Everyone with an Internet connection has heard the story about Ronald Wayne, the co-founder of Apple who sold his 10% stake in the company in 1976 for $800. That 10% today, of course, would be worth billions.
The tech community loves to hate this poor guy, citing a lack of vision, entrepreneurship, etc., but one thing that doesn’t really get brought up is: Why didn’t he buy back in?
Ronald Wayne has personal reasons for not becoming an investor in Apple stock, and therefore supporting a technological revolution, but what about your organization?
If you missed the big investment opportunity in technology to support your business, should you just muck it and invest in stamps and coins, the way Ronald Wayne did? Because you weren’t able to get in on the ground floor, should you opt not to buy in now, even though the price is much higher?
Well, that’s a big decision, and before you decide, consider the case of Kodak. Kodak was a chemical company that made cameras and film, and most of their expertise lay in photochemistry. Even with the knowledge of Moore’s law (which theorized transistors would become exponentially smaller, therefore providing a huge opportunity for digital cameras) Kodak ignored this and continued its path of film photography.
Long story short, digital technology completely disrupted the film industry and Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012.
A report from McKinsey estimates that companies that ignore digital disruption will see revenue drop 12%, while those that embrace it will see 16% growth.
Digital disruption is no longer an if, but rather a when—regardless of your industry.
But successful business leaders don't follow just for the sake of following, so what is the best course of action? In this post, we’ll examine a five-step action plan that can help you decide what moves will help your company acknowledge, catch up, and ride the wave of digitization.
How To Get Caught Up With Digital Disruption
Better late than never! If you have that feeling in the pit of your stomach that you’re behind in the digital revolution, take heart, because there are plenty of companies who feel, or have felt the same way, and did something about it.
For example, look at Intel. Back in 2012, the tech giant admitted that it underestimated mobile computing, which led to the makers of phones and tablets using the processors of Intel’s competitors like Qualcomm and ARM. But Intel isn’t laying down—with a renewed focus, the company believes it has the best mobile processors and is striking partnerships to get them into millions of devices.
An organized approach to digitalization is crucial for the late majority. Consider the following framework for your own digital transformation.
If you don’t where you’re going, you’re guaranteed to get there. Identify trends worth investing in early on and building out a roadmap to get there to the endpoints for various digitization efforts.
For example, are you looking for new revenue streams, increased operating efficiency, quicker product development timelines, or all of the above? Granted, some of the innovations that arise from digitalization are difficult to foresee, but finding areas you want to support is a great start.
Identify Quick Wins
Digital transformation can sometimes be an uphill battle, and it’s a lot easier to trek uphill if you have some momentum. Are there any areas of your company (the more visible the better!) that you can digitize quickly without any extra cost or personnel? If there are, plan to implement those and calculate your benefits in order to garner support for larger initiatives. An easy way to start is by using eSignatures rather than printing, signing, and scanning documents. They're easy to introduce and they help improve business efficiences by improving process.
Get Organization Support
If you’re behind the wave, digitalization will be a turnaround for your company. Rally support from the top down throughout the organization. Consider creating both communications plans to publicize the effort and contingency plans for if things drop off so you can press on.
Create The Plan And Budget
With your roadmap in hand, it’s time to plan all your purchases, timeline, and put metrics in place to gauge success. And of course, no major corporate change ever happens without a budget.
As you prioritize your digital transformation projects with your ongoing workload, it’s likely that your organization might be stretched too thin to try and accomplish both without additional staffing, especially in the IT department. If you’re not interested in signing on more full-time employees, consider using a consultant, or outsourced team, to accomplish your goals. Keep in mind, however, that digitalization often creates tasks (and sometimes entire roles) that didn’t exist before.
Digital disruption isn’t probably going to happen in your industry; it’s an eventuality. Although the idea of playing catch up isn’t exactly appealing, it’s far better than sticking your head in the sand and hoping the wave might miss you, because it won’t.
If you’re looking to get started with digital transformation, consider signing up for our free educational program: Digital Strength. It's a 12-course program that dives deep into topics of digital transformation.