Digital Transformation Goes Beyond TechnologyBy Jan Hogewoning | Wed, 07/22/2020 - 18:09
Almost every company interviewed by MBN in the area of tech products and services notes the same thing: digital transformation is about more than just integrating technology. It starts with employees’ openness, particularly at the executive level, to embrace new work methods that may fundamentally change the company. Apart from openness, another important factor in facilitating this is the level of comprehension that employees have of what digital transformation really entails. Not only is this often lacking, sometimes the companies feel they are far more advanced in the process than they really are. In a study conducted by Vanson Bourne in collaboration with Dell Technologies in 2018, it was found that Mexican companies were on average more confident about their digital readiness than companies in Japan, a country considered mature in technological adoption. However, as Juan Francisco Aguilar, General Manager of Dell Technologies Mexico, pointed out in an interview with MBN: “digital transformation was understood (by many Mexican executives) as using mobile devices and apps like Uber.” This, in reality, is a very small element of digital transformation.
Tech services companies, in their advisory role, play a crucial role in defining the needs of companies and translating them into a solution that employs different technologies. Technology is not necessarily the end, rather a means to help the company become better in carrying out its mission. Ricardo Arriaga, Founder and Innovation Director of Ironbit, tells us: “digital transformation refers to how the core business of a company is transformed so it can become scalable." Transforming the core, starts with understanding a company's objectives. As Alejandro Preinfalk, CEO Siemens México, told MBN: “We begin by consulting with our clients to identify the main needs of their businesses. We focus on KPIs, not technology, because when we talk about digital transformation, it means a transformation of the company.” For Fernanda Cantú, General Manager of Data Analytics Insights company Manzara, the goals of a company are crucial. “It all comes down to the kind of enterprise and its objectives. Each action is backed up by information, becoming a key part in developing successful bustiness strategies,” she says. Elie Haibi, Co-Founder and CEO of Hermes Systems, seems to agree that digital transformation starts with the specific needs of a company. “The first challenge is knowing where to start, understanding the problems you want to solve,” he says. The solutions, however are not limited to modifying operational methods. They also include a new form of communication. “Companies also need to be aware of the cultural, language and communication challenges that any digital transformation journey entails,” Haibi says.
While many tech consultancies take a broader, more holistic approach to transforming a company, not all seem to follow the same model. Ricardo Arriaga, of Ironbit, states: "Some consultancies say automating all processes within a company is digital transformation, while others say that improving the experience of the client also entails digital transformation.” This is limiting, he believes, emphasizing that it should really be “focused on transforming the business itself.”