Our Country Manager (Singapore), Daphne Sim, recently sat down with Malcolm Wu at Startup Grind to discuss the topic of digital transformation. They focused on the impacts of the digital transformation journey from both the business and employee perspectives. They went beyond simple buzzwords to talk about some of the challenges and rewards related to transformation.
Highlights from the discussion are paraphrased below. Jump to the points in the video that interest you the most.
Intro: What is digital transformation? (06:10 mins)
Digital transformation is a journey of going from manual work to digitized processes. It is also about building on the customer experience. It is a process of change that is being pursued by all industries, with some having had more success than others thus far (see graph). Daphne’s chart also shows which industries are most motivated by revenue generation, automation and creating a digital workforce. **Source: McKinsey’s Survey
How does digital transformation make a business more scalable? (10: 23 mins)
Digital transformation helps businesses grow from local to regional to global. Daphne shares specific examples of how businesses in APAC could use digital transformation to extend their products and services around the world.
How does digital transformation make a business more sustainable? (11:45 mins)
Digital transformation helps businesses step into the ecosystem that’s necessary for success. They become sustainable by staying part of the supply chain over time. Daphne shares a great story about how the local tea auction was recently transformed.
As work becomes digitized, automation frees up a lot of time so we can focus on more value-added pursuits.
How does digital transformation offer businesses and employees freedom? (14:28 mins)
As work becomes digitized, this frees up a lot of time that is generally used for mundane things, like invoicing or email. With automation, much of this can be handled for us so that we’re free to focus on more value-added pursuits. Sometimes people fear the idea of automation because they worry about their jobs, but it’s likely that their jobs will evolve into something that is more strategically focused. Automation just filters the small mundane things.
Who is digital transformation really for? (18:09 mins)
Anyone! As Daphne says, “if my 80 year old aunt can adapt, anybody can.” It’s not about size or industry, but it’s about having the mindset of “Ok, I want to grow. I want to be in the future.” The two went further to discuss more about who should be implementing digital transformation. What size businesses should adopt transformation efforts? In what sector?
What is the difference between reactive and proactive digital transformation? (19:51 mins)
Reactivity is “we have a problem that we need to solve now.” And, proactive is “we want to push things further.” Which approach makes sense for your business?
Why and when would I want to do this? (22:19 mins)
It depends on the business and its goals. They talked about three different reasons and how data supports these goals. They also addressed what might be holding businesses back, such as cost or efficiency changes.
What skill sets are needed to sustain digital transformation? (31:25 mins)
Daphne talked about maximizing the use of tools, as well as change management soft skills that would be necessary in order to get buy in on digital transformation and its related changes.
What are the impacts of digital transformation? (33:29 mins)
Digital transformation impacts both employees and the business itself. In the end, however, the impacts always apply to the products and service delivered to your customers. The two talk about how this cycle works, as well as how resource management, efficiency and data privacy change.
What is the future of digital transformation? Am I too late? (38:37 mins)
It’s about accepting that this is an on-going progressive journey: The world will constantly change, so it’s about making sure that your business is always adapting to this. It’s also about taking a constant interest in your customer. It’s never too late to begin, but start taking that first step forward.
Is digital transformation more about the tools or the corporate culture? (45:00 mins)
They can’t exist separately. There must be balance between the two.
What are your thoughts? Have you started on your own digital transformation journey yet? If so, how has it worked for you? If not, what’s holding you back?