What’s the difference between a digital bolt-on and transformative digital disruption?
In the two years I’ve been on the road talking with executives around the world about digital business and delivering keynotes on digital transformation, I’ve been most frequently asked about bolt-on vs. transformation; what’s the difference?
A digital bolt-on is a digital project that is added to the existing business model that might improve the customer experience in a small way, but doesn’t fundamentally change how value is created for, and/or delivered to, the customer. For example, when a company updates a website and provides customers an electronic ordering platform, they are not changing the existing business model; they are simply providing an alternative channel through which the customer can buy products. The value proposition remains the same: buy and experience our product and you’ll gain value from the experience. Digital (in this case an online sales channel) has been bolted to the existing business model in much the same way a teenager bolts a spoiler onto an old car to make it "go faster".
Earlier this week, TCS launched its CrewCollab Solution at the Singapore Aviation Festival. The sector has attracted a lot of investments from service providers lately with companies like NIIT Technologies, Pactera, Hexaware and others strengthening their portfolio of software assets for airlines. The TCS CrewCollab mobile solution – co-developed in partnership with Singapore Airlines – fills an important gap in the digital transformation strategy of airlines globally. Why is that?
The in-flight experience remains disjointed from the rest of the customer journey. Airlines like Delta, United and Emirates have already invested in developing successful digital customer experience initiatives covering the pre- and post-flight phases of the customer journey. However, airlines typically struggle understanding and serving their customers as they board the flight, customer data being seldom available to the cabin crew.
While Malaysia's tech services market is mature compared with other fast growing ASEAN markets like Indonesia, it remains very fragmented. Some vendors also tout capabilities in technology services that fall outside of their core competencies and for which they have not yet developed a strong track record. The fast-rising digital expectations of business stakeholders are making it increasingly difficult for client organizations to find the right partner for their requirements. In a new report, my colleague Zhi Ying Ng and I provide a detailed analysis of the leading consulting and technology service providers in Malaysia. Here are a few high-level recommendations when choosing a service provider in Malaysia:
Reset your expectations when engaging with local service providers. Organizations looking to expand in Malaysia will find it beneficial to tap into these providers' local knowledge and experience. However, companies looking for sophisticated skills — like those related to enterprise applications — should be aware that providers might lack experience even though they claim otherwise. As such, it is crucial that enterprises set a clear strategy based on the goals and objectives that they want to achieve, together with a road map that aligns services sourcing with internal capabilities before beginning such engagements.
Mobile reached a tipping point in 2014 as it solidified its position as one of the most disruptive technologies for businesses in decades. Not since the advent of the Internet has a technology forced businesses to rethink completely how they win, serve, and retain customers.
Forrester believes that, in the future, the new competitive battleground will be the mobile moment. Why? Consumers expect to engage with brands to get any information or service they desire immediately and in context. Today, 18% of US online consumers have this expectation, while 30% are in the midst of a transition to this mobile mind shift. This revolution is taking place quickly across the globe: Forrester forecasts that 42% of the total population globally will own a smartphone by the end of 2015.
Forrester believes that, in 2015, the gap will increase between marketing leaders and eBusiness professionals who will re-engineer their business to deliver valuable mobile moments and the majority of executives who will continue to take a myopic approach by considering mobile just as another digital channel.
It’s a fact: Marketers in Asia purchase digital technologies without involving the tech management department. They do it because they believe that:
Digital technologies are key enablers of successful marketing strategies. Customers in Asia Pacific in general, and in Singapore in particular, are always connected and empowered by technology to access the right information in their moments of need. They increasingly value — and do business with — organizations that provide them with experiences that are effective, easy, and emotional across all customer touchpoints. It’s not a surprise, then to see marketing professionals — just like their colleagues in sales, product management, and customer service — source digital technologies to enable such experiences.
