How to eat an elephant: Become #FutureReadyNow

  • Posted on June 18, 2019
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes
how to eat an elephant eat future ready now

I’m a big fan of interesting quotes and puns.  Ask any of my friends and they will tell you that I can laugh for days off a good pun.  Proverbs and soothsaying quotes also often provide inspiration.  For example, the classic saying: How do you eat an elephant?  Answer:  One bite at a time.  The answer to many complex questions is to break down the problem into smaller steps.  It’s the advice I give my son looking at homework, and it’s the same advice I give today looking at organizations tackling digital transformation.

We recently conducted research through Vanson Bourne, released today, and I was struck by the notion that, of our 1,150 decision makers surveyed, 43% of them are becoming fatigued by their digital transformation efforts. Does that mean that 57% of organizations are trucking along without an issue?  Well, it turns out that while almost all organizations (96%) have a digital transformation initiative, a majority are facing some challenges.  So, the elephant is digital transformation.  And yes, it’s a big elephant.

Almost half of organizations (45.5%) agree that training and hiring the right people with skills is necessary to transform; 34.5% are struggling to modernize their legacy systems and processes. Interestingly, over 80% of those surveyed said they can’t make informed decisions and struggle with making the most of data and insights in a way that will benefit the business.  So, once again I come back to “how to eat the elephant?” One bite at a time.

In this case, the bites are across the business and align with board level objectives. Those three dimensions are efficiencies, experiences and innovation. However, some organizations would argue that they have been focused on these dimensions of their business for years.

But here’s what is often the missing piece– intelligence. When I say “intelligence” I don’t mean the dashboard that accompanies your business system of choice.  I mean deeply embedding or infusing connected automation and intelligence into every transaction, every process, every SKU.  It’s the only way to get the most out of efficiencies, experiences and innovation. It’s what we think of as the difference maker, what lies beyond the fatigue and what makes organizations Future Ready. Now.  Yes, it’s possible, today.

First, efficiencies are needed to convert sunken costs into saved or generated dollars.  From our research, organizations know there is a lift involved: 86% of decisionmakers agree that modernizing business critical systems is paramount to building business process agility. And further, 84% of them say that they need to invest in AI at the same time as they refresh their business applications to be most successful.  

Next, 83% say employee and customer experience solutions should have equal priority when planning for digital transformation.  We couldn’t agree more, after all the better an employee is prepared to help a client, the better connected and enjoyable the customer experience. These experiences translate to dollars and loyalty, which MIT CISR says can lead to as much as 25% or higher ROI. 

Then, innovation is the third dimension for a future-ready enterprise.  Until now, our thinking on becoming a future-ready enterprise across efficiencies and experiences is very aligned to the MIT CISR findings.  However, Avanade sees this incremental third dimension, innovation, as part of what’s required for businesses to be truly ready to see what’s next so they can be what’s next.  This is where the infusion of intelligence opens doors for new business ideas, products or services from insights and feedback from customers on a continual basis.

There are all sorts of other bites we need to take out of the elephant, starting with a living strategy, layers and layers of integration, addressing change management, building and shifting organizational talent, skills and sustaining culture to name a few. 

See, when you break it down into bite-sized chunks, you can indeed know how to eat an elephant. Who knows, you may even get to see the next elephant and be ready to eat that one too, bite by bite.

Learn about all of this and more in our research report, Successful digital transformations are Future Ready. Now.

Lora McMonigle

Thanks for the insights, Sherri!  

July 10, 2019

Julia Martin

Thanks for making the daunting feel doable!

June 26, 2019

Ed Bobrin

Poor elephants....  Well said Sherri! #FutureReadyNow

June 18, 2019

Avanade Insights Newsletter

Stay up to date with our latest news.

Share this page
Modal window