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How and why local companies should break down old barriers and boost digital transformation

Transitioning an operational model is not a painless activity, however not doing so may end up being fatal for companies. What I mean by transitioning is an adaptation to the current reality while keeping an eye on the future. If you have read the title and thought that this is going to be a post about the “essence” of IT, then you were misled. Digital transformation is not an IT “thing”; it relies more on a mindset shift.


At many organizations, the debate about whether to pursue a digital transformation has ended in favor of a profound change. Now a new discussion is underway: how to make the digital transformation happen before it’s too late. Time is running out. Research and experience show that businesses that are slow to digitize struggle to remain competitive.


Throwing cash at the problem isn’t likely to help; some digital initiatives generate attractive returns, while others don’t. So, companies must target their efforts and investments carefully. It is time for CEOs to make tough decisions and rejuvenate their organizations. It also calls for them to lead the transformation while other executives manage day-to-day efforts. In practice, this means overhauling how the business works to create a new operating model that runs on digital technologies and capabilities. Modernizing IT is one particularly critical, and often misunderstood, part of digital transformation because it enables enterprises to accelerate innovation and performance improvement. Other essential transformation tasks include building a digital culture and developing capabilities that allow for deeper integration with both internal and external systems.


Digital transformation is not specifically about IT or technology; it is about redefining your entire business strategy. Perhaps even changing your corporate culture. To succeed in digital, your company should think about technology not just as a support function but as a strategic competency.

At present mobile devices dominate the total minutes spent online – and some corporations in Azerbaijan completely neglect this fact. The majority of businesses are set up and managed in a very traditional way, which makes them quite vulnerable or not competitive enough to go beyond Azerbaijan at this age.


Well, of course, the recent pandemic caused many businesses to rethink their sales channel strategies, customer attraction/retention strategies & utilizing the mass online presence of their customer segment. But this non-organic reaction to a destructive crisis will not be effective in the long run: once the curves flatten, more changes will have to be made.

What makes today’s digital transformation significant is the extreme importance of data! It’s not just big batches of data but real-time data. Data about your consumers, about your competition, about your supply chain and markets. Having this data and knowing how to use it pulls your critical business decisions out of the shadows of opinion and guesswork and brings intelligent options into the light.According to a 2019 Forrester report, 74% of executives say that they have a digital transformation strategy. But only 15% believe that their company has the skills and abilities to execute on that strategy.


You may find yourself overwhelmed with the amount of publications about digital transformation, however, there are very simple rules.


  1. Research your industry (not just locally): how businesses sell, buy, market, manage people, execute & communicate

  2. Find compatibility and adaptation features

  3. Invest in educating yourself and your team to have the necessary skillsets

  4. Right out a simple roll-out plan & execute

Let me give you an example of the 4th point. There are a bunch of frameworks to do that. However, one of my favorites is OKR.


What is an OKR?


I have read about this tool in the book called “Measure what matters” by John Doerr.


Objectives and key results (OKR) is a goal-setting framework that helps organizations define goals — or objectives — and then track the outcome. The framework is designed to help organizations establish far-reaching goals in days instead of months.


OKR has been around since the 1970s. The concept was created by Andy Grove, but popularized by John Doerr, who was one of the earliest investors in Google. OKR quickly became an important focus for Google, and companies such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Dropbox, Spotify, AirBnB and Uber have since followed suit. You may find further reading via the link below.

https://www.whatmatters.com/faqs/okr-meaning-definition-example/


If you follow four simple steps above, you will be far closer to the point you want to be than you are right now. Remember, “you can’t manage what you cannot measure.”


Do not hesitate to email me at rashad.mirzayev@atl.az if you want additional support to accelerate digital transformation at your organisation.


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