Surviving the Three Ages of Digital Transformation

When digital laggards finally recognize the degree of market disruption being caused by the rapid adoption of digital technologies, and desperately try to outrun the inescapable Darwinian effect of their slow response, they will be faced with not one, but three ages of digital transformation to navigate and survive.  Understanding these ages, and what is unique about each one, is critical for business strategy, prioritizing, planning, sequencing and budgeting. 

Today, we live and work in the Age of Disruptive Transformation.  Traditional methods of conducting business, marketing products, delivering services, and engaging customers are being dramatically disrupted by digital technologies.  These disruptions are caused by the rapid consumer adoption of a new set of new digital and mobile technologies.  Enterprises that fail to recognize these consumer and market disruptions, and fail to rapidly respond to them, will ultimately join a long list of companies, with familiar brands, that have filed for bankruptcy as a result of their inability to transform at the speed consumers are adopting new digital technologies and behaviors. 

The Age of Hyper-Transformation will take place between the years 2016 and 2020. During this age the gap between digital laggards and leaders will quickly widen into a chasm nearly impossible to leap. 

Often new technology innovations emerge quietly, are misunderstood, and mature into something completely unexpected.  VCs and angel investors start to pay attention, swarm and circle these new categories of technologies and start-ups.  Once these digital technologies take root and begin disrupting traditional businesses, the velocity of their impact on businesses accelerates across the globe faster than enterprises can respond.   

We are in the Age of Hyper-Transformation today, and we are already seeing the consequences on companies not able to react fast enough.  These companies were blinded to early market and consumer signals, and failed to recognize market disruption until too late.  These competitive oversights will be amplified during the Age of Hyper-Transformation and cause many leading companies to stumble.

The Age of Ubiquitous Transformation completes the series covering the years 2020-2025.  The rate of accelerating business impact slows as digital technologies mature, business adoptions widen and become ubiquitous, and the new digital normal arrives.  Robotic process automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning support the real-time digital enterprise, constantly monitoring and adjusting the business and alerting to changes in the rapidly changing competitive landscape. 

The survivors of the two earlier ages of digital transformation will have adjusted their business models, sales and marketing, and supply chains to be agile, real-time, lean, all sensing and responsive to emerging technology and consumer trends. The new digital normal will embrace constant change and perpetual migration in symbiotic pace with the evolving digital consumer.

  1. From Digital to Hyper-Transformation
  2. Believers, Non-Believers and Digital Transformation
  3. Forces Driving the Digital Transformation Era
  4. Digital Transformation Requires Agility and Energy Measurement
  5. A Doctrine for Digital Transformation is Required
  6. The Advantages of Advantage in Digital Transformation
  7. Digital Transformation and Its Role in Mobility and Competition
  8. Digital Transformation - A Revolution in Precision Through IoT, Analytics and Mobility
  9. Competing in Digital Transformation and Mobility
  10. Ambiguity and Digital Transformation
  11. Digital Transformation and Mobility - Macro-Forces and Timing
  12. Mobile and IoT Technologies are Inside the Curve of Human Time

Mobile Expert Interviews: Kony Solution's Carlos Carvajal

This year at SAP's SAPPHIRENOW 2016 users conference I had the opportunity to interview many different SAP executives, mobile and digital technologies experts. In this interview with Kony Solutions' SVP of Product Marketing, Carlos Carvajal, he gives us an update on what he is seeing in the enterprise and consumer mobility market and how they are supporting these changes.


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Digital is Human, Human is Data and Data is the Foundation of Trust

“If you torture data long enough, it will confess to anything you’d like.” – Ronald Coase

The technologies that pervade our existence are transforming how we as consumers live, work and play. Our latest study, “The Business Value of Trust,” highlights that almost half of consumers we surveyed consider themselves “always connected”, and 77% view social media platforms as critical to maintaining social relationships. Such rampant connectivity has given rise to an age of personal data sharing (and over-sharing) and increased consumer expectations for mass personalization, with 58% of consumers surveyed saying they demand personalized products and services from companies.

Such contextually relevant experiences are impossible without data, and markets recognize this vital connection. The amalgam of data — our “virtual selves” — is becoming increasingly valuable to companies, many of which are now scrambling to provide the highly personalized experiences to which we have flocked in recent years. In fact, data is among the intangible assets constituting as much as 84% of the market value of companies listed on the S&P 500 index.

There is, however, a dark side to this business-technology shift that raises important technological, social and ethical considerations: What exactly is appropriate use of data? Is it appropriate for a health insurance provider to monitor clients’ fitness band data and use it to adjust their insurance premiums? Is it proper for a taxi service to charge a higher price for a passenger who’s headed to the airport because she tweeted that she was in a rush? All of these – and many more - are difficult, commercial questions. But at heart, they are ethical questions. According to Gartner, by 2018, half of business ethics violations will occur through improper use of big data analytics.

Don’t just keep my data; keep my trust. The propensity for consumers to expose much of their personal lives, and thus data, online has provided an abundance of publicly available personal information that could be exploited if ethics are compromised by companies; 65% of consumers we surveyed don’t know how or where their personal data is stored. Our study revealed that one of the biggest threats to companies today comes not from the competition, but from the ability to win and keep consumer trust. In an age when personal data is the key to honing a competitive edge, data ethics is at the heart of business success, as you and I will increasingly choose to work with Vendor A over Vendor B, if we trust Vendor A more.

So, how to make data ethics as your company’s biggest asset? In our view, we suggest:

Add human intelligence to existing analytics capabilities. We believe the future of analytics will lie in its intelligent ability to differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate use of data. Organizations need to develop an ethics framework (depending on the industry, data usage capabilities, etc.) and add it as a tool to the company’s current analytics solutions. The use of an embedded ethics monitoring mechanism, either via pre-built frameworks or use of a tool, would assist, guide or notify users if their machine/mining algorithms crossed the ethical line and take necessary steps to avoid unwanted situations.

Make data ethics a key performance indicator. Ethics must become a key performance indicator for every employee who has a direct or indirect connection with customer data. The starting point should be establishing onboard training for all new employees, and then initiating a company-wide program to help people understand the legal and business consequences of unethical data practices. Follow-up actions should include suggesting early interventions to avoid or mitigate risk, and reinforcing the goals and outcomes of the ethical framework.

Data ethics is the new battleground for digital success as there is no such thing as blind trust in today’s business world. Check out our new study findings to learn how to master the digital economy fundamentals of data ethics and consumer trust.