable technologies, bots, smart agents, voice messages, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) complete the full array of tools that marketers these days must apply.  



Meet the Next-gen of Chat-bots: Personality based AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been around for some time but it is only recently that the technology is helping firms make money. That is due to players such as Israeli firm Imperson, which was founded back in 1999 but has now been able to leverage AI by scaling the operations. AI chatbots are now much more intelligent and can personalize content for different user types. Gone is the time when chatbots would provide common information to all based around business analytics done on data collected. It is not longer a one sided interaction, but multi-pronged. The responses are no longer dependent only on keywords but indeed AI has managed to incorporate for different buyer personas. In this way, Imperson has created solutions for top firms such as Facebook, Amazon and Twitter.



What Businesses must do to survive the Digital Disruption

The present business world is littered with wrecks of erstwhile giants. New age disruptors are hacking away at the older models, leaving many organizations unable to cope with. In such scenario, existing business must take up certain steps to continue remaining relevant in the market. The company must be aware of what it really is good at and what its customers value. Disney for example has leveraged its brand by establishing a wearable app which allows customers personalized content. Customer experience needs to be improved now that so much competition exists. Simplification of processes will enable greater loyalty among customers. Greater connect with them can be built in using social media. New platforms must constantly be explored to pursue digital marketing, enabling the company to reach wider audience. This includes mobile apps, gamification and social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter.




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How Companies are benefitting from ‘Lite’ Artificial Intelligence

At the high end, Artificial Intelligence is giving exciting albeit inconsistent results. It is a great prospect, yet very expensive for most firms to scale up to. Its concepts such as machine learning or cognitive computing seem alien to most companies beyond the top bracket of innovators such as Apple or Tesla. However, AI ‘Lite’ versions can be used in some avenues which can benefit more number of people. One must know where to use it. For example ABIE (Allstate Business Insurance Expert) is a virtual assistant which can take queries from over twelve thousand insurance agents. It answers all questions then posed using the principle of datawarehousing where enormous chunks of information are stored in its system. ABIE can process this data to derive meaningful conclusions. Source: 

Digital Transformation isn’t about tech- it’s about People

It is often considered that digital transformation will need to be led by technology geeks. It is also presumed that such technologies floated will eventually replace the people working. However, the head of GE recently remarked that on the contrary digital transformation is about the people involved. It is no longer a domain of technology geeks, but business professionals. A common sense of purpose regarding digitization needs to pervade throughout the organization to ensure this transition takes place smoothly. It will allow business analytics to be processed using data. This will further guide business decisions. Employees too need to open up and realize that such external influences will eventually be good for themselves.


Digital Businesses follow a new Strategy Mantra

As per business research conducted by Innosight, the life span of companies hogging the prestigious S&P 500 list is getting shorter with each generation. In the 1960s it was sixty years, but now it is only twenty. Barring heavy investment manufacturing sectors, it is getting increasingly impossible for companies to boast of a competitive advantage over their nearest rivals. In the digital age, service sector companies in the media, financial services or telecom industries are relying on unique strategies to stay ahead of the curve. They are integrating client centric design into their core operations. Also they are willing to mend their tactics as per market conditions. Companies are willing to experiment away from the corporate strategy initially formed to embrace existing environment. Source:


Mindful Machines: Humanizing the Digital Revolution with IoT

The Internet of Things is primarily associated with digitizing work, but in effect it is also adding the human touch to machines. Uber’s disruptive innovation allowed the additional human connect which thus increased satisfaction levels among users. This approach is now also being borrowed by the B2B world. Several processes have become more intelligent due to the interception by IoT. The insurance industry for example has now started developing customized plans and premium policies depending on driving skills for car insurance. An in-car telemetry plug-in extracts driving related data which is then analyzed to gauge level of the driver. IoT is allowing computing and non-computing devices to connect thereby providing raw data for sophisticated business intelligence to be extracted.



How Marketers will win (or lose) in the Age of Digitization

Business research conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit has conducted a study to understand the importance that digitization has taken to the world of marketing. If organizations are to indeed digitize, then it is marketers who need to take the lead. Nearly ninety percent of those surveyed felt that excellent customer experiences are developed by top firms. McKinsey reaffirms this by saying that this practice helps in talent management. Whatever image the brand has communicated about itself, needs to be fulfilled using its customer service. Modern organizations put lesser focus on people with great domain knowledge, but more on those who can use relevant data to churn useful information and analysis. This digitization has paved open the path for the CMO to be considered on top of the C- Suite.


