Digital Transformation

Digital: how to choose the right technologies at the right time

23 September 2016

Digital: how to choose the right technologies at the right time

What is of prime importance in the digital transformation? The right speed of execution…as a result, it is important to identify and test the best technologies at the right time, integrate them into business processes at the right pace and with enough agility to apply some self-analysis… and start again. And one of the key elements of the digital transformation is to successfully transform technological innovations into innovations of use or business. Here is how, in my opinion, technological decision-makers must set about doing this.

The company’s relationship with technology has really changed, as technological development is increasingly gaining pace. Selecting and integrating digital technologies can no longer be done ‘off the cuff’. It requires speed, of course, and agility on the part of decision-makers. The digital transformation demands considerable use of technologies… which, in my eyes, involves plenty of work for these new “decision-makers”. I suggest three areas on which to focus.

1 – Monitor the pace with industrial technological surveillance

To achieve this, I would advise the decision-maker to immediately implement industrial monitoring in order to assess the high rate at which new technologies are created. It is essential to use the right sources and to build appropriate partnerships. Therefore take your pick by means of careful selection, as there are numerous sources. For example, market analysts (such as Gartner Group, Forrester Research, etc.) offer a comprehensive and forward-looking vision of the emergence of technologies, when industrial players produce them… which is not the same thing. Specialist publishers (start-up, FinTech) provide and develop the latest innovations, whereas strategic publishers strengthen the market and offer them continuity of use. Not forgetting influencers, venture capital firms and opinion leaders who must be listened to attentively…

In short, thanks to this monitoring, the decision-maker can create a relevant technology roadmap covering periods of 1-2 years, 3-5 years and over 6 years; a roadmap which you can validate and test internally in the company.

2 – Create a digilab

In particular, our decision-maker will have to transform technological innovations into innovations of use. Let me explain myself: the creation of a digilab (a company’s in-house digital laboratory) will be able to illustrate and promote the technologies in transformations of professional situations and new uses. This will make it possible to evolve from Proof of Technology to Proof of Usage. It will also be necessary to choose the right partners according to the cycles and windows to supply this digilab, whose final objective will be to estimate the integration/acquisition costs and savings associated with the use of each technology.

To integrate these technologies into business processes, I recommend developing a structure around the following five main digital transformation challenges:

put yourself at the service of the customer and user with non-verbal technology such as gesture recognition, speech to text, eye tracking and wearable devices to interact without talking or artificial intelligence to anticipate needs;

enhance data as enhancement results in transforming the datum into information, then in help with anticipation and finally results in making a decision. Machine learning and deep learning to improve operational effectiveness, real time analytics and algorithms to be prescriptive about stock;

promote operational excellence as it is vital to evolve in order to stand out from the competition and be ever more efficient. Connected objects, operators of analytics and artificial intelligence help in decision-making and will even see themselves involved in the near future. Analytics and machine learning are used to adapt to the customer’s needs to offer them the best possible service;

create relationships with ecosystems as suppliers of products, services or hardware form an integral part of the company’s ecosystem, just like new partners introduced by the cloud. This means structuring microservices-based systems, understanding the ecosystem on a functional or technical level and extending partnership-based approaches beyond the major players on the market, and finally using platforms which provide basic services and which make it possible to accelerate the deployment of solutions.

offer new tools to colleagues as the new working methods (co-design, design thinking, etc.) require fresh approaches. The slightest separation between development and production, and the reduction in duration between two versions reinforces the need to manage DevOps or containerization type approaches or even the use of A/B testing type techniques.

3 – Ask the right questions

Finally, the strategy of acquisition and of managing technology must be fundamentally reconsidered. The question is whether the solution or skills should be outsourced or insourced (In/Out). Would it be better to manufacture or purchase the solutions (Make/Buy)? The relevant responses to these questions depend on the various business scenarios.

In light of the main digital successes on the market, there is no doubt that the best-performing and most agile players have all developed and favoured ecosystems and partnerships to create their information system.

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