Digital Ecosystem: three steps to digitisation

The hype around cutting edge technology such as AI is all around us. Not experimenting with it means getting left behind, yet these experiments often bring little benefit or distract from achieving strategic objectives. In this perspective we explore three steps for a successful digitisation. 

A growing and future proof business of tomorrow is inevitably a digital business. In our previous five perspectives we explored that a sustainable business of the future requires building an ecosystem of four capabilities and excelling in at least one of them - customerproducts and servicesworkforceinfrastructure and operations.  

Whilst the spectrum of digitisation ranges from replacing paper forms with online workflows to delegating entire processes to AI, any digital journey goes through three key stages: strategy, innovation, operationalisation. This three-point roadmap along with critical enablers such as enterprise agility is the answer to the question how to accelerate the digital journey.  

Strategy – identify the digital direction and new ways of working 

Strategies are essential for navigating the business to success, providing a clear vision of what the organisation wants to achieve, and how digitisation enables it.   

Digitising the business with the right mix of proven and emergent technologies requires transforming how the business manages its customers, products, workforce and operations – essentially, the four elements of its ecosystem.  

However, the high level view documented in a strategy is sometimes difficult to implement as it is not clear where to start. Confusion appears, and then organisations may end up spending their effort defining a digital strategy in parallel to an IT strategy, or writing a few paragraphs about digitisation in the main strategy. The importance of digitisation becomes unclear and lost between strategic documents, and the opportunity to truly transform the business is lost. 

Articulating a digital strategy means defining a common vision and translating it into organisation-wide objectives and transformation initiatives. At Moorhouse many of our engagements start when a client develops a new strategy. We help translate it into a digital strategy, articulate strategic objectives, identify capabilities for improvement per our ecosystem framework, and then turn strategy into action by mobilising a portfolio of transformation programmes.  

Innovation – taking a step up from running digital experiments to business wide digitalisation 

Digital does not necessarily mean cutting edge solutions (though they can provide an advantage) – but it always means new, better ways of working. Identifying those new ways requires an innovative and courageous culture. Organisations need capabilities to identify ideas, prototype them, and scale them up.   

Ideas gathered throughout the business will include simplifying and automating processes, developing better services, adding value to internal and external customers, remediating multiple inefficiencies that have accumulated over the years of business evolution.  

Often organisations allocate limited resources to these initiatives, but in the digital age continuous improvement and innovation cannot be siloed and left to designated teams. It becomes everyone’s responsibility.  

The key is to have a process to manage innovation. An innovation process provides necessary capabilities and a mindset for experimentation. Moorhouse approach to building innovation includes two areas. We help develop a central function that embeds and grows a culture of innovation, and we define a process cycle to guide those involved with innovation.  

For example, for a major transport client we built an Innovation Hub that acts as the anchor for all innovation projects. It links innovation agents and community, defines the innovation heartbeat, inspires innovation across the organisation and facilitates innovation delivery.  

There are many forms of innovation, and whilst often it is associated with large brands like Coca-Cola, Facebook, or Lego, any organisation in the digital age needs to have a process that effectively navigates innovation into digital transformations. 

Operationalisation – mobilise, source, deliver and embed digital change 

Organisations need to be able to continuously adapt to the changing digital marketplace. By operationalisation we mean the whole spectrum of capabilities needed to change the business. This includes setting up transformation programmes, sourcing suppliers, developing operating models and enterprise architecture, delivering sustainable change, developing people and culture. 

Moorhouse are experienced at landing quickly in our client’s engagements and understanding their often complex environments in a very short period of time. We are a specialist business transformation consultancy with cross-industry expertise supporting clients with complex programmes.  

Our culture and working style is collaborative and pragmatic; we often work with other suppliers and internal teams to deliver successful transformations. We focus on delivering tangible, measurable benefits and sustainable change with our clients. 

Roadmap to the ecosystem

At Moorhouse we believe there are four key elements organisations should consider when assessing how to bring together emerging technologies to support the move towards digital – we call this the Digital Ecosystem. The Ecosystem describes the core capabilities needed for the implementation of a successful digital operating model, and how they interact with each other.  

Whilst the ecosystem addresses the ‘what’ question (what should an organisation do in a digital age), the ‘how’ question is answered by going through the iterative cycle of strategy, innovation and operationalisation. Organisations that constantly challenge themselves to refine their strategy, test and scale up new ideas, transform and continuously improve their business, are the ones that will produce new ways of working and new technologies needed to build a digital ecosystem.  

The digital ecosystem requires the organisation to constantly respond to new opportunities or disruptions. Strategy, innovation and operationalisation do not stop at the end of a transformation – they become capabilities that are used daily to ensure the business remains competitive and growing.  

For more information, please contact Nikita KnyazevIndi Kalirai or Don McShee

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