Datafication, optimisation and automation of processes for the Digital Age

Digital transformation is a hot issue for businesses and industries globally. However, many organisations are struggling to balance two seemingly opposite priorities: on the one hand, mastering digital business optimisation for cost-effectiveness, and on the other, freeing up resources to enable digital business innovation to find new revenue sources. At the IDC European Digital Executive Summit 2018 IDC and DXC Technology joined forces and engaged with approximately 20 digital leaders during a closed workshop to discuss how an organisation can get the “core building blocks” for digital transformation right.

Although digital business innovation is a process of strategic alignment, trial and error, digital business optimisation is often paired with the search for efficiencies and enabled by a strong information strategy. An increasing number of organisations acknowledge that data is a valuable corporate asset. Data can be turned into information and intelligence, and thus help executives make better business decisions. Organisations need to search for opportunities for “datafication”, simplification and automation of core processes.

Start with the data

A platform that collects data across the organisation and implements it to improve various operations helps advance digital transformation. The “datafication” of operations (extracting data from processes and assets) can help identify opportunities for improvements. The digital leaders agreed that increasing data aggregation and analysis is a necessary step on the digital transformation journey for many organisations, as it sheds light on how organisations operate.

Simplify per outcomes

The next step after datafication is simplification, i.e., addressing the inhibitors and bottlenecks in the existing processes. However, it is not always necessary to change a process. Ultimately, business executives will be looking for “business outcomes” because any proposed changes should be meaningful and relevant for the organisation. Keeping an eye out for these meaningful business outcomes by identifying concrete key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure success will help prioritise simplification efforts. It is important to note here that with more and more data available, business leaders risk getting lost in a jungle of KPIs. Keeping KPIs simple and relevant will help focus a company’s transformation efforts.

Automate and communicate

Finally, the transformation of operations is enabled by completely automating the steps in critical processes. However, employees are sometimes hesitant and resistant when they hear words such as “optimisation” and “automation”. It is therefore critical that the communication and language used to describe changes is tailored and meaningful to different audiences. In other words, the metrics used to report progress across the organisation need to be bespoke, in order to increase buy-in, improve alignment and accelerate the pace for changes.

A long journey still lies ahead for most organisations. IDC expects that 75 per cent of enterprises will “digitally transform” by 2027. It will be a challenging journey and one that not all organisations will be able to successfully complete. However, the digital leaders we engaged with at the IDC European Digital Executive Summit all agree on one thing: Getting these core building blocks right will help organisations make a smooth transition to the digital economy.

Are you committed to your digital transformation journey? Check out some key steps on how to stay digitally determined.