When was the last time you spoke to a customer? The answer to that question typically depends on which business unit you operate in. This means there are barriers within the business on understanding what the customer needs. Even though you already have solutions for your customers; more than likely, new innovation exists to meet additional unmet needs. These unmet needs, if addressed, could allow you to enter new markets or increase the margins of existing products. What happens then if technology is required to meet those needs and the most technically capable people in the organization do not work close with customers?
A recent IDC report indicated that global spending on Digital Transformation will exceed $1 Trillion this year. New disruptive technologies such as blockchain will be part of this Digital Transformation spending. However, Gartner predicts that through 2021, 95% of all blockchain implementations will fail due to inappropriate use or performance. Concurrency has successfully helped companies with blockchain technology, although it’s important to understand how to apply your limited IT spend for success.
Years ago, legendary Harvard Business School Professor Emeritus Theodore Levitt said, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!” This means, if you don’t know what your customer really needs, you are spending your Digital Transformation budget the wrong way. Sometimes customers cannot articulate their needs; such as through a VOC or Voice of Customer exercise, so you may need to observe how customers are using your product or a competitor’s product in unnatural ways. Overcompensation during the use of your product may mean that no such solution exists in your feature set. Situations like this might be solved with cutting edge technology, or simply restructuring your existing technology investments.
Another mistake companies typically make is during traditional SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). Many times, companies only look at threats within their own industry. Failing to consider emerging technologies in other industries means lack of application of such technologies within your own business may expose you to disruption by the first competitor who does. In the end we need better integration between technology experts in business experts with an emphasis on customer needs. We need to know more about how any why our customers use our products, because many times a customer is only buying our product to produce a result. Focusing on the results a customer is trying to achieve will allow you to also focus your budget to only develop those features with technologies and fully “realize” Digital Transformation.