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The How-To: Digital Transformation In Action It is important to have a balance between retaining your digital talent that drives the future, and existing ones who are driving current revenues.

By Jayesh Patel

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Digital transformation can be many different things, but the most prominent one is change. Change to adapt faster, change to meet customers' requirements and needs, change to build a better and stronger brand affinity, change to evolve. And hence, to be part of the new world of digital and keep up with the modernday intelligence, every brand needs to start its journey on digital transformation.

We have seen many different industries in which digital transformation has reshaped and disrupted. A survey on digital transformation by McKinsey Global Survey done in late 2018 showed that more than eight in ten participants indicated their organizations have commenced such efforts in the past five years.

Transformations are hard, and digital ones can be even harder. This is one of the main reasons why companies usually decide to digitize existing products rather than build digitally native ones. According to IDC Spending Guide 2018, it is estimated that spending on technologies and services that enable digital transformation will reach almost US$2 trillion in 2022 worldwide. Brands and companies have started to get a better understanding when it comes to the benefits of digital transformation and digitally native offerings.

A few of those benefits are worth highlighting. The first important benefit one should highlight when it comes to digital transformation is that it is not the same as digital technology. The latter is more about prioritizing IT technologies, while the first is all about the customer as a priority. Customers, partners, vendors, and the brand itself pays more attention towards digital transformation rather than IT transformation, simply because it is what pushes your company to the next step; giving you endless options, opportunities, and ideas.

Related: Entrepreneur Middle East Hosts Round Table, Presented By Du, On Accelerating Digital Transformation

Another important factor about digital transformation is that it is an ongoing process with no end. The world is always evolving and upgrading, and so are customers. As a brand, you need to tap into your customers' mind, and find new ways to disrupt and innovate. It is time to invest in a properly customized digital transformation to secure a place in the future. It is also important to highlight that when you are developing a new product, you are doing it for the customer, and not for your systems or processes. In today's competitive market, digital transformation has helped tech startups to compete directly with the bigger wolves in respective industry. If this alone is not a good enough reason for you and your brand to begin your digital transformation journey, then how about better customer engagement and less cost? It is time to break away from traditional staffing models, and start embracing renting over building- you do not need to spend millions to start your transformation. Embrace different methods such as software as a service (SaaS), which will allow you to deliver for a much cheaper price, because you are using the service on a subscription basis only. Be frugal!

In the middle of the chaos of your digital transformation journey, do not give all your attention to tech and processes, and then forget the most crucial part, your customer. Make sure your customers are loving what they are getting, and instead of having a traditional customer versus brand relationship, humanize your brand, and make them feel like they are part of the family. Build a brand that is real enough for them to relate to and love.

Moreover, it is important to highlight that building the future might need some time, as it asks us to unlearn a lot of the processes we were taught earlier. At times, your biggest challenge could be internal blockers, those who will fight the change you are working towards. As such, it is important to have a balance between retaining your digital talent that drives the future, and existing ones who are driving current revenues.

Related: #EntMERoundTable, In Partnership With Du, Centered On Customer-Focused Innovation

Jayesh Patel

Head of Liv., Emirates NBD

As the Head of the fastest growing bank in the Middle East, Jayesh Patel was responsible for the set up and launch of Liv., the first digital-only lifestyle bank. The mobile-only lifestyle bank is part of a long-term strategy by Emirates NBD to define the next generation of banking by building a digitally-native bank. Focusing on zillennials (millennials and Gen Z), Liv. helps in enhancing their finances as well as their lifestyle in one app.

With more than 14 years of consumer-centric innovations and changes across various industries, Patel has a strong regional experience and is currently an active member in the fintech and angel investment community in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA.) Prior to launching the digital-only lifestyle bank, Patel was Head of Retail Strategy at Emirates NBD, where he led the development of retail and innovation strategies. He has previously held various leadership roles across the Middle East as well as practiced management consulting in the US with Deloitte, focusing on bridging the gap between business and technology. Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Patel holds an MBA from Dartmouth College, Tuck School of Business, and has a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in Engineering from Illinois

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