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Digital transformation is constantly changing the way businesses and consumers interact with each other. In the simplest scenario, digitalisation is implemented by mapping a “physical” information process to a digital counterpart, aiming to produce the service more quickly and at a lower cost to customers. However, the greatest opportunity for using digitalisation is in business innovations that could disrupt the market. This may lead to a significant competitive advantage and should be the main objective for all companies going digital.
We will briefly explain how to unleash the potential of digital transformation for your business, enabling you to cut costs and lead times for your future innovation projects.
To begin harnessing the benefits of digital business opportunities, your company will need to set up an innovation process including idea gathering, validation and creation of prototypes. The customer should be involved with the innovation process to enable constant feedback and validation. Doing so leads to continuous refinement of the product and a better match with customer expectations. Since the input from the market may be constantly shifting the final objective of the project, agile methodologies of software development should be chosen over waterfall models.
The ability to validate concepts, as well as dismiss those that do not resonate with your customers, will quickly maximize the number of ideas that can be experimented with, and therefore increase the probability of focusing on initiatives that are more likely to succeed. Using this method of working will put your business in a competitive position in relation to your competitors.
An example of this culture can be taken from the gaming industry, where Supercell dismissed fourteen potential projects in the process of creating its four blockbuster games. Only a small proportion of the projects started were ultimately developed into a finished product and launched to the public.
To accelerate digital innovation, ensure that your internal business applications and processes are available externally via an easy to use but secure API. Loose coupling of your internal business data with external customer-facing applications reduces costs and accelerates innovation by preventing the need to repeatedly connect the source application to your external application to update recent changes.
Not only do APIs improve productivity for creating new applications, but they may also enable customer, community or partner-driven application development initiatives, allowing third parties to build innovative applications on top of your own data. These third-party applications can lead to improved sales of your core offering and better customer satisfaction with minimal investments. In addition to the improved sales of your core offering, APIs may open new business opportunities via monetization of the data provided by the APIs.
In the context of APIs, remember that developers are your customers. For successful API adoption, optimal developer experience, i.e. capability to find, understand and utilize the API, is crucial.
Modern cloud platforms offer infrastructure (as a service) but also building blocks (Platform as a Service) that enable developers to focus on the development of the actual service, whilst leaving the infrastructure work to the cloud provider.
In addition to traditional IT services such as storage and databases, cloud platforms also provide a large portfolio of more sophisticated services, including Internet of Things, data processing, and analysis; all at the click of a button. Such platforms enable development of high-end data-intensive solutions, with minimal up-front investment or commitment, minimal development effort and minimal delays.
Cloud platforms are the perfect environment in which to develop and maintain applications from concept to production, as they offer both the flexibility required in the prototyping phase and the scalability and durability required by production systems.
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