Digital Transformation and HR’s changing Role

Digitization is transforming every facet of business and the HR field is no exception. Research firm Gartner has conducted a study which states that it starts with the onboarding process where simple, mundane processes like submission of records have been automated, enabling new joiners to start focusing on work from day one. Employee records have all been unified under single format so they can be recorded digitally. A substantial proportion of employees leave within the first three months of joining and this churn proves extremely costly for organizations. To reduce that self service tools have been designed especially for enabling corporate training so that employees have the freedom to learn new things as per their preferences and not be restricted to specific timings. Organizations have built their internal social media tools facilitating increased collaboration and team work. Data science long the domain for marketing and finance departments, is now finding greater acceptance as implementation has increased. Crucial employee and recruitment related business intelligence is being captures using such tools.


How Digital Transformation is shifting customer Expectations

While digitization in most spheres seems to have positive influence, some unique challenges are emerging as well. Phones are being used all the time leading to overuse which further affects its efficiency. Customer expectations have thus risen where after sales service has become a critical component for mobile phone companies. Market research conducted by Ovum clearly points out that two-thirds of respondents faced some servicing related problems in the last one year. Phone companies are today being judged not by the features on the phone but by the customer experience. Moving to a new phone also requires the complete transfer of data including pictures and contacts away from the older one. This needs to take place seamlessly without any security gap. The gap between consumers and operators is getting bridged through use of technology.



Measuring Asia’s Mobile Transformation

The penetration of the mobile phone has changed business paradigms like never before in Asia. Stark differences still remain in the consumption patterns both within the continent as well as with other parts of the world. Singapore and South Korea do not only top the regional ranks but are amongst the global leaders in terms of smartphone penetration, way higher than otherwise economic powerhouses USA or UK. Other top performers in this region include the likes of Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan and China. While India and Indonesia register lower levels of penetration, their high populations mean fertile potential for business. As per marketing research conducted by Google’s APAC division, more than seventy percent of populations in South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and China use smartphones to greater extent than laptops of desktops. Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia register highest social media usage patterns. People in the highly urbanized places such as Hong Kong and Singapore show highest propensity to check mails on phones. Asian populations from emerging nations also show greater acceptance of business opportunities arising through new technologies than people from established markets such as Japan, or Australia.



The CEO of Avanade on Digital Transformation and the Future of Work

Avanade started out as a joint collaboration between management consulting giant Accenture and IT leader Microsoft. Today it employs over twenty thousand employees across the globe. Its CEO has provided tips on how exactly to execute digital transformation. The transformation talked goes beyond just using digital tools to bring about changes in business procedures. It requires a complete shift in the way work is perceived. The entire organization is then geared up towards digital initiatives. Initially when firms digitize, they seek such solutions for their marketing suite. Then they move towards finance or operations. But a truly digital firm also takes care to integrate such tools with the HR functions.


Digital Transformation versus Digital Strategy

Two terms that are often used interchangeably, yet have differing ramifications are digital strategy and digital transformation. The scope of the former may be quite narrow. It usually serves any particular stakeholder group within the business such as customers, partners, suppliers or employees. It involves the usage of digital marketing for B2C players, marketing automation, use of digital tools or CRM or extraction of business intelligence using social media monitoring. Digital transformation involves the entire gamut of processes where digital technologies impact from scratch. This includes artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and cloud computing. It also involves sensors and robotics tools.


Driving Digital Transformation and managing the Velocity of Change

The digital transformation apparent in so many organizations is bringing some deep seated issues. The cultural change is bringing about a change in the structure. There is a growing understanding that greater collaboration not competition must be done with the tech sector. It is also important to provide necessary corporate training to senior employees so that they can cope with the velocity of change. At present a number of managers do not really understand the role of technology professionals. As their role is unclear they are assigned jobs they aren’t comfortable with. Yet they are being demanded to produce instant results. Thus a change in the overall corporate mindset is needed to make sure this transformation is smooth.


Preparing for the Digital Transformation Tsunami

Management consulting publication Forbes has listed out certain ways in which organizations are preparing for the upcoming digital transformation affecting all aspects of business. It is important that organizations have a clear agenda for transformation and this must be defined by estimated numbers. The respective organization must follow the maxim of being expert in its own field yet it must have basic understanding of the entire stack of operations necessary for digitization. New opportunities are bound to be thrown open by collaborating with strategic partners who can provide necessary solutions. It has been understood historically that business ideas are bound to fail periodically, yet the concept now is that before actually failing the firm may pivot itself away to a new product strategy.


Transformation and Innovation Agendas point to need for Chief Digital Officers

There is much ambiguity regarding the role of the Chief Digital Officer (CDO). A study by management consulting leader PWC found out that only 6% of organizations had a full time CDO. That number has to change especially in Asia where there is a dire need for the profile. The CDO will oversee the right mix of customer experience. Virtual reality could be one mechanism to ensure this happens. To this effect the CDO may use a combination of client insight studies, user testing labs, crowd sourced information and mass surveys to gauge the true needs. Business analytics can further be estimated using social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter. The CDO must also take the leadership in engaging un-penetrated markets. In Asia this usually means reaching the last mile where the potential customer is likely to be illiterate.  Low cost solutions are needed but devices used must be easy to understand.

