Sunday, April 12, 2020

The Competitive Differentiators of Digital Organization

Differentiation is not the end game, value creation, and forward vision are.

Digital transformation represents a break from the past, with a high level of impact and complexity. Organizations today face overwhelming growth of information, continuous disruptions often driven by technology and fierce competition. It takes strategic differentiation which is one of the many strategic options in generic business strategies available to overcome challenges.

The potential competitive differentiator cannot be created without proactive planning, dedicated implementing, and deliberate orchestrating

Having one of the most invaluable business assets - information and a powerful Information Management System: Information is the lifeblood of the digital organization. Real-time information is important for responding to changes and empowering the organizations with critical business insight in ways never possible before to build a competitive advantage. In fact, the competitive differentiation provided by information technology usually is more long-lived than differentiation provided by marketing efforts that can be copied easily.

A powerful Information Management System ensures that accurate information is accessible and shared within relevant business units with accuracy, consistency, synchronicity, as well as make the continuous harmonization of information over time. It enables organizations to see the future clearly; re-imagine business growth, enhance enterprise competency, and innovate products/services to further elevate digital business maturity.

Having the broadest, deepest knowledge across the industry and the business ecosystem: Organizations become over-complex and interdependent, knowledge is power, the power of knowledge can be released only when it’s used to create value. Part of taking knowledge seriously as a corporate asset involves assigning responsibility for knowledge within the organization, maintaining and improving knowledge flow and ensuring knowledge coherence. You need to not only assimilate the existing knowledge, but you also have to keep updating knowledge, create new knowledge and become the knowledge value creator to benefit your organization.

To improve knowledge management effectiveness, more attention needs to be placed on the conditions that allow knowledge to flow and generate business value rather than try to control it; it requires an extraordinary Knowledge Management research, recording, or retrieval capability. The ecosystem partners need to communicate, participate, negotiate, and cooperate with each other to keep knowledge flow and reinvent a super-conscious business.

Having absolutely the best and well-trained people with high skills and professional competency: To compete, businesses rely so much on their people assets or human capital. As our society has progressed from agricultural to industrial to the digital-techno-logical world, the masses of workers have progressed from being farmers, then factory workers to being knowledge workers who have specialized knowledge in order to perform their jobs with their brainpower. It requires an extraordinary talent management approach with recruitment, training, and retaining capability.

The true value of people, especially today’s knowledge workforce includes many tangible and intangible factors. It’s important to build digital workforce competency via development, enhancement, and coaching, etc. Today’s digital professionals are innovative workers, hard workers, knowledge workers, and intelligent workers. Talent managers need to capture both the individual's and the organizational needs, develop their people and set the scene for a process to achieve organizational goals at a technical, behavioral and attitudinal level.

Having the most innovative products, services and solutions: Innovation is not only externally oriented (relative to markets, customers, etc.) but can also be focused on the operations side within a firm as well as industry structure. Innovation involves new ways of bringing together ideas and resources to create something novel. The highly innovative organizations across sectors depend heavily on their technological knowledge and market capabilities to develop and commercialize innovation.

Innovation, as an individual process or collective process, helps us adapt, improve, grow and integrate. Although there is no one size fits all scenario to innovate, lots of tools are available to help us think differently, assess problems and come to solutions in novel ways. A disruptive product over time weakens as it moves towards the eventual commodity status. Companies have to keep searching for new opportunities to disrupt, rather than being disrupted. Structural innovation management requires laying out different thought processes, structures, or cultures for bringing ideas into full fruity.

Having customer engagement management capability which strengthens and binds the ties between the company and the customers: Assuming the company has a great product/service, creating meaningful, relevant, and compelling differentiation in the mind of customers is the challenge. From a customer perspective, if you are not different, you are a commodity. Customer expectations are based on the experience or reputation of delivering a specific capability as perceived by that customer's expectations.

People should be the center of innovation. The “Voice of the Customer" is a very important factor that you do research into what the customer really wants. The creation of "value" is always contextual depending on the situation the customer finds themselves in, personal - what the customer expects from the product or service, and intangible - culture. One of the critical issues is to focus on end-user need gaps even by looking beyond your current products/services categories. It requires re-thinking the way ‘engagements are managed’ so that customers are more willing to share insights, and develop customer-centric innovation competency.

Differentiation is not the end game, value creation, and forward vision are. A strategically competent organization has a deliberately close alignment among the company’s strategic direction and most distinctive capabilities, to create synergies in mobilizing change and driving digital transformation. So the end game is to maximize the multidimensional value of the company over the short, medium or long term, and make the vision rolling into reality.


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