Terminology can be confusing – especially when used for dramatic effect. Digital Transformation is a case in point and is why Business Modernisation is preferred. Business Modernisation is less ambiguous and captures the essence of using digital technology within a business.
So what does it mean?
We all understand what a business is but what about modernisation in this context?
The current modern age is all about digital technology. Technology has really advanced in the last 20 years to deliver outcomes that were once part of fiction. Depending on your generation, think Dick Tracy, Get Smart or Batman. Advances in digital and mobile technology have delivered.
But what’s happening now is most easily described by thinking Star Trek or Avengers (Ironman specifically). The world and business are currently experiencing similar disruption to that created in the early decades of the industrial revolution.
This time the main difference and opportunities are:
- The disruption will be faster and wider; what we think today is fiction will be a reality in the next few decades.
- Being proactive and specific; modernising strategically to suit your business and not be made obsolete by changing customer expectations and more responsive competitors.
Technology is neither the solution nor the problem.
All companies face the same business modernisation challenges. In every case, technology will only help if implemented within your specific business context – to solve your unique business problems.
Business modernisation is about keeping pace with digital technology and using it to solve business problems so you can delight customers. It involves making changes to solve problems or create new capabilities. Because of this, it impacts:
- processes (business workflows),
- roles (business organisation structure), and
- attitudes (business culture).
It doesn’t matter your line of business, modernisation is critical to staying relevant and effective. There’s plenty of news about new startup companies that have begun operating and caused serious pressure to existing businesses because of how they use digital technologies to better serve customers.
It’s no wonder that business owners and managers need to take action and execute a modernisation strategy.
Modernisation covers a broad range of topics that includes, and starts with, your business software and collection of data you can trust and use. If data is the new oil in the digital age then getting this built into your business is a critical first step.
Researchers agree that business modernisation needs a staged approach and takes time to bed down before continuous improvements are applied.
Business modernisation is not something you can buy as a plug and play package.
The tactics used to modernise your business must line up with what you want to achieve in both the long and short term. Tactics depend on your strategies and these must support long term business objectives. That’s why selecting business modernisation strategy and tactics starts with having a clear understanding of where you want to be in 5 or even 10 years.
Business modernisation is not a one-shot silver bullet.
It involves identifying core problems, coordinating with technology providers to deliver solutions, guide effective change, and guide implementation by your team. It is cyclical and continuous.
In all cases, the first step involves establishing defined and consistently executed business processes. The business becomes more efficient in delivering goods and services, they start collecting data they can trust to provide dashboards and analytics that are easily available across the organisation in real-time.
This lets a business operate using accurate forecast as opposed to period-end reporting which is like trying to drive a car forward while looking in the rearview mirror.
Not all businesses are modernising.
Some business sectors are more progressive or have already felt the pain of not modernising soon enough. Research and media articles suggest these are financial services, banking and retail. The same research suggests that technical services, engineering and infrastructure are lagging.
This is both ominous and encouraging, for businesses in the Hunter region.
Modus Consulting is the Hunter’s leading independent business modernisation adviser. Our focus has been based on experience across a broad range of industries including heavy manufacturing, mineral and coal processing, rail, food, engineering services, hydraulics, and product sales and service. It turns out healthcare and financial businesses are just as interested.
This focus and local focus has allowed business leaders to learn about and share examples of business modernisation successes and lessons learnt. Business leaders are also learning how to successfully implement business modernisation in their organisation.
Fundamental to this success is the understanding that people are at the core of business modernisation, staff learn new skills and new ways of thinking, the business culture evolves and data is used in real-time by staff to deliver the level of experience customers now want and expect.
The most sophisticated technology is no use if staff and teams can’t or won’t work with it. The benefits and value of business modernisation depends on the ability and willingness of all staff to use it.
Hunter businesses know that progress is best made when you stick to your expertise and collaborate with other experts to get the job done. Research suggests that many managers believe all they need to do to modernise their business is to hire more IT experts. Maybe that’s why demand, and salary, is booming for these roles.
To modernise your business to make effective use of digital technologies you need a specific type of advice and support for your team. An experienced business moderniser will support managers to identify core problems, coordinate technology providers to define solution options, deliver your preferred solutions, and guide effective change and implementation with staff. The reality is that they are hard to find.
Bottom line, improving how you use or introduce any new kind of technology is not simple, easy or quick. It involves changing habits, being practical and adapting the way you, and your teams, work. Trying on your own using pilot projects can burn lots of time, energy and cash. Even top gun needed a wingman; and so might you.
Modus Consulting are pleased to continue partnering with Hunter-based businesses to define relevant modernisation strategies and to support their teams from assessment, through designing/formulating a solution plan, to successful implementation. Use the contact us form if you would like to understand how we could do the same with your business.