Digital transformation has been part of the business landscape for the past two decades. At first, software developers and technology companies created new and improved solutions for better efficiency, IT teams researched new technology findings and CIOs presented to the C-suite in hopes that the business would adopt them.
These “step function” investments offered the promise of rapid growth through new efficiencies and a more productive workforce. But the return on investment often didn’t live up to the hype. And too often businesses scrapped these expensive platforms altogether in favor of the next big thing.
Today, scaling isn’t about step function investments. Large platforms like ServiceNow reduce friction and provide a seamless environment where digitally enabled business models can scale quickly and easily. Cloud-enabled businesses are moving beyond digital transformation and beginning to think about business model transformation.
Here’s the thing. Digital transformation is a disruption that’s forcing businesses in every industry to think about how they make money. Digitization changes the way we work, operate and transact. And as the pendulum swung toward business model transformation, 2020 gave us the aha! moment. Old school businesses, operating on the premise that employees aren’t working unless their manager can see them sitting at their desk, saw an increase in productivity when people started to work remotely. Employees got time back in their lives for home, friends and family and the time away made them more productive when they were working. Today businesses know they can be productive and make money with a distributed workforce.
I don’t see us going back to the way things were in 2019. Most businesses are looking at hybrid models for employees moving forward. And they should. Employees demonstrated they can deliver on their commitments wherever they are. Going forward, they’ll choose opportunities with enterprises that allow that freedom. Remote 2.0 will be about working from everywhere. The office will become a tool of productivity and effectiveness. Digitized organizations will use technology to redesign the office as an employee-centric destination.
But digitization goes beyond improving the employee and customer experience. I can see businesses leveraging the connectedness of the cloud to see what lies ahead. Historically, businesses look at past data to predict future success. It’s the model taught in business schools. When the COVID pandemic upended the world, it reminded us that we can’t “steer by the wake.” We need to keep looking at the horizon too.
No business or research firm had data to tell us how to come out of a global pandemic. Suddenly we found ourselves in uncharted waters. But one thing was clear, companies already on the digital transformation journey had an advantage over traditional organizations. They could confidently pivot to remote work because the infrastructure was already there. Digitization also gives businesses in dying industries the flexibility to transform their business model altogether. When you start thinking about business model transformation – that’s a BIG idea.
At the end of the day, what technology companies are really doing is selling change. It’s a long game – not a quick fix. You’re selling the tools enterprises can leverage to completely transform their business model and a roadmap for getting there. It’s a relationship that requires a deep level of empathy and understanding. Rome wasn’t built in a day. ServiceNow and platforms like it will change our culture. If we want to have skin in the game, we have to Think BIG. By committing to the long game and developing relationships with our customers, we’ll understand their needs better and become more effective leaders in the digital era.
I know I packed a lot of information into a short blog. I’d like to know how you’re Thinking BIG. What’s your enterprise’s long game? Share with your comments or send me a message. I’d love to hear from you.