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For executives, transforming an enterprise is always difficult

For executives, transforming an enterprise is always difficult, but when an enterprise is highly profitable - digital transformation is even harder. The temptation to follow the maxim, "Don't fix what isn't broken," is just too compelling.  "When you average 8% same-store sales [growth] for 35 years, it can breed a sense of, 'Why do we need to change? Things are working,'" John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, said in a recent interview with "The Wall Street Journal."  Today, however, Whole Foods is struggling to compete with other lower-priced grocery stores that have embraced organics and healthier foods.  If you take your eye off the game for a second, consumers will change directions on you.

The challenge enterprises are faced with today is that digital technologies are changing the way consumers behave faster and in different ways than executives have ever seen before.  Today's profits can hide or mask the serious problems of tomorrow.

Competitors can't compete, and leaders can't lead if they don't know the rules of the game.  Understanding how the game is played, and how points are scored, are key to any competition.  In the age of digital transformation these are some of the key rules to learn in order to score:

  1. Data is the modern commercial playing field, information dominance is your goal, those that can "act and with speed" have the advantage over those which cannot.
  2. Advantages in the speed of data-driven decision-making, automation, robotic process automation will dictate the winners of tomorrow.
  3. Complexity is the enemy of agility, and acts as poison from the past.
  4. It takes an optimized Information Logistics Systems (OILS) to support real-time digital interactions.
  5. Faster operational tempos and information logistics systems - open up a plethora of new business opportunities and business models.
  6. Precision and real-time data beats estimates and conjecture.
  7. Digital interactions require real-time business operational tempos.
  8. Bad data will make the smartest systems dumb.
  9. Competitive advantages from new technologies depreciate quickly - so act fast.
  10. Situational awareness enables management to focus on the knowns, rather than the unknowns.
  11. Demand for real-time digital customer interactions increases the need for contextually relevant and personalized user experiences and digital transformation across all systems and processes.
  12. Data has a shelf life, and the economic value of data diminishes quickly over time, and the more data that is collected analyzed and used, the greater the economic value it produces in aggregate. In addition, the economic value of data multiplies when combined with context and right time delivery.
  13. Digits can be changed faster than the human mindset.

These rules not only help you understand how to compete and win, but they should also guide enterprises in their development of a digital transformation doctrine - a guiding and unifying statement as to the purpose, desired effect and outcome that is wanted.

These rules not only help you understand how to compete and win, but they should also guide enterprises in their development of a digital transformation doctrine - a guiding and unifying statement as to the purpose, desired effect and outcome that is wanted.

I invite you to watch my latest short video on digital technology trends and strategies:

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Kevin Benedict
Senior Analyst, Center for the Future of Work, Cognizant
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

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Kevin Benedict is an opinionated futurist, Principal Analyst at the Center for Digital Intelligence™, C4DIGI.com, emerging technologies analyst, and digital transformation and business strategy consultant. In the past 8 years he has taught workshops for large enterprises and government agencies in 18 different countries, and is a keynote speaker at conferences worldwide. He spent nearly 5 years working as a Senior Analyst at Cognizant (CTSH), and 2 years serving in Cognizant's Center for the Future of Work where he wrote many reports, hundreds of articles, interviewed technology experts, and produced videos on the future of digital technologies and their impact on industries. He has written articles published in The Guardian, wrote the Forward to SAP Press' book titled "Mobilizing Your Enterprise with SAP", published over 3,000 articles and was featured as thought leader and digital strategist in the Department of Defense's IQT intelligence journal. Kevin lectures and leads workshops, teaches and consults with companies and government agencies around the world to help develop digital transformation and business strategies. Visit his website at C4DIGI.com.