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This chapter is from the book

Seven Points to Ponder

Now this is not the end.
It is not even the beginning of the end.
But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
Winston Churchill, 1942

E-business has not taken its last breath—far from it. As these words are written, more companies worldwide are scrutinizing their businesses to determine what services or processes can be digitized. Timing is critical. Market leaders in various industries accepted the need for process digitization years ago and have been embracing it as a proven method for improving their business processes. The transition from process automation to digitized services has begun.

Critical points to remember regarding digitization: It's not just about technology; it is also about processes and execution. Managing digitization, from vision to implementation, is where you will either succeed or fail.

We spotlight seven points for you to ponder while you digest the chapter:

  1. The current business environment has been described in terms of "chaos," "revolution," or simply "change." There is a clear pattern that can be gleaned from the turmoil: nonstop digitization of business processes.

  2. Services digitization builds on the efforts of e-business and e-commerce. Digitization is the outcome of the nonstop business need to be more customer-driven and process-centric.

  3. A successful digitization effort is one in which the company treats technology not as a sole solution, but as an enabler for innovating, improving, and integrating business processes. Process digitization has three dimensions: the type of interactions (uni- versus multi-channel), the scope of integration (business unit versus cross-enterprise), and the degree of digitization (manual to real time).

  4. Good companies have a clear focal point; mediocre ones don't. Managers should devote themselves to determining a focal point to anchor ongoing digitization efforts. Align digitization projects with your strategy, such as being Easy To Do Business With or offering an Every Day Low Price.

  5. A focal point by itself is not enough. Digitization cannot be accomplished or managed without a blueprint that supports the focal point. Blueprints translate an organization's strategic objectives into process and applications that, in turn, drive operational results.

  6. Three different blueprints—process improvement, strategic improvement, and business transformation—exist based on the scale of impact you want to make. Before going ahead with a digitization project, determine which blueprint is appropriate for you.

  7. Finally, be patient. As the GE and Wal-Mart case studies show, process digitization is not a quick fix. You must successfully execute one project at a time. A digitization project draws resources from many distinct areas of a company. Overseeing and coordinating a digitization project at all times is exceedingly important.

Services are the new currency of business. Offering the fastest service, the best value, or the highest-quality product need not be a pipe dream. Services digitization is the vehicle through which your company can think on its feet and respond to customers with lightning speed. If that sounds relevant to you, read on.

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