Digitize Your Business Today Or Prepare To Become Obsolete

In a previous blog entry, I argued that everyone needs to digitize their business, but not every business knows what to do. Transforming into a digital businesses, especially if you’re a traditional enterprise, is hard work. However, we believe that Asia Pacific is already primed for digital disruption.

In my report, The State Of Digital Business In Asia Pacific In 2014, we found that, while the highest-profile digital business pioneers are headquartered in North America, market demand in Asia Pacific is more conducive to long-term digital disruption. Asia Pacific has five times as many Internet users and smartphone subscribers as the US and almost as much online retail spending as the US and Europe combined. You just need to look at regional powerhouses like Alibaba.com and Commonwealth Bank of Australia and their multibillion-dollar businesses to grasp the rewards of digital business success in Asia Pacific.

However, knowing what these firms have accomplished is insufficient; knowing how to get there is more critical. You should:

  • Assess your firm’s state of digital readiness to drive organizational value. A true digital business needs to integrate both sides of a digital strategy: digital customer experience and digital operational excellence. Is your firm already overhauling outmoded organizational structures, technology, measurement frameworks, and operating models? Use Forrester’s digital business capabilities assessment to find out.
  • Demonstrate your customer obsession to secure support from line-of-business leaders. Most digital business efforts in Asia Pacific are held back by organizational challenges starting at the highest levels. Successful CIOs focus on securing support from senior business leaders so that roles are clear from the beginning. You can help your company establish new competitive advantage by crafting and accelerating a distinct business technology agenda. An important first step in crafting that agenda is to understand which of today's technologies best support customer-obsessed competitive advantage and communicate that using the customer life cycle.
  • Recruit relevant digital skills. Technical talent is scarce in Asia; digital expertise even more so. You must assess your team’s digital skills and recruit people with the skills you lack — start by looking for them at local institutions of higher learning. This will make you a valued partner to your CMO and CEO when they are ready to transform the organization into a digital business.

Your state of digital readiness depends on how much you already recognize the risks and rewards, but the message remains the same: Start on your digital journey today.