6 Stages of Digital Transformation

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Ever heard of “Digital Darwinism”? - It’s us living, working and building companies in the era when technology and its impact on business and society are constant with inevitable degrees of evolution. Digital Darwinism ultimately created an environment, where businesses must “adapt or die”. To conclude - ignoring change is no longer an option for any organization across the world. To thrive in these times, many companies are investing in digital transformation, which, firstly, should begin with a radical shift in perspective.

63% of executives revealed that the pace of technology change in their organization was too slow. And the most frequently cited obstacle to digital transformation is a lack of urgency.
— MIT/Sloan Research

Digital transformation strategy of any organization must align with market changes. Companies should exploit new technology that serves as an enabler to compete at scale in the new (and rapidly changing) world. To guide organizations through the stages of digital transformation, a series of patterns, components, and processes have been identified and analyzed. That, in turn, led to the creation of these 6 distinctive levels of digital transformation maturity:

  • Business As Usual

  • Test & Learn    

  • Systemize & Strategize

  • Adapt Or Die

  • Transformed & Transforming

  • Innovate Or Die

Digital Transformation

What stage is your company at?


STAGE #1 | BUSINESS AS USUAL

“We’re profitable today! Why should we change?” is a common definition for this stage of digital transformation maturity. Processes and tools are scattered and decentralized across many departments within a company. If your organization is at the “Business As Usual” stage, there will be evident signs, like (1) lack of urgency, (2) outdated technology-first roadmaps and processes, (3) lack of understanding or infrastructure around digital, (4) technology is not viewed as a mechanism for optimization, scale, and efficiency in operations, (5) lack of “one” customer view across the organization, (6) marketing is still campaign-based across multiple social, digital, and traditional channels with little or no collaboration across different disciplines, (7) data exists in separate caches for every channel… And the list goes on.

STAGE #2 | TEST & LEARN

At this stage, teams usually still work in silos but become increasingly efficient at experimentation and tracking results. It takes a “change agent“ within a company to recognize that things aren’t working, that other businesses doing things differently and that it’s time to take action. That, in turn, might create an internal buzz and hype around change as well as amplify the chances for chaos as inconsistent experiments occur in isolation from other departments. At that point, companies start to courageously explore how to better understand the connected customer journey and start to invest in research, internal training programs, workshops etc. If your company is at the playground of “Test & Learn“, it is normally time to farewell with the comfort zone.

STAGE #3 | SYSTEMIZE & STRATEGIZE

Time to accelerate the speed of change! At this level of digital transformation maturity, companies are getting smarter, with its change agents seeing the bigger picture and starting to progressively work toward it. It’s when the corporate team begins to explore tech investments and partnerships to scale pilots and possibilities. Additionally to that, (1) metrics start to mature for investment optimization, (2) data becomes a fundamental tool for decision-making, (3) digital customer is placed at the center, (4) executive education is introduced, (5) digital literacy becomes a primary focus, and (6) most importantly, innovation as a strategy becomes a focal point to identify new business opportunities and potential disruption outside of the company.

STAGE #4 | ADAPT OR DIE

At this point, there comes a notable momentum, wherein change is recognized and appreciated by the entire organization. Businesses in this stage are becoming resilient. Efforts in digital transformation become intentional with short- and long-term goals supported by investments in infrastructure, people, processes, and technology. Resources are shared across departments (Data, CRM, Content, Education & Training and Governance). Remarkably, learnings gained through the digital transformation journey bring teams and executives together. New roles are established to further lead transformation in priority areas. Efforts shift from the traditional sales/marketing/commerce funnel to a more dynamic model that adapts change in technology and consumer behavior.

STAGE #5 | TRANSFORMED & TRANSFORMING

Digital transformation is no longer a temporary phenomena, but a gene in company’s DNA. At this stage, leadership establishes new agenda around culture, purpose, and the future of the organization. Digital literacy is now a way of leading and growing business. Learning becomes consistent, continuous and conscientious. Decision-making is optimized and focused on immediate and next-gen results. Every part of the organization is in sync, is aligned with goals and is responsible for jointly undergoing digital transformation and adapting innovative culture. Most importantly, new products and services are developed as a result of this transformation. Now, it is evident that organization is operating in a more unified manner with digital transformation efforts led by a governing body.

STAGE #6 | INNOVATE OR DIE

You did it! The teams/departments once dedicated to transformation and technology are now shifted toward innovation and disruption. It is when a culture of innovation ultimately becomes prevalent. Now, new models, roles, and investments shift towards innovation to accelerate transformation and identify new (unconventional) opportunities for business growth. At this stage, companies often form in-house innovation departments or centers or move those to an innovation hub around the country and even beyond. The main mission for these teams, naturally, vary but often include: (1) Recruiting new talents, (2) Identifying new technologies for internal/external piloting, (3) Investing in or acquiring startups, and (4) Scouting new opportunities for products and service development.

