Driving Operational Excellence Through Digital Transformation


As a result of COVID-19, digital transformation has accelerated rapidly over the past year. It has become a core component for businesses in their efforts towards innovation, growth and genuine business value. As organisations become more reliant on technology, measuring and ensuring that they are receiving maximum returns on their investment is essential – particularly within the supply chain. In order to drive operational excellence, businesses must ask themselves what digital transformation really means and looks like, and how they can measure its progression.


A world of change

 The world around us is changing. According to a leading global consultancy, since the start of the pandemic, global adoption of technology has sped up the world’s digital capabilities by as many as seven years. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of investing in digital transformation. This is not only in order to survive, but to use it as a catalyst for future sustainability and long term success. Businesses are smarter, more intelligent and more digitally connected.

Of course, this only increases the competitive nature of business. Before, digital transformation offered businesses a competitive edge. However, as the world becomes increasingly digital, organisations now find themselves needing to invest in digital transformation to avoid being left behind.

In an environment where everyone is enhancing their digital capabilities, the challenge for businesses is not only about ensuring that they are keeping up with the competition, but still creating a competitive advantage whilst doing so. The answer lies in accurately measuring and benchmarking progress, maximising the opportunity for growth and improvement, as well as delivering business value.


Meeting the challenge

Digital transformation isn’t a simple success or failure, it isn’t a one off project. It is a journey – and one that you have to invest in for the long haul for it to really make a difference. In order for a business to survive and meet ever-changing customer and societal demands, it needs to constantly innovate throughout the entire supply chain.

The question is, how? Many organisations face a number of barriers when embarking on their digital journey. They know they need to improve processes – become more efficient and cost effective – but they might not know specifically what they need to invest in. With that said, these businesses are embracing the challenge, and are keen to find the right solutions.

Often, digital transformation is viewed as exclusively technology focused. But the key is to consider the bigger picture and invest in a portfolio of business-wide initiatives. Businesses should find a balance of core processes and people, as well as technology. Taking a holistic approach to digital transformation allows organisations to really see the true value of their efforts. They can better assess their performance and understand what areas need improving and when.


The dimensions of digital transformation

Digital transformation should drive value across the entire business. In fact, there are six specific dimensions that organisations need to consider throughout their entire digital journey. Advancing each of these individually allows the entire company to progress as a whole – creating the best possible customer experience and providing optimal business value.

The six dimensions are as follows:

Customer. Every decision a business makes is with the customer in mind. The customer dimension is designed to make things better, faster, cheaper. Most importantly, decisions need to be relevant to the customer. Prioritise their experiences and they will continue to return.

Operations. This considers end-to-end processes and the ability to integrate value chains. Businesses will be able to cut out all inefficiencies and delays.

Innovation. Developing new products, services, business models and leveraging digital capabilities allows an organisation to outcompete the industry. The innovation dimension enables businesses to execute the best ideas, expand ecosystem reach, and create a culture of experimentation.

People. A company needs to invest in its stakeholders. Changing the mind-set and adopting a digital-first culture will be the gateway to reaching success. This dimension helps businesses to create an employer brand and shift the way of working to revolutionise the workplace.

 Governance. This dimension refers to leading, governing and steering the company in the right direction. Making use of real-time data in exclusive dashboards will significantly boost a company’s progression. It will better allow businesses to optimise financials and monitor performance more closely. Governance also helps to align and lead teams along the digital journey.

Technology. This involves advancing and integrating applications, infrastructure and data usage to create resilient and efficient operations. Organisations should deploy the best applications – running a resilient and robust infrastructure, providing the highest quality of data and tools.

 These dimensions require equal attention and investment. Digital Transformation is a team sport. One must be excellent in all dimensions to be successful.


Measuring digital maturity

 The six dimensions of digital transformation provide a methodology. By following this methodology, businesses can begin to make progress. However, it is just as important to regularly measure and benchmark this progress. By doing so, businesses can create a competitive advantage.

By regularly measuring progress, the organisation can see the bigger picture. It will understand where it is excelling, as well as which areas need more focus. The entire business can continue to head in the right direction, getting closer to digital maturity by the day.

A digital journey is similar to a fitness journey. The transformation – implementing processes that address the six dimensions – is much like your workout routine. Measuring digital maturity is the fitness app that tracks your heart-rate and calories burned. The eventual outcome is wellness, and in a corporate context, business success.


Creating future sustainability

Being committed to a digital journey and investing in the right approach will be the gateway to growth. It will help businesses to compete in the ‘better normal’.

If organisations invest in measuring and benchmarking their digital maturity, they will be more connected, more efficient, more flexible and more optimised. Businesses will be able to fulfil their long term vision. Digital transformation will result in fundamental changes to how organisations operate, achieve success and drive genuine business value.