How to be successful in the digital transformation?

- 17/12/2020

Year 2020 could not end without talking about it: the digital transformation. The term is not recent, nor is it outdated. Nowadays, it is the most commented issue considering the new forms and habits in an environment that converges from physical to digital. And, therefore, thinking about how to use it to your advantage, when we think about the market, it is one of the successful strategies discussed at Forum RNP 2020: Meeting with the Future.

Digital transformation and the information strategy 

In the lecture with Silvio Meira, chief scientist at Digital Strategy Company, extraordinary professor at Cesar School, professor emeritus at UFPE (Centro de Informática - CIn), founder and chairman of the Board of Directors of Porto Digital and member of the boards of Magalu, MRV , CI&T and Capes, the biggest challenge of innovation is to have strategies, “innovation is not technology, it is evolution”. 

Thus, Silvio lists eight dimensions of innovation in practice in a way to solve and exercise the concept centered on the transformation and the change in the behavior of agents, market and consumers, namely:

1)      The major national problems: infrastructure, investments; politics: strategic orders: legislation, regulation, time;
2)      The production: competitive environment, systemic complexity, M&E strategies;
3)      Knowledge: universities, ST&I centers, social networks, startups;
4)      The consumption: starting market, diffusion processes, quality of the demand;
5)      The enterprise: leadership capacity, risk assessment/acceptance, world view and experience;
6)      The culture: new skills, personal motivation, dissatisfaction/newness;
7)      The context: treatment of error/lesson, systemic metastability, openness to personal initiatives;
8)      The investment: entrepreneurial capital, infrastructure, the capacity to change value chains, markets (below, above).

For this purpose, the first step for innovation is to be based on what Silvio calls “real problems”, where without a reason, there is no possibility to innovate anywhere. "To innovate in almost all organizations, in almost all markets, the mega-problem is the problem of trying to recreate (almost) the entire business network creatively," he says.

Cases of innovation with the digital transformation and the pandemic

However, there is no standard formula for such transformation. Even more when a pandemic strikes the world, forcing it to sustain itself remotely. In 2020, the new Coronavirus brought new unknowns not only in the health area, but in the society and the economic environment as well. As a result, the changes occurred in different magnitudes, but mainly, in network.

Silvio, as a member of the boards of Magalu, showed growth data about access in the digital world. Upon comparison of the 2nd quarter of 2020 with the 2nd quarter of 2019, for example, there was 192% growth in the access in the E-Commerce of company, “a stratospheric growth”, as Silvio points out. 

But in addition, surveys reveal how executives around the world feel the market growth acceleration due to Covid-19. Based on data from Twilio Global 2.569 Clevel, in June 2020, mentioned by Silvio, 43% of the executives think that their market has accelerated from one to four years for the digital; 27% from five to nine years, and 23% more than 10 years. “For 97% of the leaders average, Covid-19 accelerated the digital strategies of the companies for six years. They believe that the pandemic has accelerated their digital transformation”, Silvio adds. 

Would it be a new irreversible trend? 

“I think it is,” Silvio comments. For the scientist, “these are new markets, companies, teams and people, who are in transition from the physical (to the analogical) to articulation (made by each and every one) of the physical, enabled, increased and extended by the digital, orchestrated in the social space in (almost) real time", what he calls" Figital".  

Likewise, looking at the new work models, mainly hybrid ones, they also refer to digital and the network, accelerating the need of evolution and adaptation  before the digital transformation even more. “In this process, where we go from adaptation to evolution, to transformation, it is the innovation process on platforms, systems, services and digital networks, combined with strategic transformation, where we make changes about how to do it, whom to do it for, where and why to do it”, he points out.

Six steps to be successful in digital transformation and innovation

Although it seems very complex, would it be possible to have a step-by-step to put these transformations in practice and be successful? Well, a study by FUJITSU Global Digital Transformation Survey (Report 2018) lists six critical points that shall be reviewed for this new scenario to be practiced.

Point 1 - Transforming leaders: leaders who enable the digital transformation process. 
Point 2 - Everyone has to acquire new skills to be successful;
Point 3 - Innovation to compete in networks;
Point 4 - Your capacity to compete is the capacity to form networks and encode;
Point 5 - There shall be agility at all levels of the organization, from decisions to actions;
Point 6 - Learn to use data to generate benefits.

However, for this purpose, you need a context. That is, where to apply each of them? Silvio answers us with more questions, or better, five about the data strategy.

What does it mean to have a data strategy?

For a data and information strategy, Silvio Meira suggests that we answer five basic questions: “1) What data do we “have”? Both ours and that we can access; 2) Where “is” the data? In our systems? Stored in public environments? 3) What systems do we use, what data and for what? Who takes care of our data and what do they do with it; 4) Have we solved compliance issues (our rules to use our data) and regulations (LGPD)?  5) How can data: increase our agility? Reduce risks and costs? Create opportunities, revenues and profit? ”. 

For Silvio, “The data is not the new oil, but the new uranium”, he explained, saying that it needs to be handled properly, otherwise it may become radioactive.

The three principles to have an information strategy

Finally, according to Silvio Meira, there are three basic principles for you to have an information strategy, and thus, to carry out the transformation and visualize its results, aiming at the user experience mainly. 

Principle 01: acquire only the data actually necessary to serve the customer better and create value for the business;

Principle 02: keep the data in the business information life cycle only for the time absolutely necessary to achieve the goals of the first postulate, after which, the appropriate termination procedures shall be carried out;

Principle 03: Handle the data safeguarded by the business with algorithms that obey the second law of the digital nature and assure that the results - including the decisions - create value for the customer, while creating value for the business.

For Silvio, “Strategy is transformation”, and therefore, the most efficient way to achieve success. 

Watch Silvio Meira's full lecture at Forum RNP 2020 on the Youtube channel of RNP.