 
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What is your company’s level of digital transformation maturity? Book a free 1-on-1 consulting session with us to find out what data-driven steps your corporate can take to successfully undergo digital transformation.

 

Evaluating Startups: What Metrics Matter the Most?

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In the previous blog, we have discusses what are the “5 most important questions to ask your organization and yourself before going to bed with startups?” Now that you are ready to dive into the startup world, let’s review the essential metrics for startup evaluation to determine how suitable the case is for your needs and how likely it is to survive long-term.

It is important to understand that the company evaluation for early-stage startups and more advanced growth companies (aka scale-ups) can and will differ. The younger (the more early-stage) the company is, the more essential it is to remain focused on finding the first paying customers as soon as possible to find and prove the product-market-fit. Wherein growth companies fight for the firm position on a market space comparing to its competitors, set a steady revenue stream, scale its operations, grow the team and attract new investment/partnership opportunities. Hence, identifying what stage company your corporate seeks for will then determine what metrics matter the most in startup evaluation.

Since Catapult’s services rely heavily on data, only more advanced growth companies are to be seen in the data-pool, and consequently to be validated for startup-corporate collaboration. Metrics presented below correspond to the needs of corporates to find and collaborate with more advanced cases.


What metrics matter the most when evaluating a startup from corporate perspective?

 
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FINANCE DATA

  • Investments & Investors

  • Turnover

  • Valuation estimations

  • Estimates of the runway with present funding


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TRACK DATA

  • Descriptions of the product/service

  • Growth speed

  • Growth speed of the company compared to competitors

  • Presence in different medias weekly compared to competitors


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TEAM DATA

  • Founders & their success with previous ventures

  • Team members & their background

  • Employees growth

  • Board members & Advisers

 

In the next blog posts, we’re going to dive deeper into each data-driven metric and understand how to comprehend data to make conclusions on startup evaluation.

 

5 Questions to Ask Your Organization Before Partnering with Startups

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The global business landscape is transforming at a speed of light. Why? - Rapid digitization. Not only did it boost the creation of many new products and services, but a new way of thinking. Big companies, aka corporates, are now stepping up and speeding up the game by finding external technologies and innovations rather than developing those in-house.

In fact, based on the results of a recent survey (study by the Unilever Foundation) of 204 corporate brand managers and 114 startups about how their companies planned to collaborate together: 80% of corporates believe that startups can have a positive impact on a large company’s approach to innovation; 89% of startups believe they’re able to deliver business solutions which can scale. Great numbers, right?

Before acting on them and starting collaboration with startups, let's review some crucial questions that each corporate and its CTO (or Head of Digital) has to answer. 


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What questions you should ask your organization and yourself before going to bed with startups?

 

Question #1: Do you know what you want to achieve?

Sounds basic and trivial? Maybe. But often companies embrace startup-corporate collaboration for the wrong reasons, that are not aligned with company’s short-term and long-term strategies, across departments or among corporate’s leaders. Understanding what is the main target and why to partner with startup is crucial. It is also about setting preliminary goals in accordance with available resources (budget, people, time, know-how etc.) within organization.


Question #2: Did you decide what type of collaboration is suitable for your organization?

There are many ways to build collaboration with startups. Are you seeking for new technologies, innovations and solution providers to collaborate with? Is your main goal to find an investable company? Are you serious about acquiring a promising startup? Or perhaps you are looking into establishing in-house acceleration program? Or it is just about becoming a client for an interesting startup company utilizing / redistributing their products and services? Could it be something entirely different? Drawing a clear path for partnership is not only one of the main criteria for startup scouting and validation, but a fundamental internal strategy to be agreed upon in advance with staff involved in venture collaboration.


Question #3: Do you have a dedicated person or a team for venture collaboration?

Undertaking a project like finding new technologies or building sustainable relationship with startup(s) is a herculean task, that is not to be tackled alone. It would mean recruiting/assigning a dedicated person, or a team, or even an entire department to oversee venture-collaboration activities. It is of the essence to ask: Can we validate ourselves which startups/technologies are the right ones, or we do recruit an external partner with in-depth knowledge about startup ecosystem? Are we going to scout relevant technologies through digital tools, consulting firms, events or elsewhere, and what human resource do we need in accordance to the chosen path? Assigning roles and responsibilities before diving into the world of startups and growth companies is one way to minimize risks and assure successful collaboration.


