These days it seems as if every enterprise is talking about “going digital,” and service providers are adding to the noise with hyperbolic promises about digital solutions that will re-imagine the workplace as we know it. However, each stakeholder in the ecosystem, from service providers to enterprises, industry shapers to investors, is using a different definition of digital adoption. So in the interest of industry cohesion, we will attempt to bust some prominent myths surrounding digital adoption and offer a workable definition of digital.
First, a few myths
Myth 1: Standalone implementation of a single digital technology theme counts as “digital adoption”
The true power of digital adoption is realized when enterprises leverage and integrate a variety of digital technology themes across the enterprise. Putting some data in the cloud or creating a nifty mobile customer interface tool is not digital adoption.
Myth 2: Digital adoption is solely about digital marketing and/or enabling online/mobile channels
While most of the hype around digital services and solutions refers to its use in marketing, the reality is that digital is much more inclusive and pervasive. In fact, our research shows that almost half of North American enterprises are concentrating their digital investment on back- and core mid-office efficiency, rather than market-facing business processes.
Myth 3: Digital is just another name for SMAC
Another myth being perpetuated is what we call “digital-washing,” pulling a bait-and-switch with terms like SMAC (social, mobile, analytics, and cloud) or BYOD (bring your own device). Digital is much more comprehensive than any of these existing terms, encompassing an array of technologies to support and augment digital functionality that touches every aspect of back-,
mid-, and front-office business processes.
So how does Everest Group define digital?
Enterprises are spoiled for choices in adopting next-generation solutions and services. Possibly for the first time in history, enterprises are challenged not by the lack of technology, but by its overwhelming abundance.
But that abundance creates its own difficulties. Enterprises that are looking to ride the digital wave to improve operations and grab greater market share need to look at digital solutions with a more holistic view. The greatest benefits of digital solutions come from the development and implementation of a comprehensive digital strategy, not a piecemeal adoption of a particular next-generation technology for a siloed business process.
In other words, digital adoption is the converged use of emerging technology themes to drive efficiencies across back-office and core mid-office business processes, as well as to enhance competitive advantage by impacting market-facing front-office processes.
Let’s focus on two key aspects of this definition.
Digital is about technology convergence: In more than one way, digital adoption perfectly represents the concept “the sum is greater than its parts.” The combination of multiple technology themes ‒ SMAC, Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), etc.‒ is more powerful in resolving real business challenges than is employing each of them separately.
In other words, enterprises achieve the true power of digital adoption when they develop strategies that leverage and link the benefits of a broad number of digital technology solutions, e.g., engaging analytics using social and mobile data stored on a cloud infrastructure.
Digital adoption encompasses multiple layers of functionality and technology enablers across enterprise value chains and business processes: Our research indicates that enterprises are investing in – and, more importantly, gaining significant value from – digital technology themes across the enterprise value chain and throughout various business processes. Far more than fancy marketing gimmicks, true digital adoption touches nearly every aspect of a business, with use cases ranging from employee engagement to supply chain transformation.
Finally, as the plethora of digital solutions, services, and developments indicates, the opportunities for digital adoption are ever-changing; the range of digital-enabling technologies and corresponding interfaces in the interaction layers is not a static concept, but instead is dynamic in nature. As such, the collection of available technologies across the interaction and enablement layers can change over time, creating new opportunities…and new challenges.
Have you been bitten by the digital bug? Keep your eyes on this space for findings from our soon-to-be-released report, North American Digital Adoption Survey – How pervasive is your digital strategy.