Businesses in Barbados are being warned to develop digital transformation strategies or face extinction.
This caution has come from Regional ICT Sales Manager for Barbados and the OECS at Productive Business Solutions (PBS) Ashish Uttamchandani, who pointed out that too many organizations continued to operate the way they did decades ago despite the introduction of new technologies.
He argued that by not undergoing a digital transformation, companies would become less competitive and simply forced to go out of business.
“So chief information officers and chief development officers must take responsibility for integrating digital [technology] into their businesses. We need to understand that customer expectations have changed . . . Technology isn’t about speed and bytes, we need to deliver real business value,” Uttamchandani told the opening of the Dell EMC and Productive Business Solutions digital transformation seminar at the Courtyard by Marriott on Wednesday.
“Every situation is unique, context matters, digital transformation is a marathon and not a sprint, and finally, organizations that do not transform and reinvent themselves will find themselves extinct,” he warned.
With the rapid development in technology and emergence of new industries, Uttamchandani said companies must adapt and do so quickly.
“The challenge is that today the environment is moving at a very accelerated rate yet businesses are relatively stagnant to some degree . . . So what we need to be able to do as governments and organizations is to be agile enough to not only be able to react to market demands, but be able to use data to forecast those analytics in terms of consumer behaviour and so forth,” he said.
“The interesting thing is that 45 per cent of business leaders are still at their initial stages of their digital strategy . . . So the world is moving at an accelerated rate yet businesses are nowhere near where they should be for a number of reasons and this varies across regions,” he said.
He said technology was only one component of the digital transformation, adding that one of the key components to drive adoption was that of culture.
He explained that it was important that there was a change in mindset in how people saw digital advancement.
“When you strip away the building the strategic plan and so forth, we are left with people. Culture has been proven several times through several research that it can be an inhibitor or what can propel you as an organization,” he said.
He said companies should create “an environment of innovation and for experimentation”, adding that companies should regularly update their strategies.
He said other critical components of the transformation process were training of staff members and setting of benchmarks.
“So we need to have a very diverse team to be able to achieve this digital transformation,” he said.
He said there were benefits to digital transformation including reduced costs and environmental benefits.
“We need to be able to shift our form of management style. Different generations have different expectations. So we look at cross-training, emotional intelligence and so forth,” he added.