Digital transformation was a priority even before COVID-19 redrew the business landscape, but now the digital imperative is taking us to bold and exciting places – and faster than we could have imagined. Businesses are turning to digital solutions to empower remote workforces, provide customers with better service, and create immersive experiences that would have seemed challenging just months ago. In this uncertain climate, digital transformation is the ticket to increased visibility, resiliency, and agility. It is the key to navigating the New Normal.
But how can businesses just starting on their digital transformation strategy reach their full potential? How can they become authors of their own digital transformation story, so that they can write a happy ending?
Salesforce CIO Simon Mulcahy has a few ideas, which he shared recently in a keystone speech for Salesforce Live: Benelux. Here are some of the highlights.
As Chief Innovation Officer for Salesforce, Simon Mulcahy is on a mission to use forward-thinking solutions to put the customer first. Customer success and innovation are core values of Salesforce, and they’re cornerstones of good business in the current climate. This is the age of the connected customer, after all, and organisations that aren’t putting the customer at the heart of their business risk losing them to companies that are. And when it comes to turbocharging technology to better reach those consumers, the numbers tell the story of our age:
Companies that bet on innovation are the companies that are pulling away from the pack. And when companies use that innovative mindset to perfect the customer journey, everybody wins. As Simon Mulcahy says, “Your success will be shaped by customers if you listen to them.”
Some industries have struggled with the challenges of the crisis, while others have thrived. But as Mulcahy explains, “Industry is not destiny.” There are winners and losers in every sector, but the businesses at the top are the ones that can act quickly to control their own outcomes.
It’s also become clear that the companies that have been best prepared to pivot and adapt are the businesses that are the most digitally mature. There’s a chasm between the technology ‘haves’ and the technology ‘have nots’ that are increasingly shaping the new landscape. The crisis has only further widened this gap. As Simon Mulcahy says, “We have seen a performance gap open up between those who are leaning into digital and those who are waiting for the old normal to return”.
The crisis changed many things permanently, including customer expectations, the role of technology, and ways of shopping and working. So businesses that aren’t proactively adapting to these changes by creating a digital transformation strategy will struggle to keep up. Following the examples of Trailblazers and thought-leaders will help companies Lead Through Change in the New Normal.
Changing technologies is the first step; changing people and mindsets is the next. The crisis revealed that when it comes to tackling digital transformation, there are 3 mindsets that businesses fall into. Here are the traits of each:
Businesses that have a renovate mindset have been badly affected by the crisis, and some haven’t made it through. For these companies, a digital transformation strategy should be adopted as fast as possible.
Businesses that have developed a transcend mindset are prepared for growth and are the ones that will thrive during challenging times.
Businesses that have an ‘evolve mindset’ are recovering from the crisis and have a bright outlook for the future.
Getting out of the renovate mindset is crucial, and Simon Mulcahy suggests that businesses follow what he calls “The Five Transformation Disciplines” in order to achieve a successful business transformation.
1. Make decisions: Transformation starts with data, and companies need to capture customer data and leverage it to make smarter decisions.
2. Engage Customers: Re-imagine your business to be customer-centric. Unleashing the power of digitalisation on old processes doesn’t work —the processes have to be redesigned with the customer in mind. The goal should be to streamline key customer touchpoints to increase speed and reduce effort.
3. Engage employees: Break down silos, empower employees with the right tools, and enable collaboration around a single source of truth. The workforce needs to have the right skills to tackle new challenges, and providing access to learning and development platforms will help prepare them for transformation.
4. Become digital-first: In the near future, every company will be a digital company. Businesses need to shift from IT departments to enterprise platforms that can absorb the latest technologies. Datasets, processes and apps should be shared across the company, and data needs to be integrated to provide a single source of truth. Technology vendors should be looked at as partners rather than just suppliers.
5. Serve society: Salesforce believes that business is a powerful platform for change. Having strong leadership, measurement and reporting in place is important, especially in tumultuous times. Support your employees by providing them with programmes that empower them to act.
The digital imperative is here, and having a forward-thinking digital transformation strategy is essential for navigating the current climate. Simon Mulcahy has provided businesses with some great places to start — but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Mulcahy’s insights on the subject.
To see more from Simon Mulcahy — including how companies can use innovation to outperform peers in the recovery stage of the crisis — check out his keystone speech and other valuable content from the Salesforce Live: Benelux on-demand video!