Digital transformation begins with a single step

Companies may think digital transformation is an enormous undertaking, but according to one Dell EMC thought leader it only takes recognition that the world of business is changing and then a single step in a new digital-first direction to get things started.

Technology is transforming the way we live and work, at any ever-increasing pace, said Adeel Omer, Dell EMC’s Director of Marketing, at the IT World Canada webinar “Three pillars of digital transformation and the impact on your business” on June 20th. “You can have more computing power now in your smartwatch than was on the spacecraft that [in 1969] took us to the moon.”

“Entire industries are being transformed. Companies today must be flexible as things can change on a dime. You have to make sure your business is ready to contend. We’ve gone from the Blockbuster model to the Netflix model. Disruption is the name of the game. The Ford Motor Company was at one time a disruptor; today, it’s seeing that millennials are not fantasizing about owning a car or truck and are exploring ways of going from being strictly an auto maker to being a mobility company.”

“Your use of technology to create smarter experiences is how you stand out. It’s your differentiator.”

IT manager Keith Bradley said companies in the food industry are now under tremendous pressure to go digital. His company, NatureFresh Farms, started its digital transformation in 2012 and is now many phases in and getting better at what they do — grow high-quality produce — all the time.

“The more phases we add, the more data we have — the more we’re able to compare one set of growth data to another. The key is to know what’s doing best. By analyzing our data, we can understand how to grow our food better and faster.”

“Data is the key to everything,” said Bradley. “We want to get data into the hands of decision-makers so they can make better and better decisions. We find [as a digital company] there is always something new to test, something new to analyze and derive intelligence from, whether it’s temperature, humidity levels, or light levels.”

Having “gone digital,” NatureFresh is also able to monitor its employees — where employees are working, what rows, what job; how much each employee is picking, how accurate their work is, et cetera. Having accurate and comprehensive data gives us the ability reward our employees for hard work, and to compare our product from year to year.”

Omer talked about the “three pillars” of digital transformation:

  1. Data analytics, containing all the insights you need about your project or service. “Your data is your lifeblood,” said Omer, “and a lot of organizations treat their data like gold. LinkedIn, for example — data is their ‘secret sauce.’”
  2. Agile development, with continuous delivery
  3. New applications and smart devices

“It’s about who can go through this cycle fastest, to become a disruptor,” said Omer. “Netflix disrupted at just the right time, as Blockbuster was going down. Being fast out of the gates, to being a disruptor, is directly tied to whether you are differentiated in the market.”

Jim Love, CIO, IT World Canada, said digital transformation represents a “fundamental change to a company’s business model, to the way a service or product is delivered. It means the only way you can compete today is by transforming your business. The only question is, will you be too late? Companies like Uber, which threw some for a loop, show that the only barriers in digital transformation are our imaginations.”

To Omer, it’s critical that leadership lead by taking those all-important first steps. “You don’t have to be strong in all areas — have all your digital muscles developed to digitally transform. The key is in taking those first steps. Eventually, everything will tie together, and this will result in your differentiation.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Glenn Weir
Glenn Weir
Content writer at IT World Canada. Book lover. Futurist. Sports nut. Once and future author. Would-be intellect. Irish-born, Canadian-raised.

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