Everyone has an understanding, to different degrees, of what digital transformation is and the opportunities presented by the digital economy.

However, there is a gap when it comes to effectively managing the complexities that go hand-in-hand with a digital presence.

So says Sekhwela Mokgala, digital systems manager at Axiz, who will present on “The impact of digital transformation on organisations”, at Experience Micro Focus Universe 2019, to be held at the Inanda Club in Sandton, on 29 August.

He says there are several complexities. “Firstly, having a strategically consistent digital presence that leverages current capabilities. Secondly, delivering digital capability at scale quickly; and finally, implementing the correct structures in business to adapt in the dynamic digital economy.”

Digital viability

According to Mokgala, what complicates digital transformation is that these complexities have to be tackled systemically and concurrently, while remaining compliant to business practices and industry standards.

“Often, the proposed approach is to tackle these through an ecosystem of partners which themselves have differing priorities. Often the eco-systemic approach entails redefining core competencies of the business within relevance of existing digital ecosystems.

“I call it a battle of digital viability. I believe in this transition, value is redefined and the future impact is that most companies will look different to how they look today as value is redefined in maturing emerging digital ecosystems.”

Mitigating risks

Another challenge, he says, are the risks that digital transformation brings. “The potential risks are huge given the complexity, speed and dynamism of change that comes and exists in the digital economy. The biggest risk to already existing successful companies is having a digital identity that is compatible with the analogue business. One must be careful to balance digital identity with analogue business.”

He cites an example: “If you are seen as a trusted bank, you need to be careful to present a similar or better capability digitally otherwise this may result in a damaged reputation. On the other hand, to the digitally-born companies, the challenge is building trust where long-term business relationships already exist. This talks to a number of risks: information security, business system reliability at scale, compliance to industry standards, cyber security, which all present huge business risks.”

Mitigating these risks firstly requires a capability within business to detect and accurately define the risk presented and its potential damage. Secondly, there is to be a role within the business that seeks technical advice or options in remediating the risk to an acceptable or managed state.

“Risk may not be removed completely because the digital economy presents new risks every day and may therefore need to be managed. The beauty in the digital economy is the variety of options that are presented. One no longer has to manage their own infrastructure. Risk can be mitigated by simply adopting cloud technologies,” he adds.

Boosting CX

Mokgala says customer experience (CX) is another area that has been altered by digital transformation.

“Traditionally, organisations focused their efforts on developing and fine-tuning internal competencies and capabilities over lengthy product lifecycles. In the digital economy, customers search for unique customised experiences.

“Businesses need to be more service- and consumption-oriented to sustainably maintain relevance in such dynamic markets that come with demanding, digitally-savvy consumers.”

He says technology plays an even more crucial role in enabling organisations to deliver value sustainably and at scale.

“An organisation’s business model will need to be both ‘outward’ (listening to consumers and assessing value ecosystems around the organisation), and ‘looking in’ (leveraging internal capabilities and business partnerships).

“Technology plays a significant role in doing both efficiently and effectively, thus maintaining market relevance.”