Digital Transformation


Moving boldly doesn’t mean moving thoughtlessly, however. Bold action and the ability to learn are highly interrelated. The real-time ability to learn during a crisis is, in fact, the one ingredient that can turbocharge your ability to scale quickly.

Every company knows how to pilot new digital initiatives in “normal” times, but very few do so at the scale and speed suddenly required by the COVID-19 crisis.

As the COVID-19 crisis forces your customers, employees, and supply chains into digital channels and new ways of working, now is the time to ask yourself: What are the bold digital actions we’ve hesitated to pursue in the past, even as we’ve known they would eventually be required? Strange as it may seem, right now, in a moment of crisis, is precisely the time to advance your digital agenda boldly.

What does it mean to act boldly? We suggest three areas of focus towards innovating entirely new digital offerings, deploying design thinking and technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) at scale across your business, and doing all of this “at pace.”


Just as digital platforms have disrupted value pools and value chains in the past, the COVID-19 crisis will set similar “ecosystem”-level changes in motion, not just changes in economics but new ways of serving customers and working with suppliers across traditional industry boundaries.

For example, in the immediate term, most organizations are looking for virtual replacements for their previously physical offerings or at least new ways of making them accessible with minimal physical contact. The new offerings that result can often involve new partnerships or the need to access new platforms and digital marketplaces in which your company has yet to participate.

As you engage with new partners and platforms, look for opportunities to move beyond your organization’s comfort zones. Focus on getting visibility into the places you can confidently invest valuable time, people, and funds to their best effect.


Design thinking, which involves using systemic reasoning and intuition to address complex problems and explore ideal future states, will be crucial. A design-centric approach focuses first and foremost on end-users or customers. But it also helps make real-time sense of how suppliers, channel partners, and competitors are responding to the crisis, and how the ecosystem that includes them all is evolving for the next normal emerging after the immediate crisis fades.

Going beyond current business propositions requires taking an end-to-end view of your business and operating models. Even though your resources are necessarily limited, leading companies’ experience suggests that focusing on areas that touch more of the core of your business will give you the best chance of success, in both the near and the longer term, than will make minor improvements to noncore areas.

Organizations that make minor changes to their business model’s edges nearly always fall short of their goals. Tinkering leads to returns on investment below the cost of capital and changes (and learning) that are too small to match the external pace of disruption.

In particular, organizations rapidly adopting AI tools and algorithms and design thinking, and using those to redefine their business at scale have been outperforming their peers. This will be increasingly true as companies deal with large amounts of data in a rapidly evolving landscape and look to make rapid, accurate course corrections compared with their peers.


While the outcomes will vary significantly by industry, a few common themes emerge across sectors that suggest “next normal” changes to cost structures and operating models going forward.

  • Supply-chain transparency and flexibility.

Near daily news stories relate to how retailers worldwide are experiencing stock-outs during the crisis, such as toilet-paper shortages in the United States. It’s also clear that retailers with full supply-chain transparency before the crisis— as well as algorithms to detect purchase-pattern changes—have done a better job navigating during the crisis. Other sectors, many of which are experiencing their supply-chain difficulties during the crisis, can learn from their retail counterparts to build the transparency and flexibility needed to avoid (or at least mitigate) supply-chain disruption in the future.

  • Data security.

Security has also been in the news, whether it’s the security of people themselves or goods and data. Zoom managed to navigate the rapid scaling of its usage volume successfully, but it also ran into security gaps that needed immediate address. Many organizations are experiencing similar, painful lessons during this time of crisis.

  • Remote workforces and automation.

Another common theme emerging is the widely held desire to build on the flexibility and diversity brought through remote working. Learning how to maintain productivity—even as we return to office buildings after the lockdown ends, and even as companies continue to automate activities—will be critical to capturing the most value from this real-world experiment that is occurring. For example, in retail, there has been widespread use of in-store robots to take over more transactional tasks like checking inventory in store aisles and remote order fulfillment. These investments won’t be undone postcrisis, and those that have done so will find themselves in an advantaged cost structure during the recovery.


Moving boldly doesn’t mean moving thoughtlessly, however. Bold action and the ability to learn are highly interrelated. The real-time ability to learn during a crisis is, in fact, the one ingredient that can turbocharge your ability to scale quickly.

In extreme uncertainty situations, leadership teams need to learn quickly what is and is not working and why. This requires identifying and learning about unknown elements as soon as they appear.


Techwave’s Digital Value Map (DVP) is a capability driven assessment framework for your digital transformation.

As discussed so far, most organizations that have been for several years into their digital transformation journeys are now looking to measure their progress, gauge maturity, benchmark against peers in their industry, and bridge the maturity level gap.

But before you become digitally different from within and from others, you need to understand where you are? Where do you start? Where do you focus your efforts? And as your firm matures, how do you know you are on the right track? We call it digital maturity.

One of the things holding the organizations back from broader digital transformation progress is the lack of a clear, industry-oriented roadmap. The Digital Capability Assessment Framework is a useful tool to provide a clear path throughout the transformation journey. We can help you assess your existing capabilities and guide you in your digital transformation.

  • What does DVP do?

Digital Value Map helps businesses plot their organizational maturity, offers comparative benchmarks, and guides their actions to elevate digital capabilities.

One can assess the digital capabilities model’s capability to be accessed in terms of its maturity level. A maturity level of the ability is calculated by combining the maturity levels of the powers that belong to constituent building blocks.

The maturity levels’ assessment results can establish a digital strategy and plans to improve an organization’s overall levels of digital capabilities.


It’s often the case in human affairs that the most significant lessons emerge from the most devastating times of crises. We believe that companies that can simultaneously attend to and rise above the critical and day-to-day demands of their crisis response can gain unique insights to both inform their response and help ensure that their digital future is more robust coming out of COVID-19 than it was coming in.

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