Digital transformation and the ability – or inability – to scale are important topics, and I talked with many executives at Oracle OpenWorld 2019 about their experiences. I was particularly energized and inspired by the lively exchanges in the Executive Forum session I hosted with Ellen Dowd, senior vice president of Hitachi Social Innovation Business. In conversation with senior executives from many industries, we explored impediments to digital scaling and fielded some practical tips for breaking the “digital ceiling.”

From hindsight to insight to foresight

The real power of data is in the insights and foresights you can gain from it. Although many companies are doing well gathering hindsights from their data, few are gathering real-time insights, and even fewer are generating the foresights that can optimize their processes and increase their asset utilization.

Digital technology unlocks the insights and foresights that reside in your data so that you can drive business outcomes. When you harness the power of digital data, you can:

  • Fuel growth by creating new revenue streams and expanding your business. With digital data you can create new business models and offer your customers new services.
  • Improve your bottom line by reducing your costs and driving margin expansion initiatives across the enterprise. Digital data enables better asset utilization, improved employee productivity, optimized process efficiency and increased visibility into supply-demand cycles.

The benefits are significant, but many organizations still struggle to fully operationalize digital innovations or realize value beyond small, targeted initiatives. In fact, a recent survey of executives found that digital transformation risk is their primary concern, but 70% of all digital transformation initiatives do not reach their goals.

At Hitachi, we know that the answer is to look beyond digital transformation solely from the perspective of the technology. To break the digital ceiling and reap the full value of your data, you need to focus on your organizational structure: What do you need, across your enterprise, to compete and win? The root cause of most digital transformation failures is the inability to scale.

Three pillars for successful scaling

Scaling requires moving beyond one-off digital projects and proofs of concept to fully operationalized digital solutions that unlock the value chain and deliver real benefits. The biggest barrier to digital transformation at scale is organizational misalignment. Your organizational alignment and structure must be right to drive change across your enterprise. In other words, you cannot use an "analog structure" to drive digital transformation.

When your organizational structure is aligned and you have the right people in the right roles, you will break the digital ceiling. Then you’ll find that the other issues are more manageable. To succeed, you must go beyond technology to embed digital mindsets and processes across your organization so that solutions fuel growth – and are sustainable.

Doing anything at scale is a change management exercise. Doing digital at scale requires massive change management – and the power of organizational inertia or resistance should not be underestimated. To make sure your organization is structured for success, focus on the business outcomes you want, not just on technology adoption.

At Hitachi, we have identified three pillars that can help you break the digital ceiling:

1. Identify the outcomes you want to achieve.

2. Challenge your current corporate structure. Align your organization to create the right balance between optimized processes, behavioral changes and technology implementation.

3. Focus on digital scaling to optimize results – and be sure to embed continuous improvement into the process.

Hitachi brings expertise and an outcomes-based approach

To create a perfect dish, you need the right ingredients and a proven recipe. Hitachi has both. Our consultants have proven expertise with deep industry experience and knowledge of change management, IT, operational technology (OT) and the internet of things (IoT).  

We know that no two organizations are alike. That’s why we bring a proven methodology to adapt to industry dynamics and your enterprise’s nuances and requirements. Our methods have been tested and proven in three important ways:

  • Hitachi itself has constantly evolved. To advise our customers, it is imperative that we see market shifts before they happen. Only then can we learn and unlearn to help our customers.
  • We have partnered with our customers across the globe in their digital transformation journeys.
  • Most importantly, we have helped a number of our own Hitachi Group companies evolve within their respective industries and the markets they serve by transforming their manufacturing plants, distribution centers, assembly lines, and heavy equipment and fixed assets, increasing asset utilization and more. We have the foresight to anticipate and prevent problems based on the deep expertise we developed helping these companies.

At Hitachi, we work with you, taking a collaborative approach to solving problems. We focus on real business value and outcomes and then work backward to identify the needed people, process, organization and technology changes to achieve those outcomes. By working together, we’ll bring your organization the insights and foresights you need to break your own digital ceiling.

We invite you to learn more about the Secrets to Scaling Digital and keep the dialog going.