Companies born before the Information Age are working hard to digitalize their businesses so they can thrive in the digital economy. However, many organizations have suffered failures during these transformations. Why is digital transformation such a challenge for enterprises? What are the key success factors? Are tech companies, better at adapting to this new age? According to István Boscha, CEO of Aliz Tech and Co-Founder of the Future Tech Institute, relying on cutting-edge technologies is only a part of the solution. He suggests that companies should look to the Asian market for inspiration before embarking on a digital journey.
“As companies begin their digital transformation, leaders tend to believe that this process is primarily about the successful implementation of new technologies. Of course, if your technological background does not allow you to process information in real time, then you will not be able to establish a data-driven business. Technology is just an enabler, however, not the goal itself,”
said István, who has been providing advisory and software development services for enterprises on both a national and international level for over 10 years. The experiences he gained on this journey led him and his partners to start the Future Tech Institute, a tech school that helps business leaders see what digital transformation looks like in the real world.
More about mindset than technology
As the CEO of Aliz Tech, a Google partner specializing in big data and machine learning, István has helped several businesses through their digital transformations. Many leaders feel the pressure to innovate, as their customers have higher and higher expectations, but only a few of them are doing it right. A recent survey of directors, CEOs, and senior executives found that digital transformation risk is their top concern, yet 70% of related initiatives do not reach their goals. István believes that this has nothing to do with technology; it is either a business or a process challenge. While conference keynote speeches on this topic usually deal with technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data, or robotics, digital transformation should really begin with shifting our mindset.
“Digital change not only enables, but also requires new forms of collaboration. Rigid processes must be replaced by agile methods of project management. To achieve this, digitalization must be made a top priority for corporate leaders,”
István said, highlighting that old-fashioned, hierarchical management structures do not support transformation. It is crucial to improve the skills of employees with training and coaching, while also bringing in new know-how from outside. The latter can be achieved by hiring the right consultants. The whole process takes a lot of time, effort, and sometimes even sacrifice. It is hard to tell when a project comes to an end, and in some cases, it really is a never-ending story.
Do fully digital businesses exist?
Total digital transformation, meant literally, is extremely hard to reach. For example, there will always be some legal obstacles preventing businesses eliminating paper consumption. In this sense, organizations cannot become fully digitalized, no matter how modern or innovative they are.
“In my opinion, an enterprise is digital if it can keep up with the rapid changes on the market, and as a next step, it is able to innovate. That’s what I would call fully digitalized, but there might be other definitions,”
István explained. Many people think that tech companies are the most successful companies in coping with digitalization, but this is not necessarily true. As István says, tech companies have to lead innovation, and renew themselves every 2 or 3 years. This is not easy, since they also need to deal with their daily operations. But it is not impossible either, as the Aliz Tech example shows.
“Our company used to deal with custom software development projects, but after realizing a shift in market demand, we started to focus on big data. In 2018, we became the first and only Google Partner in Southeast Asia who specializes in data analytics. We also changed our name from Doctusoft to Aliz Tech, and incorporated a new corporate identity. This kind of flexibility is necessary for mastering technology related challenges, especially in the case of ambitious tech companies.”
It's not rocket science
Aliz Tech is not only a good example of a company that adapted to the constantly changing business environment, but also of successful market entry into Southeast Asia. If we take a closer look at this market, it is full of technologically skilled people and companies that are very open to new technologies. As a result, technological growth is much faster there than in Europe. Because of the competitive atmosphere, enterprises try to become better and better every day. That is why Aliz Tech chose Asia for expansion. After switching their focus to big data and machine learning, they wanted a highly digitalized market, where tech-savvy people use digital products on a daily basis.
There are a lot of successful data-driven companies in Southeast Asia, and this is exactly the reason the Future Tech Institute chose this region to organize its 10-day bootcamps. Participants meet local executives who faced the same challenges and receive first-hand accounts of their experiences. This kind of sharing might also have a positive effect emotionally, proving that they are not alone with their problems.
“Leaders sometimes need to take a step back from their daily business to get a deeper understanding of the changes around them, and to rethink their goals. I think that participating in a bootcamp like this can provide a much more concentrated and effective way of learning than, for example, attending a one-day conference or training at home. Traveling to another continent and being far away also helps participants concentrate 100% on self-improvement,”
István said, adding that these 10 days enable everyone to see with their own eyes that machine learning and AI are not rocket science after all.