Digital Acceleration

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Digital Acceleration and Transformation

After years of advocating for digital transformation, tech experts have now started to realize that the pace at which that process takes place isn’t fast enough to meet new market and customer demands. Migrating non-digital and manual processes to digital platforms remains the main goal but it’s become abundantly clear that such a journey can’t take years to be finished. That’s why businesses are accelerating their tech adoption and their workflow adaptation. That’s why we say we’re already living in the digital acceleration age.

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What Is Digital Acceleration and Why It Matters

A lot of people see digital acceleration as a faster digital transformation. And while there is some truth to that perspective, reality shows that digital acceleration isn’t just about the speed at which a business updates old processes and adopts new technologies. Digital acceleration is also about taking a new approach to the adoption process itself. 

To avoid that confusion, it’s important to define what we understand by digital transformation, digital acceleration, and digital adoption, another term that’s often misleading.

So, What Is Digital Acceleration?

Similar to the digital transformation process, digital acceleration also implies updating outdated processes through digital technologies. It differs from it, though, in that digital acceleration does that migration at a faster pace and through a data-driven approach. Thus, digital acceleration decouples the digital business transformation from the core IT transformation. 

By using readily-available resources (especially cloud-based services), a company can easily accelerate its business transformation and become a data-driven company. This increases the overall speed at which the business can answer to new challenges, all while the core IT transformation simultaneously takes place at its own pace. 

As such, digital acceleration appears as the best strategic answer to new demands and the continuous shifts of today’s business markets. That’s because digital acceleration provides the necessary agility and the proper tools at the earliest possible time. Thus, embarking on a digital acceleration process means better preparing for the increasingly digital world. Other important reasons why digital acceleration is paramount include:

  • Increased Profits

    A successful digital acceleration process provides many benefits, including increased agility, a productivity boost, more efficient operations, and improved management. All of those lead to a more robust and competent company which ultimately translates into higher profits.

  • Digital Acceleration 1

    New customer-related opportunities

    Implementing technologies can provide new business opportunities in different areas. First, it can help the company better understand its customers which can lead to more effective marketing campaigns and more satisfying customer experiences. Then, it can provide new channels for customers to engage. And finally, technology can open up new markets, be them new target audiences or new geographic locations.

  • Digital Acceleration 2

    New working model

    The adoption of new technologies led to the emergence of remote work as a new working paradigm. While some years ago, working from home was reserved for a few key positions in specific industries, today it’s a viable model for many companies. Thus, digital acceleration enables companies to fully embrace remote work which, in turn, allows them to hire the talent they need from anywhere in the world.

How We Accelerate at Bairesdev

Today’s landscape is filled with disruptions and challenges, which makes it even harder to undergo a successful digital acceleration process. That’s because digital acceleration has to quickly implement new technologies and practices without compromising quality and always accounting for future scalability. Such an unstable context calls for a roadmap that allows to strategically navigate an ever-changing landscape.

That’s why BairesDev has developed a comprehensive roadmap that contemplates the following phases. 

Assessment

Before setting off on a digital acceleration journey, it’s imperative that companies analyze where they are and plan where they want to go in full detail. BairesDev encourages businesses to take a look at their current digital capabilities, workflows, needs, and objectives. Each of those items has numerous aspects to analyze, including:

  • Digital skills of the workforce
  • Existing IT infrastructure
  • Business processes and practices across every department and area
1

Planning

After assessing their current capabilities, companies are ready to create an actual plan to guide the digital acceleration process. At BairesDev, we know that the plan can quickly become massive and overwhelming, which is why we recommend businesses to focus on several key aspects:

  • Definition of key goals
  • Definition of metrics to measure the success of the process
  • Role definition for everyone in the team regarding digital acceleration
  • Creation of a timeline to organize the process

Being detailed in each one of those points can result in a comprehensive plan that should be distributed to the entire company. Thus, everyone knows what to expect regarding the process, which ultimately reduces friction when moving forward.