Digital Transformation without losing the Human Touch

First Republic Bank has built up over years a reputation as a top notch service provider in private banking and wealth management. Due to the process of digitization everywhere, the firm is facing trouble of business positioning. Not digitizing will mean not being able to service their clients’ present needs. But doing so also poses the risk of loss of employment plus it is also unsure how the human touch they are famous for can be replicated online. Initially the IT challenges were enormous. Now the firm has inculcated analytics and Big Data in its capability set.

Five ways to reorganize in 2016 and embark on a Digital transformation Journey

Business research has been conducted to understand the best ways to execute digital transformation this year. First of all organizations must realize that customer servicing has to be top priority. The experience must be top notch. Projects’ success must be compared around customer centric approaches against internal values of the organization. Technology to be used must always be measured against the overall experience and not just end results. The teams which are to execute these plans must be developed to be multi-disciplinary. However, it is crucial to find the right balance in the team as well as the approach. This will enable the holistic harnessing of digital capabilities across the organization.

Measurable goals are key to Digital Transformation

Management consulting publication Forbes has claimed that in order to best facilitate digital transformation, measurable goals ought to be defined. Apps now exist for many different functions as well as for random needs. However, data backed business analytics only can ascertain which ones are doing best and which aren’t. This quantitative approach will enable marketers to measure success of projects in whole as well as individual products. Tools, mobile apps and social media platforms for communications must be defined right at the outset. Digital priorities must also be well defined. This will include determining whether sales need to be increased or existing customers need to be better services. Also whether there is a need for increased digital footprint or to instead focus on mobile centric technologies.

Frictionless Enterprise: the Goal of Digital Transformation

The process of digital transformation is not merely to modernize operations using latest technologies. It is in fact to do away completely with age old methods which are deemed to be unnecessary today. It is easier for one-time startups such as Uber, Amazon or Airbnb with business innovations which disrupt the market to digitize. But it is a greater challenge for those organizations battling legacy systems. Digitization involves moving towards a frictionless enterprise. The entire work culture and even goals need to be reinvented accordingly.

Digital Transformation: The changing role of the CMO

The role of a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) has undergone significant change. Part of that is the personalization that is evident in digital marketing campaigns. The bricks-and-mortar approach is very different as it has the attitude of ‘if we build, they will come’, referring to customers. The intense customization is not easy. The digital approach is well suited to customer-centric marketing. In the digital age, companies have had to shift from business oriented approach. The modern CMO has to manage marketing with communications and technology as they are all intertwined. Finally, it is the mobile phone that is revolutionizing marketing in significant ways. It has empowered the individual customer.  

80% of Firms lagging Digital transformation Maturity

Management consulting giant Accenture has recently conducted a study and identified that four out of every five firms lacks digital transformation maturity. Several industries have been identified which can act as levers to establish digital transformation in the economy. Those sectors are IT, customer management, supply chain, governance, services and few others. Compared to star performers in this regard in every sector, majority of firms reach barely 17% in terms of being digitally oriented. Similarly, market research conducted by KPMG clearly shows that about three fourths of medium sized firms in the UK are still awaiting proper digitization.

Transformational Leadership is the Key to Embracing Digitalization

In spite of digitization having enlarged its web across business operations, yet organizations are proving laggards when it comes to implementing the concept at work. A major overhaul from leadership level is needed to bridge the gap. A report released by ADL clearly shows that only about a sixth of organizations surveyed demonstrate any proper game plan to execute the same. As per this business research, automotive companies are right on top for adopting followed by telecom and media. Energy and utilities come next. The travel and transport industry is lagging furthest behind. Digitization must from now on be seen as part of the corporate strategy. A holistic approach is needed. It must be tailored for the industry and organization.

6 Predictions about the future of Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is set to accelerate over the coming year. Certain predictions have already been made by experts on what these may be. Digital transformation will now be part of the corporate strategy, planned by CEOs and the rest of the top management. This is particularly true for B2B players. Such initiatives will now be part of the long term company vision. Revenue streams will now be driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI). Big Data analytics will act as the foundation for all such enterprises. The Internet of Things (IoT) will be the major catalyst for increased digitization to all aspects of the economy. The IT industry can brace itself for increased investments as technology will play increasing part in various businesses. A substantial part of organizational budgets are now to be spent on various IT related aspects.

What should Digital Transformation mean to your Business?

Digital transformation is more than just adding up online work methods just as much as simply mixing ingredients on a stove does not give us a soup. It is an overall process of transformation across the enterprise where the business innovation is embraced by all and actually implemented at work. Digitization also provides customization towards the customers. It also involves a customer-centric focus. Smart-phones have disrupted the market in such a way that daily lives of consumers has altered. Uber has taken that a step forward and wearable technologies promise to do the same. Online portals are now being used extensively for imparting organization wide management training programmes.


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