The tech management department hinders their business success. This is the more worrying part, but if you take a step back, as a technology management professional, you understand why. You work with technology life cycles that are oriented toward core business, back-end systems like enterprise resource planning and therefore are risk-averse and slow. However, marketers need tech management professionals who are open to innovation, experimentation, and moving toward a risk-tolerant, agile life cycle that supports digital experience delivery.
Companies understand the urgency of ramping up their business technology (BT) capabilities to help the business innovate and grow. Increasingly, they realize that they cannot do this alone and firms will require partners that can help deliver agile services that bring fast and predictable outcomes to the business. For instance, Bharat Light and Power (BLP), one of the largest clean energy generation companies in India, signed in late 2013, a 10-year engagement with IBM to build a new business capability that aims at nothing short of transforming the utility sector in India. In a few words (more details are available in this report), BLP and IBM are creating an open energy service platform that will help BLP understand how to optimize the utilization of its wind turbines. The really interesting part for me lies in the way the company intends to leverage the information generated by this platform as the basis of its competitive advantage. The energy service platform will indeed act as an expertise repository that BLP can leverage to:
Increase the value of its own assets. As the company operates, grows, and optimizes its own asset efficiency, it learns how the climate, power grid, and wind turbines influence a vital business metric for a utility company: the plant load factor (PLF). This will allow the company to generate more revenues from its existing assets.
At the beginning of the year in our yearly mobile predictions report, my colleague Julie Ask and I made the following call: "mobile will affect more than just your digital operations — it will transform your entire business. 2014 will be the year that companies increase investments to transform their businesses with mobile as a focal point." McDonald’s France is a great example of such a trend.
In France, you can now order a Big Mac anytime, anywhere on your smartphone, tablet, or desktop and pick it up later at any of 1,200 McDonald’s restaurants. But mobile ordering and in-store pick up are just the first steps of a broader and more ambitious strategy: differentiating McDonald’s brand experience and powering a future relationship marketing platform by enabling direct behavioral customer insights. Although it started with a mobile ordering and payment app nationwide, McDonald’s France aims to transform all points of customer engagement by building a platform to extend new services to loyal customers and evolving the entire organization.
Despite a less mature mobile ecosystem and lower mobile usage than in the US, McDonald’s France was the first subsidiary of McDonald’s to launch a mobile ordering offering at scale. Such an ordering service is only at pilot stage in the US. France is McDonald’s second-biggest market after the United States, with €4.35 billion in turnover in 2012. Most other countries had piloted mobile payments so far. With more than 16 million members, McDonald’s Japan mobile couponing and in-store contactless payment services is the only other mobile service for McDonald’s (and the vast majority of brands) that has scaled massively, but it does not yet offer the same value.
Macro trends in technology and shifting customer behavior are giving rise to the connected business — which is not defined by technology but is rather a new style of doing business. CIOs will be responsible for introducing technology solutions that help break down silos, boost cross-team collaboration, drive the end-to-end customer experience, and engage more deeply with customers. In order to succeed, CIOs must go beyond technology enablement and support organizational and cultural transformation.
With Jeroen Tas, one of the most renowned technology visionaries in Europe, as its CIO, Philips made a number of strategic decisions to transform itself into a connected business. Forrester believes that CIOs should familiarize themselves with Philips’ strategic, operational, and cultural transformation and learn from it, as Philips offers CIOs valuable lessons in planning the transition to a connected business:
Philips embraces digital propositions at the expense of standalone products. Philips maps out customer journeys and ensures that its products turn into plug-ins for broader digital propositions. The firm connects all of its propositions through data, communities, and collaboration, allowing it to understand who the customers are and how they use products. Philips decides how it needs to develop its portfolio based on these customer journey maps, opening up new business models.
Interdisciplinary teams help open up new revenue streams. The old model — all marketing people sitting together, all IT people sitting together, all supply-chain people sitting together — is outdated. Interdisciplinary teams force people to speak each other’s language. At Philips, interdisciplinary teams have also resulted in much higher job satisfaction.