ManufacturingJanuary 19, 2022

Digital Transformation: Continuing the Journey from Here

Digital transformation can mean many things, from innovative technologies that improve efficiency…
Avatar Shelly Kramer

Digital transformation can mean many things, from innovative technologies that improve efficiency and productivity in the workplace, to educating and reskilling current workers while also building the workforce for the future. Most companies would agree that both their definition of digital transformation — and their journey as a whole — were completely upended by the pandemic. In fact, according to our 2020 Digital Transformation Index, 67% of organizations had to shift their entire operating model. In many instances, organizations have experienced a decade’s worth of change crammed into the span of just a couple of years. While change can be disruptive, it’s also promising — and it’s only the beginning. Continuing a digital transformation journey to further evolve and grow as an organization is just as critical as the initial change. But often many organizations don’t know where to start.

My team and I here at Futurum Research are in the digital transformation business. We not only cover the technology landscape as it relates to organizations’ digital transformation journeys and the technologies that fuel those journeys we are also practitioners — analysts who have real-world experience assisting clients embrace and navigate transformation.  Here are some suggestions to consider as in your digital transformation journey.

Customer Experience is Everything

In the last few years, customer experience has catapulted to the forefront of most conversations about digital transformation. Organizations have realized that data is the lifeblood of any organization, and data and analytics solutions, customer data platforms, along with technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), to name just a few, have made it easier for organizations to create 360-degree customer profiles that enable personalized omni-channel experiences. And as more customers have outstanding experiences, the more they come to expect them from all organizations — whether in the B2C or B2B space. According to our Experience 2030: The Acceleration of Digital Engagement, Personalization and Trust, 83% of companies are rethinking what it means to deliver superior customer experiences — they understand that customer experience is at the heart of business success and are focused on building a customer-centric culture.

This is promising and shows that there is a lot of opportunity for growth. Moving forward, more personalized customer experiences will require integrated technology solutions and collaboration throughout an organization and its ecosystem. As organizations rethink their operating models, customer experiences and the technologies required to meet expectations need to be top of mind.

Focus on Agility

One of the most important digital transformation initiatives we have seen organizations embrace as we continue to navigate the nuances of a global pandemic is not a new technology — it’s a renewed commitment to internal optimization. According to the IBM Institute for Business Value, following the uncertainty of the past two years, most companies are moving from big goals like expanding market share, to internal goals like improved agility and digital transformation. And that agility covers everything from people and technology to relationships. And while it can feel daunting to try and improve agility to drive digital transformation, there are technologies available to help with this. Tools like digital twins, for instance, can help model and optimize everything from product development to supply chain management. By integrating front-end and back-end automation, companies can get better, more consistent insights into customer behavior and sales performance. By moving to the cloud, employees will have more flexibility in working remotely or coming into the office, improving their overall satisfaction. The tools are there. It’s time to take a strategic look at the needs of your company and use them.

Put People First

In perhaps one of the greatest surprises of the pandemic, the relationship between employee and employer seems to have flipped. Indeed, with so many workers leaving jobs as part of what’s being called “the Great Resignation,” employees, and their experiences are a critical piece of the digital transformation conversation. In fact, employee and customer experience are two of MIT’s top four business imperatives post-pandemic. Organizations need to prioritize the employee experience. Whether it’s new ways to keep employees engaged and connected, flexible work arrangements, or better technology solutions to help avoid burnout, putting employees first should be a top priority moving forward.

Revisit as Needed

If we’ve learned one thing in the last two years, it’s the importance of being able to adapt to changes. The strategies laid out here are a great place to start when thinking about continuing digital transformation, but this is not where the conversation ends. No two digital transformations will be alike and what might work for one company won’t work for another. Every organization will need to test technologies and strategies, figure out what’s working and what’s not, and adapt as needed.

Digital transformation is a process. Creating a plan and evolving as necessary is the most intelligent place to start. If you’d like to learn more about continuing your digital transformation journey, be sure to check out my conversation with industry thought leaders, “Digital Transformation: Where do we go from here?” which was part of the Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE Dialogues in late 2021.  Our session featured the following speakers:

  • Isaac Sacolick, Influencer, Author of Driving Digital
  • Travis Hessman, Group Editorial Director, Endeavor Media Group and Editor-in-Chief, IndustryWeek
  • Shawn Ehrstein, Director, Emerging Technologies & CAD/CAM, National Institute for Aviation Research, Wichita State University
  • Garrett Thurston, Industry Solution Experience Director, Dassault Systèmes

I hope you’ll get a chance to check out the replay, now available on demand HERE.

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