What if Darwin was the CEO of your company? Keys to digital evolution

To speak of industry 4.0 is to speak of a new industrial revolution driven by the implementation of digital technologies. In what state is this process and what are the main trends? We appointed the naturalist Charles Darwin CEO of your company to analyze with him the keys to digital evolution within the Spanish business ecosystem.

I read in the report “Digital solutions in the Spanish company 2015”, prepared by Telefónica Movilforum, what digital technologies are already a key element in the strategy of 49% of Spanish companies. For another 36% they are on their way to becoming one. If Charles Darwin was the CEO of your companysurely your company would be part of that percentage that has known see in digital evolution the path to survival.

Perhaps your company is a large multinational. It may be small or medium. It’s the same. If Darwin was the CEO, you shouldn’t worry. Your company would not survive by being the biggest or the strongest, but by better adapting to the new conditions imposed by business nature.

“It is not the strongest species that survives, but the one that responds best to change”

If Darwin were the CEO of your company I would make a quick analogy between natural selection that he preached in his theory of the evolution of species with what is happening today in the business and economic world. I would see a scenario littered with different organizations competing in a common and changing market, and whose permanence depends on gradual and innovative transformations. It would also see that if these innovations are successful, the company will naturally be selected and its example will spread and be replicated in the rest of the companies in its environment.

Your company will surely be part of that 27% of companies that, according to this same report, say they are above the average for their sector in terms of digital progress. It’s probably true. What is certain is that by being part of this leading group, your company will be a benchmark and a source of motivation for the rest of the organizations that, sooner or later, will “inherit” or incorporate those traits converted into competitive advantages.

But does it really make sense to apply principles of biology to the business world? Your new CEO would tell you yes. Saving the time difference companies do not enjoy an evolutionary period of thousands of years , it makes a lot of sense to talk about market evolutionfrom business evolution and of course from digital evolution. The digitization is, above all other factors, the main adaptation mechanism that companies have in the market ecosystem.

There are pending subjects

If Darwin were the CEO of your company, he would surely lead this digital transformation, also involving the rest of the management and ensuring that the change in mentality permeates all levels within the organization. Here is one of the keys to success that should occur in all companies, as defended in the “Seventh Global Survey of the Digital Coefficient of Companies”, prepared by PwC. Although the conclusions of this study are optimistic (Spain exceeds the world average in terms of senior management commitment), the I Digital Transformation Study of the Spanish Company, prepared by Creative Territory in collaboration with The London School of Economics Enterprise, warns that 50% of companies and directors are not prepared to tackle the digitization process. Its difficulty, the non existence of roadmaps or the lack of knowledge of the impact it has on the business, are the reasons they allege. We must also add, as Telefónica Movilforum points out, that companies are afraid of factors such as information security, the rapid transformation and obsolescence of technology, interoperability between platforms or the ability to integrate with other systems.

To obtain it full digital integration it is not enough to be aware of its need. New technologies must be adapted and adopted, and this is only possible by designing a cross cutting strategy for the entire company, changing ways of working and tools and counting on the support of trained personnel. A study by William M. Klepper, a professor at Columbia Business School, points out that companies must practice “demanding love” or, what is the same, analyze the current situation that implies the digitalization of the company and “dispense” with those who are not capable “of adapting to the changing business cycle”.

If Darwin were the CEO of your company, he would also know that to start any digitization process you have to be willing to invest. According to the Telefónica Movilforum report, the budgets allocated to digital solutions have experienced significant growth, doubling their weight in global IT budgets (4% on average registered in 2013 to 8% in 2015). In certain sectors such as banking, retail or tourism, these increases doubled the average. Why these figures? The results of the implementation of digital solutions are positive for 78% of companies and this encourages investment. Digital technologies are accelerating productivity for 72% of them, and 58% say that these solutions have improved the relationship with their customers.

The customer at the center of the strategy

With Darwin at the helm of your company, surely you already know that the digital environment not only changes companies, it also transforms customers. Approaching this new customer, more saturated, demanding and less loyal, is behind the strategy of most businesses, and explains many of the trends that are already marking the process of digital evolution, and which, according to Telefónica MovilForum, are capital in the short term:

Evolution of interfaces: from the mouse to invisible devices

Omnichannel: Buy an item online with store pickup. He requests via twitter that he finally prefers to receive it at home. Finally it is not his size and he wants to go to the establishment to change it. See through an app in which store there is the size you need. This is the new customer and this is omnichannel, which requires a strategic vision and technological development on the part of companies to guarantee effective communication and a unique user experience.

Security and digital identity: Through digital channels, an increasing volume of sensitive information about customers and about the business itself is exposed. Companies are exploring new ways to protect this data and also to control cyber threats.

The user in the center: Companies must build their digital strategies and solutions based on customer habits and demands rather than based on technological possibilities.

big data: The collection, processing and interpretation of large amounts of data allows companies to personalize value propositions in real time and even anticipate the demands of their customers.

internet of things: the growing connection and interaction between machines and people, supported by wearables and other types of advanced sensors, generates new business models.

Context and proximity: the possibilities provided by mobile technologies in terms of proximity to the user will be crucial when it comes to generating proposals with greater conversion and loyalty.

charles darwin not is the CEO of your company and, at first glance, your organization does not look like a tortoise adapted to the environment of the Galapagos Islands. If the English naturalist revolutionized thought, science and society in 1859, now you are the protagonist of a new industrial and digital revolution which is called to transform the market and ourselves.