Embrace the spirit of what's possible. Create sustainable business value with focus on digital fitness.

November 25, 2022

4 Min Read
6, six

By Sanjib Sahoo


Sanjib Sahoo

The beginning of a new year traditionally generates a spate of resolutions to get physically fit. Each year, many try and fail. The same can be said about business goals, particularly those around digital transformation. Many try and, again, many fail. Why? Because digital transformation isn’t a resolution or a project to complete. It’s about introducing a spirit of change within your team that embraces the art of possible.

Whether big or small, today’s organizations must become digitally fit to stay relevant and thrive now and in the future. They must think differently about how to balance experience and automation, talent, and technology. It’s not easy, but it is possible.

6 Digital Fitness Tips

For those who want to push forward, here are six ways your company can create and capture sustainable business value by making digital fitness its New Year’s IT resolution:

  1. Focus on value: Businesses spend trillions of dollars on technology and yet their approach to digital transformation is often less than successful. The technology doesn’t produce the expected value. Stakeholders are unsatisfied with the ROI. The reason is too often companies build technology in isolation, then try to commercialize it. Meanwhile, technology is changing, and business needs are changing. The No. 1 shift must be learning how to perform value transfer for technology that you innovate or provide. Moving the mindset to relevance and value first will promote longevity.

  2. Evaluate your legacy systems: In becoming more digitally fit, you need to perform a wellness check of your legacy systems. Are they flexible enough to build new technology on? Can they serve as the right foundation for a digital ecosystem? Most companies struggle with this. Often, the optimal way forward is to modernize your systems. However, most companies need to conserve spending. It’s imperative to take stock and identify what you might be able to use before adding new digital tech.

  3. Make data work for you: Most companies talk about data, but they don’t understand what to do with data. Think of using data as a product, making sure you can create a harmonized data mesh or a data foundation across all your systems and create a single source of truth. Also ensure you can easily and securely share the data. This enables you to create an AI and machine-learning factory to serve as the data foundation for digital operations and innovation.

  4. Let go of digital misconceptions: Digitization isn’t only about automation or hyper-automation. Start by thinking about how to deliver a better customer experience, employee experience, or vendor experience. Once you focus on the experience, automation or new application development can follow. Technology is the tool to deliver the experience, but not the endgame. To help customers become digitally fit, think first about what they need, and then think about how to solve for that need. Technology that delivers value should follow from this process.

  5. Embrace consumerization: Think of a Sunday-style experience on a business Monday. Consumers love to “order in,” to have pizza and chips arrive after a quick touch on a delivery app. Businesses want that same experience when buying solutions or working with providers to improve their operations. Businesses that understand consumerization is the top priority will have the best chance of retaining customers.

  6. Think customer, not project: Moving from a project-based organization to a customer-focused organization is necessary to become digitally fit and move along with the market’s changing requirements. There’s no room here for “set it and forget it” thinking. The customer and product mindset is especially important because that’s how you focus on feedback, foster engagement, and create a better experience through innovation.

Create Your 2023 Digital Training Model

Fitness trainers work with their clients to design a program that encompasses exercise, strengthening and a healthy diet. Businesses can use this model to devise a 2023 digital fitness plan to get them on the right track to better digital health.

To gauge your fitness, evaluate your legacy systems for future use and identify needed improvements in data collection and analytics. Also, determine how much of a change in your cultural mindset is needed. Putting the customer first and thinking about value every step of the way are both essential to digital fitness.

Sanjib Sahoo is the executive vice president and chief digital officer of Ingram Micro, a worldwide leader in technology distribution. He is leading its global digitization, including that of the company’s digital twin, Ingram Micro Xvantage. He has also been involved in leading digital transformation in the financial services and transportation industries. Sahoo has won awards for his leadership and technology innovation, including being one of 10 global executives named to the 2021 Business Transformation Hall of Fame. He is a graduate of Harvard Business School and holds several patents for data and streaming technologies. He is a contributor to Harvard Business Review and a TED speaker. You may follow him on LinkedIn or @IngramMicroInc or @SahooSanj on Twitter.

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