London, 9 February, 2022__ In a sea of rapid, continuous change, traditional companies will either need to deliver continuous transformation–or go extinct – according to a new report by NTT DATA, Acorio and ServiceNow that defines what successful transformation looks like in 2022. The report, which incorporates insights from seven executives from ServiceNow and NTT DATA across the globe, explores why experiences are still the focal point of transformation, the key criteria to building the capacity for successful change, and what’s ahead for digital transformation in 2022.
“We have entered a new era—one where leaders face constant uncertainty on all fronts. While having a vision and strategy at the forefront is still critical, it’s just as important to build the capacity to see changes on the horizon and respond to them with agility. Transformation is no longer just a project—it’s the defining skill set of tomorrow,” Hiroshi Sugiyama, Senior Vice President, NTT DATA Corporation, said.
Customer and employee experience remain the main driver for transformation
The executives interviewed for the report overwhelming agreed that businesses must maintain a focus on experiences as the driving force of transformation. However, according to NTT DATA’s Innovation Index, that’s easier said than done – nearly 60 percent of those surveyed said that customer needs and demands are changing too quickly to provide high-quality experiences. The same challenge extends to employee experiences—just 28 percent of respondents said that they are highly effective at providing flexible work options.
“Any transformation that you’re driving should deliver a better experience. If there is no improvement in experience, you might be digitising, but you’re not transforming,” said Dave Wright, ServiceNow’s Chief Innovation Officer.
The executives noted three opportunities to factor into digital transformation strategies going into 2022: aligning the entire value chain to serve the customer; bridging the front, middle, and back office for a better experience across the customer lifecycle; and embracing a “Total Experience” strategy that bridges customer and employee experience.
“Most people intellectually understand that if you build an amazing employee experience, that ultimately is going to drive a better customer experience,” Rick Wright, Senior Vice President of Customer Outcomes at ServiceNow, said. “But up until now they’ve been treating them like separate projects.”
Businesses need to build the processes to become better and faster at innovating
The need for innovation in today’s post-pandemic world is obvious – but the organisational capacity for it lags. More than one-third of organisations said in the NTT DATA Innovation Index that their culture holds back their investment in digital technologies and only slightly more than 40 percent of them have a proactive approach to innovation.
“In the past, you designed with the aim of lasting over time,” Andrea de Stefano, Vice President and Head of Business & Service Process Automation, NTT DATA, said. “Now, you need to design something that you already know will change, but you don’t know how it will change.”
Successful businesses in 2022 will have an agile culture that embraces change. The leaders interviewed for the report advocate for a bold approach to pushing through four challenges to build the capacity for successful change:
- Setting a vision for the future employees can rally around
- Bringing the right people together
- Choosing the right technology
- Tracking value in real time and adapt as needed
“This weird world we’ve been living in for the past two years, with a pandemic of this scale, has driven prioritisation criteria around what’s obviously urgent, like remote work,” Tara Garson Flower, Vice President of Customer Outcomes at ServiceNow, said. “Now, leaders know what they don’t want—manual processes, multiple systems, downtime—but they can find it hard to visualise what the possibilities for the future are.”
Three trends shape the future of digital transformation in 2022 – and beyond
The leaders identified three trends that will be critical in the evolution of digital transformation over the next 12 to 24 months.
Breaking away from horizontal and industry siloes
In the past, many organisations felt it was only possible to improve one function at a time. But now, businesses have the tools to evaluate holistic business processes and build a connected enterprise through the end-to-end transformation.
“Digital transformation can no longer be contained to any horizontal silo,” Ravi Asrani, Vice President, ServiceNow, said. “We’re seeing the tools of transformation come full force into the biggest challenges facing every industry. The stakes are rising—but so is the potential for impact.”
Embracing new technologies
As organisations continue their transformation journeys, they will continue to work to elevate their approach. NTT DATA visualises this as a technology adoption curve, moving from foundational technologies into emerging and future technologies. Organisations will chart their own journey across this technology adoption curve, while more technologies continue to emerge.
“Technologies like machine learning and AI will become a bigger part of those conversations,” Wright said. “Predictive analytics will become a core pillar for how they think about transformation. And, of course, they will continue to digitise more workloads.”
Creating meaning from data to focus transformation efforts
Technology advancements make digital transformation possible, but it’s data that makes them meaningful. And yet, data is still not driving decision making in many areas. Technologies like AI, machine learning, and predictive intelligence have surpassed buzzword status and will become integral elements of future digital transformations. Across all of them, the trend is to tap into the power of an organisation’s data to focus and prioritise efforts—then measure their success and adjust accordingly.
“Leaders are taking on the biggest transformation efforts of their careers—not just because the technology is there to support it, but because they know they will be irrelevant if they don’t,” Ellen Daley, Senior Vice President of Acorio, and NTT DATA company, said. “Leaders must recognise that to serve their customers better, they need to enable their partners and channels better. This transforms not only the partner’s experience, but the ultimate end customer’s experience.”