2

Pivoting

After everyone is aware of the plan, the time will come to act on it. How companies tackle this stage will largely depend on the scope and complexity of the plan itself. However, having collaborated with countless digital acceleration processes, the BairesDev team knows that there are actions that are common to all kind of plans:

  • Preparation of the workforce for the changes ahead through informative sessions
  • Training of key roles in the new tools and practices
  • Step-by-step implementation of the plan, changing one team at a time to keep control
3

Monitoring

As it happens with any plan (and especially with those that imply numerous changes), there will be issues and friction throughout its implementation. That’s why we suggest companies monitor the entire process closely so they can jump in at a moment’s notice whenever something goes wrong or the process hits a roadblock. Ways to do so include:

  • Constant feedback collection from employees and customers
  • Close monitoring of data and analytics, even in real-time
  • Ongoing measurement of performance against predefined metrics
  • Course-correction whenever needed
4

Review

Though digital acceleration processes are never truly done, companies have to review the process at some point. That often happens when they end implementing the technologies and practices outlined in the initial plan. This is possible through several actions, including the ones we suggest below:

  • Assessment of objectives achieved and failed
  • Qualitative and quantitative analysis of the effectiveness of the process
  • Final round-up and documentation of lessons learned
5

The Pandemic Was the Great Accelerator - for You and Your Competitors

Companies have always turned to digital transformation to fulfill their business needs and their customers’ demands. Yet, being that adopting new technologies is always a challenging task, they often did so with extreme caution. The fear that customers or employees wouldn’t be able to adapt to the changes was the main obstacle. In the end, digital transformation processes took a long time to show results.

But things changed drastically after the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Companies quickly dropped that hesitation and started embracing digital solutions at a fast rate. The crisis threw down all resistance out of necessity. Thus, companies are now adopting new digital technologies at the fastest pace we’ve ever seen. They are now developing data-driven solutions combined with AI-powered algorithms and cloud-based platforms. The objective is simple – to accompany the shifting needs and wants of customers and markets.

As some experts are rightly pointing out, all of that is just the beginning. Organizations are now aware of the huge benefits that come with investing in digital solutions. That’s why we can safely say that the pandemic was “the great accelerator” – a disruption so significant that made all companies realize that it was high time for digital acceleration processes. The important thing is that such a phenomenon applies to everyone, regardless of business size or industry. This is why you need to start investing in digital acceleration because, if you don’t, your competitors will surely do and will start leaving you behind. 

A survey by KPMG revealed the following insights from US CEOs, regarding the effect of the pandemic on digital transformation. These percentages of people agreed on the idea that progress has accelerated by a matter of years in the following fields:  

1 %

The digitization of operations and the creation of a next-generation operating model.

1 %

The creation of new digital business models and revenue streams.

1 %

The creation of a seamless digital customer experience driven by innovation.

1 %

The creation of a new workforce model driven by augmentation and automation.

Top Challenges with Digital Acceleration

Shifting from a more traditional way of doing business to a digital acceleration approach requires overcoming a set of challenges. Depending on who you are, what you do, and what you’ve done in the past, you’ll have to deal with some or all of these challenges:

  • Issues with making tech-related decisions
  • Lack of knowledge and insight into potential future scenarios
  • Limited to no resources and/or skills available 
  • Lack of capital to tackle a digital acceleration process
  • Scalability and legacy software issues

BairesDev can help you tackle these and other digital acceleration challenges. We can aid you in building your digital solutions, preparing a strategy for digital acceleration, and providing you with the tech talent you need to jumpstart your digital projects.

According to the same study by KPMG mentioned above, US CEOs believe these are the top challenges with digital acceleration:

Difficulty making quick technology-related decisions

31%

Lack of insight into future operational scenarios

22%

Lack of skills and capability in IT organization

17%

Lack of capital to accelerate progress

11%

Challenges in moving from pilots and experiments to scaled deployment

10%

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some FAQs on Digital Acceleration

A digital accelerator is any phenomenon, technology, or methodology that enables quick shifts towards a digital-first approach for doing business. For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic is a great example of a digital accelerator, as its related disruptions forced businesses everywhere to change the pace of their digital adoption to meet the challenges and demands of the crisis.

