If you think that ‘going digital’ is only relevant to the telecoms, media and entertainment industries, then think again. Mobile devices, social media, analytics, sensors and cloud computing have already changed the business landscape as we knew it. Covid-19 has made having digital operations essential to remaining in business. Many companies in traditional industries – including yours – are applying digital techniques to drive customer value and gain strategic advantage, and this can be taken further.

Digital transformation is not simply about technology. It's about speed, agility and customer-centricity. True digital transformation requires new ways of thinking and a strategic mindset. It involves transforming the very focus of the organisation, to recognise that – as in real life - control, whether you like it or not not - sits with the customer.

This means a significant cultural change. Executives are no longer the real decision makers, rather they cause the creation of the framework within which a customer may buy. Employees are fully empowered to understand the ever-evolving customer demand and to act on how we can influence their purchase decision. Digital tooling, different ways of working and strong leadership are all necessary; corporate leaders must reimagine and reinvent the business itself.

The rules of business have changed. In every industry the spread of digital technologies and the rise of new disruptive threats are transforming business models and processes. No company, however successful, can stand still. Ways of working that have served well in the past will no longer serve us in the future. We used to be able to recognise our competitors; now asymetric challengers are delivering value in new ways to our market. Change happens whether you want it to or not: consumer demand, technology and competition all evolve.

There is no doubt that companies understand the importance of digital transformation, but our experience is that they struggle to turn their desire to change into a successful transformation journey.

Reality, and the empirical evidence shown by Westerman, Bonnet & McAfee in their book ‘Leading Digital’, suggests that anyone can buy new tools, but it is how these tools are used and how corporate ways of working are re-imagined which is the major determinant of success.