Digital Transformation Strategy: Insights from a Session with Dr. Ram Charan
A masterclass with Dr. Ram Charan is a once in a lifetime opportunity. And it leaves you full with so many thoughts and insights that one cannot help but pen some of it down, especially when the subject is so compelling and pertinent – Digital Transformation Strategy.
Makes you think, how the game changers and disruptors are changing the social order with spontaneity and speed, making a paradigm shift in the way markets view them. Classic examples are Tesla, Uber and Google, who, with their unstoppable trends, completely changed the game in their industries.
The point being, if we don’t make a change, we become obsolete. And we don’t want that, do we?
We have to understand that every customer is unique and important, and filling price gaps gives power to the consumer. Eliminate inflated costs by adopting direct shipping and a zero channel of distribution. Harness the potential in data and analytics by studying the behavior of every consumer.
Several companies collect and sell data using algorithms and AI. Using this data, companies like Amazon began to focus on improving Gross Margins, demonstrating an upward growth of revenue. A company’s Gross Margin (GM) states the truth about their business while their brand image is being built on rich consumer experiences. Amazon revealed a GM of 40% while maintaining a growth rate of 45% with a $250 million growth in business.
Using algorithms, one can locate and scale up to a global set of customers by adopting aggressive strategies. But we have to constantly imagine our market space.
Another unstoppable trend capturing the market is the speed of innovation. And these ‘speed bursts’ should vary between short intervals and long-term strategies.
You have to always ask – ‘Are you experimenting with something that could be a game-changer for the customer?’ All good things take time. Amazon’s Alexa, for example, took nine years to build with 18 failed attempts.
What about customer retention? Points that I noted are:
- We must observe our consumer/customer to learn their patterns and behaviors
- Make sure you don’t talk about competition but rather talk about your customer
- Tailor your ecosystem and tweak your algorithms, your software, and your digital strategy to place the customer on top
Another important aspect is that of a separable single-threaded team. Headed by a leader and unadulterated by external or lateral influences, this can result in a razor-sharp focus while building the product and earn the trust of the organization. Unperturbed by the failures of other teams and with no underlying layers, this approach can produce exacting results in the product space he owns.
Summarizing the key takeaways from the session:
- Closely observe your customers
- Capture end-customer experience and identify the benefit to your customer
- Bridge the price gap
- Bring a social change; build tools to digitize data flow from retailers and consumers
- Ensure speed of innovation
- Be transparent in your processes and approach. Include a data/digital expert in all your meetings
- Form separable single-threaded teams, headed by a single leader
- Choose a captain, no democracy
- Create press releases for every product/concept, bring clarity to the entire team
- Build trust and keep the focus
- Improve efficiency by adopting a zero layer/zero filter approach, with one level of approval
- The cardinal rule of three: Focus on the three most important items for 75% of your time
One last thing. Include a digital powerhouse consultant at important strategy meetings of every company. This way companies can make sense of numbers and data in this big maddening world of data churn.
I sincerely thank my company Altimetrik for giving me this opportunity and express my absolute admiration and gratitude to the great master Dr. Ram Charan. I hope many other practitioners in this field get this brilliant learning opportunity.