Businesses are at varying stages of their digital transformation journeys, whether they’re at the forefront of innovation and setting the trends for their respective industries, or just now embarking. These businesses are driving digital throughout the enterprise, with a relentless commitment to rethink every asset, process, product, service and architecture within it.

With digital interest and activity at an all-time high, consultants are lining up outside of corporate boardrooms to show endless PowerPoint slides on the state of the digital revolution. No industry is immune to the risk of being “Uberized” (an overused term), and companies need to become 100% digital at the core.

There is no question about the external forces of change: disruptive technologies (blockchain, big data, artificial intelligence and virtual reality) that are enabling the creation of new product and service offerings in existing markets and creating new ones; shifting behaviors (such as mobile-first thinking) among core demographics; and the war over talent.

While companies have many resets to manage, what they really need to worry about, in most cases, are not the cool startups but the deep-pocketed and ever expanding innovators like Amazon, Apple, Google and others that are actively planning to dominate future industries.

This is why, as a core component of their digital transformation, companies should revisit their innovation capability, which is the core driver of value. Digital technologies, on the other hand, are only enablers. I’ve seen too many companies jump into blockchain or big data initiatives without the focus, value creation model or user-centric context that these projects require for success. Before they start to “build things,” businesses need to focus on the human capabilities needed to run their digital initiatives and ensure these programs are integral to a larger strategy that provides a map to the company’s digital future.

So the next time your board talks about digital transformation, let’s start with: human capital, strategic foresight and a new logic of value creation. The fact is, the difference between high-growth companies and innovation laggards lies not in the amount of money each group invests in R&D and digital technologies but in the faster-growing businesses’ assumptions about the future and how this shapes their strategy. From now into the future, disruption will be based on novel machine-human interactions and the ability to see through a human lens how new levels of productivity can be delivered through AI capabilities such as machine intelligence.

To understand the digital future – and the technological intelligence that will increasingly drive successful outcomes – we need to deconstruct human history and our ongoing relationship with technology. What we’ll discover is that humans co-evolve with technology. This, more so than technology, is an essential component of digital transformation: a deep understanding of humans and the dynamics of industry development.

Join Idris Mootee at Adobe Summit in Las Vegas next month, where he will further explore the intersection between “being digital” and being human. Please also stop by Cognizant’s booth to understand the interactive future of digital business. Cognizant is a Diamond sponsor at Adobe Summit.  

Idea Couture, A Cognizant Digital Business Company

Idris Mootee

Idris Mootee

Idris Mootee is a highly acclaimed strategic innovation expert with a long history of working as an advisor to top executives of... Read more