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22 mei 2020 | Erwin van Laethem

I was inspired reading "Digital Transformation. Know How" by Stijn Viaene, Professor at Vlerick Business School. Content resonated, timing could not be more perfect and context could not be more relevant.

Right from the start the book connects digital, transformation, agility & leadership, which sums up the essence. Prof. Viaene provides stakeholders & practitioners with accessible & compact language, crucial stages for the transformation roadmap and vital leadership practices.

Digital transformation is about investing in the core and growing the more.
Modern business strategy should be formulated around winning resource allocation choices, and readying the company to course-correct & respond in multiple possible futures. Lack of perspective and common language causes people and organisations to continue to struggle with digital transformation. Misunderstanding between boards, more or less digitally savvy management and project teams easily emerges while organisations are searching their way in a digital age.

The customer seamlessly navigates across online & offline channels and various brands and has therefore become a moving target. Customers attribute value to the full end-to-end customer experience : the product becoming the experience, the experience being the product. A prime objective for companies is to stay connected to the customer's digital self throughout the end to end journey through relevance and engagement. This requires capturing extensive customer data and resolving the often underestimated internal data logistics.

Partnerships & Ecosystems, Platforms & Network Effects all enable accelerated scaling towards a whole that is larger than the sum of the parts. As collaboration and co-creation with customers becomes the norm, also competition becomes a team play. Scaling 'agile' within a strong company wide frame raises the whole organisation to a next level of speed, flexibility and most of all customer centric responsiveness.

The way leadership acts and adapts makes the real difference. Digital transformation challenges are less about technology than they are about leadership & organisational practices. Providing space and demonstrating tolerance for ambiguity, failure and experimentation is essential. Investing in capability and establishing a learning environment of trust, openness and connect sets teams up for success. Leadership's ability to think systemically, connect people & ideas, along with the organisations capacity to explore and exploit opportunities faster than competition is what sets digital champions apart.

Prof. Viaene's book is a must read, beneficial to business leaders, practitioners and bystanders, the digital savvy and the curious.

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