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October 2018

Digital Transformation: The Paradox & The Paradigm Shifts
Digital Transformation: The Paradox & The Paradigm Shifts Raju G

Digital Transformation:
The Paradox & The Paradigm Shifts

Digital transformation has redefined the relationship between a business and its customers. Everybody is talking about how digital channels and the overall digitalization of customer touchpoints has elevated customer experience to a whole another level. Some even call it dimensional shift.

But believe it or not, for some industries digital transformation is creating a paradoxical situation which needs immediate attention. Instead of bringing customers closer to the enterprise, it is pushing them further away!

Look at banking for example. Banking by its very nature represents a close relationship between the enterprise and its customers. This relationship is built on faith and trust – something that is very integral to human beings. However, these days digital channels have become the pulse of the banking industry. Chatbots are taking over interactions and IVRs are offering pre-defined assistance to customers. Websites and online forums are helping customers make buying decisions like never before.

So, what is really happening is that customers’ opinions and expectations are getting influenced even before they have any real human interaction. The human component in the entire journey is getting replaced by the digital channels.

How can an enterprise create a meaningful and a long-lasting relationship with customers if there is hardly any “real” conversation with a human? It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that this new wave of digital customer experience is hitting hard at basic human qualities like emotion, compassion, comfort, etc. which create real value in a relationship.

A chatbot may be able to analyze the words of the customers and identify the sentiment as annoyance or anger. But would it be able to tread the fine line between annoyance, anger, and rage? What would happen when the customers use sarcasm in their dialogue? Would the chatbot be able to identify that as well? Better yet, would it be able to replicate the compassionate relationship or interaction a customer would have with a human on the other end?

The paradox is that while adoption of digital channels is improving customer interactions, it is impacting the quality of customer relationship. It is creating a void between the customers and the human part of the enterprise. And this void is getting wider with each passing day!

Addressing the Paradox

We have always maintained that digital transformation does not mean implementing a slew of digital technologies or tools. Unless and until you have a clearly defined strategy and a roadmap, the so-called “transformation exercise” would just remain a “modernization exercise”.

When discussing digital transformation with business leaders, we talk about the changes that they would have to deal with. We group these changes into three different categories.

The first category is called “Expected Changes”. This will include changes that are predictable and have already been anticipated by the leaders. The second category is called “Unexpected Changes” where we put down the changes that they did not anticipate but we were able to point out based on our other engagements. The third category is the “Paradigm Shifts”. This is where we put down slow and subtle transformations that redefine the essence of the industry.

Needless to say, the paradigm shifts are the ones that need more attention. They are not quantifiable and often just slip under the radar. They can be subtle to the point of not getting detected for years. But they have the capacity to disrupt the core essence of the industry.

We are focused on helping leaders deal with these paradigm shifts. We are holding discussions with industry leaders to deliberate on what it means for them to exist in the new normal of the industry where the rules of the existence are rewritten. It is these discussions that lead to a plan of adaptation for them to follow.

To know about the paradigm shifts that your industry would undergo and what should be your plan of adaptation, engage with our digital transformation consultants.

Digital Transformation: The Emerging Role of CEOs
Digital Transformation: The Emerging Role of CEOs Raju G

Digital Transformation: The Emerging Role of CEOs

So far, we have seen CIOs, CTOs, and even CDOs, to a great extent, lead digital transformation initiatives for enterprises. However, lately it is CEOs who are taking over the mantle and playing a more prominent role. It has started occupying a place on the corporate agendas in the boardrooms. While some may call it a disruption of sorts, we call it a natural progression of things.

We have always propagated that digital transformation is not a functional approach but an enterprise level strategy. Unless and until it starts dominating the boardroom discussion, we believe the enterprise is still not invested in the initiative completely.

So, what is driving this change and what is the role of a CEO in such a scenario?

Disruption Driven Transformation

So far digital transformation was all about disrupting the status quo of the market and forcing competition to rethink and reimagine. But now the rules of the game have changed! Now digital transformation is not about market disruption but self disruption. Every single function and line of business of the enterprise has to reimagine the way things are being done.

When the other leaders are taking a deep dive into the multi-functional disruption approach, CEOs can hold the business together through the transformation process.

Digital Innovation

We have already seen in our previous article how there are gaping holes in digital transformation efforts at technology and business end. Digital innovation is one such gaping hole that a CEO has to fill. While the CIOs and CTOs are struggling with technical debt and IT legacy, the CEO needs to bring in the fresh perspective.

If the initiative requires the business to invest more in technology and tools, then CEO has to roll the dice for it and convince the board members. If there is a need to acquire new smaller yet tech savvy companies, then it is the CEO’s entrepreneurial intellect that should drive the decision and not the IT needs or operational needs.

Redefine Culture

Digital transformation involves a lot of trial and error. The teams need to feel bold and empowered enough to bring new ideas to the table. They need to know that it is ok for them to fail and what really matters is willingness to try. This requires a cultural shift which can be brought in only by the CEO.

We have worked with some CEOs who have redefined the complex approval processes of their companies so that they do not stifle the life out of new ideas or innovations. We have helped them redefine their processes to ensure that ideas are analyzed faster and the best ones are picked up for implementation.

Improve Collaboration

Digital transformation has got a lot to do with getting different teams and functions to collaborate with each other and share information. This is departure from the traditional way of existence where functions operated in silos and fragmented information databases were the norm.

It is the CEO’s mandate to get the teams that have traditionally been at odds with each other to shake hands and operate in a connected environment. A CEO has to not only create opportunities of collaboration but also create an environment that insists on collaboration and rewards it appropriately.

Digital Leadership

With all said and done, it is the CEO who is the face of the business. His ideas, views, and opinions are looked upon as the voice of the enterprise. So, he has to be the digital leader through the transformation process. He has to be vocal about the need for digital transformation, the strategy in place, the reassurances needed for the employees in place – his voice will matter the most.


Many leaders still treat digital transformation as a matter of choice. But soon it will turn into a matter of existential crisis for them. Within next few years, they will be faced with the choice of transform or go extinct. We will also see many traditional markets and business models getting disrupted and making way of new ones.

But within all this chaos lies an opportunity that just cannot be compared to anything else. And this opportunity still remains untapped. The farsighted CEOs are already rewriting their playbooks and their role in digital transformation.

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