To survive continuous disruption, retailers know they have little choice but to embrace change on the path to disrupt, differentiate and delight. With no ready-made, off-the-shelf formula for success, navigating the journey is difficult. Calling on insights from leading enterprise architects, we've compiled a 30-page report of knowledge and practical steps that can accelerate your unique transformation journey. Subscribe below to receive the fast-read, power-packed topic tracks into your inbox as published.
Charting a practical course to the customer-centric universe
As digital technologies dramatically shifted business with opportunities to get closer to customers, Ebay, Amazon, and others changed retail forever. This means retailers around the world now compete on the same field, across categories and specialities. The key to remaining relevant and successful is creating new experiences, fast, that customers want and value. Josh Bernoff of Forrester Research describes it this way:
“More than any other factor, customer experiences determine whether companies thrive and profit or struggle and fade.”
This evolution can involve new channels, new service offerings (e.g. fulfillment methods), new products, adapting existing systems, or a combination of all of these. Digital disruption opens vast new market opportunities for retailers who have the vision, speed and ability to capitalize on them.
What is digital transformation and why is it the critical vehicle for customer-centric retail?
The implementation of a significant change in the way of doing business. It involves new business models, technology solutions, and customer experiences in response to a significant shift in market context and customer behavior resulting from the widespread adoption and innovative use of digital technologies. Digital transformation is a journey requiring a staged approach and a roadmap that takes into account the evolution of end goals as market dynamics change and innovations are introduced.
OneView’s report outlines how modern Enterprise Architecture (EA) helps business leaders plan, design, and manage the changes they must make to master the “experience” economy.
Navigating a journey without a defined destination where customers rule.
Because the disruptive retail landscape is fluid, organizations must embrace an adaptive mindset. The future will inevitably change during a multi-year transformation program. Organizations must be willing to rethink strategy, learn to cope with uncertainty, and adopt new approaches to planning and executing change.
A significant aspect of digital disruption is the shift in power to the customer. Tech giants such as Amazon, Google, Uber and Netflix have trained customers to expect more sophisticated experiences--rich information, convenience, fast response, innovations, continual evolution, and a ‘wow factor’. In today’s customer-centric world, business managers no longer determine requirements.
How do you manage this new and varied input stream? How do you increase speed to become responsive to changing expectations? How do you reduce associated risk? How long will customers remain loyal to retailers who stay with the status quo? When will they be attracted away by innovative offers and services from other retailers? Will foreign retailers swoop in and snag market share from their U.S. counterparts?
Retailers must become far more nimble to survive competitive moves and increase market share and revenue. Digital transformation drives business process improvements and operational efficiencies that increase margins, profitability, and survival.
Enterprise architecture + digital culture = successful transformation
Retailers must execute these changes while maintaining current operations, systems, and sales—a daunting challenge. And how to start is not always obvious. A logical strategy is to start small and proceed via a test-and-learn approach, discovering what scores with customers and executing accordingly. Organizations should choose a direction and pace of change aligned with their goals and circumstances. An appetite for investing and the capacity to execute changes are big factors.
Enterprise Architecture (EA) can be a vital part of the solution, helping navigate the increasingly complex environment by bridging business and IT. EA offers techniques to tackle complex business problems, design innovative solutions, and plan pragmatic roadmaps that enable large-scale programs to move forward with confidence and purpose.
Experienced enterprise architects bring broad expertise, a strategic outlook, technology knowledge, and analytical skills to deal with ambiguity and change on this unpredictable journey. EA combined with strong business leadership (backed by the Board) will create the right climate within the organization and establish a new “digital culture”. Speed of delivery, innovation, fast iteration, continual feedback, adaptability, and an enlightened attitude to both uncertainty and “failure” are key attributes of this new world.
Architecting the change journey
EA is described as “a modern approach to business and IT alignment”. It is a pragmatic approach to architecting change in organizations, especially where significant technology assets and new investments are involved. EA uses a conceptual framework for how parts of a business work together to deliver value to customers:
- Business strategy, structure and processes
- Data and information
- Technical platforms and infrastructure
This framework describes, analyzes, maps, and communicates how a business needs to change and transform over time in order to meet its goals. Enterprise architects perform a range of functions in architecting the change journey, including:
- Understanding short-term and long-term needs of the business
- Logically analyzing business problems and opportunities
- Identifying opportunities for change
- Working with business leaders to formulate strategy and paint a picture of the proposed future state
- Advising on new technologies and the opportunities they offer
- Identifying obstacles and mapping how to navigate a path forward
- Creating a pragmatic roadmap, recommending priorities, and defining projects
- Helping to mobilize the transformation program and commence projects
- Designing innovative solutions that consider multiple factors such as current assets, customer needs, processes, people, culture, and technology
Don’t miss the second installment in this series — How Enterprise Architecture and Enterprise Architects help shape and drive successful digital transformation. Sign up below to have it delivered instantly.