New core applications, changes in corporate culture, and even available talent can all be digital accelerators, as all of them make it easier to adopt new technologies and adopt a more agile and digital-first strategy. 

Accelerating a digital transformation isn’t just about implementing technology at a faster pace. There have to be several organizational and strategic changes for the process to become a true digital acceleration. There are plenty of shifts to be made and every company will have its own specifics but there are 5 keys that work for virtually every business:

  • Data has to be at the center of decision-making. For that, companies need to embrace data science tools and practices that allow them to get relevant insights almost in real-time to inform each and every one of their actions, from the mundane to the ones that affect the business at large.

  • Data science efforts have to focus on the customer journey. The rhythm of today’s markets goes hand-in-hand with what the customers want. Since people’s wants are fleeting and ever-changing, businesses need to develop a customer-centric approach to doing business that allows them to pivot to take advantage of new opportunities. 

  • Investments have to be aligned with business objectives. Companies need to decide which technologies to adopt according to the bigger picture. Thus, they have to implement tools and platforms that can provide value in the short, mid, and long terms, and not because they are “nice to have” or because “everyone else has them.” 

  • The change in pace first needs to happen in practice rather than in infrastructure. Modernizing outdated or mainly-manual processes can take a lot of time that companies can’t afford to lose right now. While doing those changes to the core IT infrastructure is mandatory, businesses can leverage readily available tools (especially cloud-based) to quickly take advantage of new technologies.

  • Everyone in the company needs to be on board with the digital acceleration process. There has to be a culture of transformation and innovation across the business. Thus, executives and managers have to foster spaces for innovation and workforce training, thus better-preparing employees for the changes ahead.

While some people would be quick to answer that “digital” in “digital transformation” refers to the digital tools and platforms a company should adopt to modernize itself, there’s much more to it than that. Aside from the software and the technologies, digital also refers to a mindset, a way of understanding how a business should operate today.

That new mindset covers several things but the most important one is that a modern company has to be digitally and data-driven. This means that technologies should power new ways of approaching the same business tasks to increase productivity, performance, and efficiency. In this context, digital also means increasing agility that provides companies with enough flexibility to adapt to new challenges and changing environments.

Though there isn’t a consensus on how to name the 4 main areas of digital transformation, there are certain things in common in virtually all definitions. That’s why, at BairesDev, we follow the definitions as explained by Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, that says that digital transformation should focus on doing the following things:

  • Empowering employees. There isn’t a transformation possible without the skills of employees. Providing the workforce with the right tools and expertise is the cornerstone of any successful digital acceleration process.
  • Engaging customers. Customers dictate the pace of the markets, which is why businesses have to be always ready to meet their demands. That means companies need to implement the technologies and processes people have come to expect from businesses to provide a pleasant customer experience. 
  • Optimizing operations. Reimagining the company’s workflow to leverage the benefits of technology is a must of digital transformation. Removing roadblocks, preventing bottlenecks, dissolving data silos, and increasing collaboration while boosting productivity are all parts of digital acceleration. 
  • Innovating services and products. Technology allows companies to reinvent their products and services by adding new features, sophisticating their offerings, or even changing them altogether. As innovation is capital to digital transformation, companies need to put it to work to enhance their products and capture more revenue. 

A traditional digital transformation process can take years to be finished. During that time, companies slowly embrace key technologies, training their employees, and easing-in their clients into the new digital offerings. Doing that can lead to the business’ entire modernization but, unfortunately, it takes a lot of time.

People have come to expect a certain level of digitization from the companies they engage with, and they won’t wait too long to get it. That’s why companies need to accelerate their digital transformation processes. They don’t have time to play it super safe, because competitors are facing the same challenges and will likely ramp up their digital efforts. Additionally, the potential emergence of a disruptive startup could jeopardize incumbent businesses in any industry, given them an extra push to quickly modernize themselves.

Customers and markets’ pressure aside, there are also the many benefits in the short, mid, and long terms that a digital acceleration process can bring, from a boost in productivity to the possibility of identifying new business opportunities.

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