Question #4: How do you feel about the future of your industry, and your company’s place in it?

Take a look at your industry, its trends, its market leaders, its growth. Nowadays, timing is a pressing matter. With more Ubers and AirBnBs challenging big traditional players, corporate giants need to act fast to the changes in the industry, predict future trends and compete with new, more agile growth companies and technologies. Approach it as a standard interview question: “How do you see your organization in 5 years?!” And continuing: Will the industry still exist? Are you confident that your current direction will strengthen your position on the market in the near future? Are you fast enough to find promising technologies, growth companies and innovators? What are other corporates doing in this focus area and are they succeeding?“ Senior management needs to understand how new technologies may impact their business field in order to recognize and develop relevant solutions.


Question #5: Are you ready to adapt startup culture?

Good startups are like good programmers. You don't choose them, they choose you. Ask yourself: what can we offer to a startup? Are we sexy enough? Can we move along with the same speed? Here are just a few major differences and pitfalls in innovation and organizational structure that you might face: (1) Startups cannot be approached top-down way, but rather at eye level. (2) Failure is a natural milestone for a young company, wherein in many corporates even the slightest sign of failure has a heavy cost for those involved, hence are often avoided and not openly acknowledged. (3) Things move at a speed of light in a startup company - few months can mean growth or death valley, new corporate deals, radical pivoting etc., wherein corporates might take months just to make a decision on venture collaboration.

At the end of the day, it’s all about expectation management, ambition level, speed and adaptability. Senior management has to be ready to adapt, make fast decisions, and throw overboard conventional and tested ways of thinking, i.e. be curious and open-minded.


Let’s see whether you’re ready to collaborate with startups?

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Top 10 Digital Transformation Trends in 2019

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SMEs and corporates alike are in the process of planning next year’s budget, KPIs and strategies. Here is what to expect in the upcoming 2019: the reappearing trends in digital transformation and the new ones that are expected to kick off.

Most organizations project that 50%+ of their revenue will come from digital by 2020, while the World Economic Forum estimated that digital transformation will contribute over $100 trillion in value to businesses and society by 2025. Spoiler alert: one of the biggest digital transformation trends that organizations will take a note of is the change in leadership innovation. A recent Randstad study found that 95% of 3,000 surveyed companies believed they needed a new and different types of leadership to address the impact that digitization will have on their operations.

In today’s era of volatility, there is no other way but to re-invent. The only sustainable advantage you can have over others is agility, that’s it. Because nothing else is sustainable, everything else you create, somebody else will replicate.
— Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder
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The fundamental trend which is seen throughout this year and is expected to grow even stronger in the upcoming 2019 is the corporate ability to stay lean, agile, innovative, make fast decisions on digital transformation, experiment and deploy new emerging startup technologies to take digitalization to the next level - both internally (company-wide infrastructure) and externally (services/products for customers).

Stay tuned for more industry insights and digital sneak peeks!

Yours, Catapult team.


Source:

https://www.zdnet.com/article/the-biggest-lessons-learned-in-digital-transformation/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/danielnewman/2018/09/11/top-10-digital-transformation-trends-for-2019/#4e7644d23c30

https://aimconsulting.com/insights/blog/digital-transformation-emerging-trends-for-2019/

Corporate-Startup Collaboration: Barriers and Solutions - The wrap-up & Recommendations

Digital technology is undeniably altering every industry and driving changes in business models and creating online platforms. Companies with the ability to change faster and co-create efficiently are much more likely to survive these disruptions. Collaboration with startups and scale-ups is an increasingly important mechanism for corporations to stay on top of the innovative and changing markets, and allows them to play in the same space with the disruptors without being played out from the game.

For corporations already taking part in some sort of collaborative programs with startups, we can't emphasize the speed of this process enough. In this blog series, we have suggested ways for corporations to streamline startup collaboration. Companies that aren't yet utilizing startups in their business development needs, we urge you to start NOW. Although startup collaboration, (heck, any partnerships) is risky, not taking advantage of the opportunities that scale ups bring is way riskier. We all know examples of once great companies, who ruled the markets and had no worries in the world of losing that competitive edge. These companies lacked the vision and drive to innovate and lost to the disrupters.

If your company isn't playing with the startups yet, we're urging you to at least compare the costs and benefits of that option to your current corporate innovation strategy. And finally, when you come to your senses, we're here to help! We are experts in finding the right startups for your business development needs. If you're ready to disrupt your industry fill out THIS form and we'll help you write your next success story!

Our final tips and conclusions for Corporations:

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