4 minute read 10 May 2019
Businessman using a digital tablet

Three ways to decode the how of digital transformation

By

Richard Essigs

EY Americas Advisory, Consumer Products & Retail

EY Consumer Products. Career began stocking shelves and never really left. Banned from focus groups.

4 minute read 10 May 2019
Related topics Advisory Digital

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Ready to rethink everything? It’s time for bolder moves. 

Just 10 years ago, leading consumer product companies were well-positioned to stay ahead of changing consumer behavior. Talent was readily available. Their differentiating processes allowed them to dependably churn out a stream of innovative new products. They had built up imposing global supply chains that enabled economies of scale that smaller rivals couldn’t match. They had huge TV and print advertising budgets at their disposal to target consumers effectively. And they had long-standing and mutually profitable relationships with national retailers.

That was then …

That environment has changed almost beyond recognition. Today, small, agile and fast-moving startups claim most of the sector’s revenue growth and threaten the very existence of big incumbents. Talent is opting for short-term, “gig economy” projects or signing on with startups and challengers. Smaller, digital-native organizations are producing most of the breakthrough innovation. Contract manufacturing has reduced, if not eliminated, the need for a large base of manufacturing assets. And the rapid growth of e-commerce has significantly changed the nature of retailer relationships.

Now what?

Big players know they need to reinvent themselves as smart, connected businesses or risk irrelevance. But how? As leaders guide their companies through their digital transformation, three imperatives can help them decode the “how” of the journey:

  1. Rethink everything. Take a step back. Rethink everything you think you know about the consumer, your organization and your employees — present and future. Map how the consumer, work and employee experiences will evolve over the next three years under the influence of digital technologies. Align those maps, identify the conflicts that will arise, and assess how to resolve them. This exercise will help you better understand the current environment and your company’s place in it, and force you and your organization to act with foresight.
  2. Connect today with tomorrow. Too often, companies don’t connect what they’re working on today with their preparations for the future. Likewise, their future plans don’t inform what they’re doing today. Draw a clear line between today and tomorrow that connects to the experience roadmaps you’ve drawn. By clearly linking future projects to today’s consumers, organization and employees, you can act effectively today — and make tomorrow possible.
  3. Carve out time today to think about the future. Each quarter, you have some 714 working hours to take action. Use part of that time to think about what’s coming. Just by reducing each hour-long meeting to 45 minutes and each 30-minute meeting to 15, you can free up an hour or more each day to think — and rethink.

How do you break the “business as usual” thinking in your business? Learn more here.

Summary

Big players know they need to reinvent themselves, but how? These three imperatives can help them decode their digital transformation journey. 

About this article

By

Richard Essigs

EY Americas Advisory, Consumer Products & Retail

EY Consumer Products. Career began stocking shelves and never really left. Banned from focus groups.

Related topics Advisory Digital