It’s all about events
One thing all digital transformations have in common is that they produce huge amounts of different events. An event can be a purchase, a change in a system, or a temperature change in a building. An event happening one place, could trigger another event somewhere else. The sum of all events is the customer's experience, and it should be value-added, friction-free, scalable and always available.
From Data Driven to Event Driven
Historically, most distributed computer systems have interacted by exchanging information or instructions to one another. An event-driven architecture distributes real-time information based on changes in the state of the individual service. The approach is far more flexible because the systems become independent of each other.
Companies that want to become more data-driven should instead build their services around events. In short, an event is a change of state or occurrence that can be recognized, transmitted, processed or reacted to by other applications. This means that events should be seen as the very lifeblood of a business. And for that very reason, it is the businesses that have good insight, ability, understanding and, most importantly, a well-thought-out strategy for managing events, that will succeed with digital transformation. Because it is only when you can handle everything in real time that you can really act in a customer-centric fashion.
Technology development has opened up competition outside of adjacent industries
The world looks fundamentally different today, compared to just a few years ago. Technology development has made local businesses global. Technology has become cheaper and widely available, which has resulted in relatively protected markets facing stronger competition from all over the world. Not only from adjacent industries, but from smaller and agile start-ups that do not have the disadvantage of old, technical debt.
Companies that have developed new ways of using technology based on an event-driven architecture. This, in turn, has led to a drastic change in customer expectations. Both consumers and business customers have become far more aware that the goods and services they buy, actually deliver upon they promise and that they are simple and intuitive to use.
Customer-centric a critical success factor
Event-driven architecture, micro-services and adjoining principles are key components to the success of digital transformation. In order to become truly customer-centric. At the same time, the approach is both unfamiliar and somewhat difficult. The need for new digital expertise is therefore crucial. And since the ability to put together new technology and develop software becomes a key component of how the business will succeed in becoming customer-centric, it is important that this becomes a core competency and not a support function in the business.
Customer experience is a core business objective
The customer's experiences must be a core business objective, together with a strong focus on delivering products and services solve the customer's challenges. This requires moving away from a classic project mindset and into a modern methodology based on an agile approach, where one is willing to experiment and fail, and where the goal is to launch continuous minimum viable products (MVP) to quickly turn ideas into reality.
Four key factors for digital transformation success
- Businesses must possess the right digital expertise. External expertise can solve challenges in the short term, but digital competence must become a natural part of business units in order to continuously identify challenges and opportunities. Digital expertise is strategically important. And strategic values should not be left to external resources.
- Businesses must move from a classic project mindset to modern methodology and product development processes, where one is willing to fail and learn. In today’s business environment it is not feasible to work with a new product or service for years before launching. Instead it has become imperative to establish a culture where you work continuously with a number of initiatives that have shorter or longer lifespan.
- Businesses must ensure that what is developed can function as scalable, flexible and independent building blocks. And in order for the building blocks to be able to work and communicate with each other in ever-new ways, the right architecture is crucial.
- Businesses must become customer-centric and place the customer at the center of how to think, plan and develop. Customers are not concerned with whether the business is data- or event-driven, but they are concerned about what problems the business solves for them.
By testing out new products, although they are not necessarily the final product, you will get a unique opportunity to get customer feedback, as well as make important changes early in the project. In addition, this could help you to make the projects less expensive, and thus reduce the risks compared to projects that run internally and often over several years at the time.