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 named 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 Spanish companies 2015”, prepared by Telefónica Movilforum, that digital technologies are already a key element in the strategy of 49% of Spanish companies. For another 36% they are on the way. If Charles Darwin was the CEO of your company, surely 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 largest 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, he would make a quick analogy between natural selection who preached in his theory of the evolution of species with what happens today in the business and economic world. You would see a scenario littered with different organizations competing in a common and changing market, and whose permanence depends on gradual and innovative transformations. He would also see that if these innovations are successful, the company will naturally be selected and its example will be propagated and replicated in the rest of the companies in its environment.

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

But does it really make sense to apply principles of biology to the business world? Your new CEO would say yes. Saving the difference in times – companies do not enjoy an evolutionary period of thousands of years -, it makes a lot of sense to talk about market evolution, from business evolution and, of course, of digital evolution. The digitization is, above 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, surely he would lead this digital transformation, also involving the rest of the board and ensuring that the change in mentality spreads at all levels within the organization. This is one of the keys to success that should occur in all companies, as defended in the “Seventh World 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 Study of Digital Transformation 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 inexistence of roadmaps or the lack of knowledge of the impact it has on the business, are the reasons that 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 your need. New technologies must be adapted and adopted, and this is only possible by designing a transversal strategy for the entire company., changing the ways of working and the tools and counting on the support of trained personnel. A study by Columbia Business School professor William M. Klepper suggests that companies must practice “demanding love” or, what is the same, analyze the current situation that implies the digitization of the company and “do without” 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 in 2013 to 8% in 2015). In certain sectors such as banking, retail or tourism, these increases were double 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 digital evolution process, and which, according to Telefónica MovilForum, are capital in the short term:

Omnichannel: buy an item online with store pickup. Request via twitter that you finally prefer to receive it at home. Finally it is not your size and you want to go to the store to change it. Look 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 by companies to ensure effective communication and a unique user experience.

Security and digital identity: through digital channels, a growing 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 at the center: companies must build their strategies and digital 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 that mobile technologies provide in terms of proximity to the user will be crucial when it comes to generating proposals with greater conversion and loyalty.

Charles Darwin no He is the CEO of your company and, at first glance, your organization hardly resembles a turtle 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 that is called to transform the market and ourselves.

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