According to the Chinese, 2022 is the Year of the Tiger. It is definitely a stripe of a different colour! Volkswagen has proclaimed 2022 the Year of the ID Buzz. Could that electric car ever become as iconic and ubiquitous as the VW beetle used to be? But Treefrog has declared 2022 to be the Year of Digital Transformation. Let’s put Covid behind us and embrace the new normal of DT (otherwise known as DX)!
The Digital Revolution
Speaking metaphorically, businesses have already moved past the era of loading film into cameras and learning to operate digital camcorders. That was the Third Industrial Revolution – a k a the Digital Revolution.
But the next phase can be a bit daunting. This is now the beginning of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. “Transformation” is a noun that sounds a bit like destination. Yet many businesses are not there yet – they have started the journey but they know that they have not been fully transformed. Rather they are “transforming (a verb)”. As a digital agency, Treefrog’s core business is now transforming businesses to digital. We work with businesses holistically, to arrive at the destination of that journey.
What is Digital Transformation?
Even the word “digital” is used so much these days that it can be a bit ambiguous. What are we talking about? Using IT? Upgrading from electric typewriters to word processors, and from calculators to spreadsheets? Using the Internet? Trading on the Internet? Engaging on social media? Trading globally and exporting locally? Working from home? It means different things to different people.
So what does Treefrog mean by “Digital Transformation”? Sharpening our terminology goes a long way to making communication more meaningful.
And what about the pitfalls? Does DT improve customer satisfaction? Why? Is it the convenience factor of DX, like shopping online? Or do customers dislike being put on hold, or having to engage with digitalized answering machines?
Each business must define what they regard as the advantages of Digital Transformation. Some employees prefer a workplace to go to every morning. Others like working from home, on flexi-time. Are there ways to harmonize these two preferences? Can some employees attend meetings on Zoom while others sit around the (post-Covid) board room table? One key aspect is how Motivation can be enhanced by DT/DX? Could it be that it suits younger employees more than the veterans? But businesses need both of these to keep trim and to keep on track.
For many years, corporate Strategy was seen as the optimal element in business success. Then came another trending – that “organizational Culture” was the supreme element. How could the workplace make people feel safe and motivated? The truth is that DT has a great deal to do with the culture of your company. The ability to adapt and to keep up with the ways things are going, says a lot about you. This is the latest manifestation of what happened at the Productivity Revolution led by Frederick Taylor. Businessmen like Henry Ford took note, applying Taylor’s new approach to work, and integrating it into their forward way of doing things. The assembly line may seem passé to us, but it was very innovative a century ago. What we now call “digital disruption” is a hallmark of the learning organization.
About that time, a young Toronto man named George Weston was driving a delivery carriage (pulled by a team of horses) for a bakery at Yonge Street and Yorkville Avenue. The baker got up early and made fresh bread to be delivered to customers around the city, in the time-honoured tradition. The baker was the great-great-grandfather of Treefrog’s founder and owner. But George Weston was restless and believed that bread could be manufactured by machines and even sliced before delivery! This was unthinkable to master baker Frogley. So Weston founded his own company, which has since become one of Canada’s largest enterprises.
We need to look ahead, without being too much tied to our habits. John Kennedy once noted that “the man who rests on his laurels is wearing them in the wrong place”!
Adapting to Strategic Digital Processes
In 2022, this is not about mechanization, or even just replacing typewriters with word processors. It is about holistic, Digital Transformation. It is another revolution in the way people work. These stages started at the First Industrial Revolution with famous heroes like James Watt. This came at a later date to America. Can you remember the famous folk-song about John Henry? He drove railroad spikes in with a hammer, but in a contest with a steam drill, he lost. “Oh well, he hammered so hard, that it broke his poor heart, and he died with a hammer in his hand, Lord Lord…”
John Henry could not adapt. When the Productivity Revolution came along, brought to you by philosopher Fred Taylor, some businesses like Ford and Weston adapted. Now we are in the Year of Digital Transformation. 2022. Not just of ad hoc digital tools like the PC instead of the typewriter. This is about doing business online. It is a full and complete transformation of the way that your company operates and engages with your customers. As an agency, Treefrog exists to help your business go down this new path.
For example, have you adopted computerized word processing for correspondence, but you don’t store your data on the Cloud yet? Then you are transforming, but not yet transformed.
Digital Transformation as a Service (DTaaS)
Are you still printing all your messages on paper? Then you are not there yet.
Do you still buy and read books and newspapers? Do you scan and save all correspondence and finance documents, or just file the hard copies? Do you still use document storage services?
Do you still send print-media bulletins to your customers, or do these get sent through a “mail drop” over email? Or are you already using social media platforms to engage with your customers? Can they order your products or services online?
Do you use a custodian or a robot to vacuum the floors around your office? Do you use drones to deliver your products to customers?
Thinking holistically about Digital Transformation will take you into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It is the order of the day. Treefrog can help you get it right.