A few decades ago, fire departments in the UK were being inundated with calls. Their systems were strained. Something needed to change, so they looked at why they were getting so many calls. It turned out a large number were about ‘chip-pan fires’ – the oil people were using to fry their food was catching alight.
So rather than investing in more people or faster trucks, the fire service released a series of educational advert. These adverts ran through how to put out these kinds of fires. And they were a huge success. The number of calls dropped drastically, freeing the department to focus on more important issues.
This Mindset Is What Digital Transformation Is Really About
Most confuse the digital transformation with the technology we use today. They assume it means that we should use the latest, fanciest tools.
But that’s not the point. Technology is just a means to an end. Today, it’s digital. Tomorrow, it might be the ‘quantum transformation.’ Regardless of what we call it, it’s about using tools to free ourselves up so we can focus on more important matters.
Maybe that’s using a chatbot to deal with simple password changes. But you don’t start by trying to use a chatbot to be more digital. You start with the problem. ‘I have a lot of people getting in touch about changing their password. How can I solve that problem?’
Digital Transformation Is Also About the Pace of Change
In the past, it would take years for a new idea to spread and solve a problem. Now, it can be weeks.
So we need to evolve our mindset. It’s not just about approaching a problem in the right way. It’s now also about testing an idea immediately. Running pilots. Getting feedback. And failing fast, if need be.
Digital Transformation Is About the Whole Business
We’ve gone through a digital transformation ourselves. And we’ve learnt it needs to come from both direction. Your leaders need to back the idea, and give people the freedom to experiment. And the people at the bottom need to push their ideas upward.
You’ll see this with our own services. If you outsource your IT to us, you may have noticed we’re using more automation. We’ve also started rolling out data analytics to make sure we’re keeping track of problems before they happen.
So in the future, there are some problems we’ll solve before you even notice. Our machines will diagnose a problem and roll out a fix, before it even becomes an issue. But we didn’t decide to use data analytics because it was trendy. We saw a problem. We came up with a solution.
We stopped running around putting out fire. And started being proactive.
That’s digital transformation.