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article imageQ&A: IT professionals need to make the case for DX Special

By Tim Sandle     Dec 13, 2019 in Business
If you're an IT decision-maker advocating for digital transformation in 2020, the last opportunity to make your case before the turn of the decade is about to pass by. Expert Kevin Bennett explains why time matters in making the case for DX.
While companies are increasingly pressured to improve cost, efficiency and quality, and it remains important that 4IR tech adoption happens. IT decision-makers need to quickly gather facts, convince CTOs, and implement next-gen tools. According to Kevin Bennett, CTO and Founder of KBMax, this is the key to survival over the next ten years.
Digital Journal: How important is digital transformation for businesses?
Kevin Bennett: Digital Transformation is extremely important for businesses as we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). Today, manufacturers are faced with a new slew of challenges, but many hesitate to pursue digital transformation and opt for a more traditional approach characterized by paper-laden processes and siloed operations. Failure to adapt can put these companies at a great disadvantage, compared to those that fully embrace CPQ, product visualization and other technologies shaping the future of manufacturing. Eventually, it will become nearly impossible for non-adapters to compete in the marketplace.
DJ: Do companies always understand the importance of a DT strategy?
Bennett: Many companies are stuck in their old ways and are afraid of changing their systems and processes. And, while they may understand the importance of a digital transformation strategy, they think a full-blown overhaul is needed and are deterred by the work it requires. For example, when leadership teams construct a virtual mountain of DT tasks that need to be completed, they become overwhelmed and end up abandoning the transition altogether. By chiseling away at next-gen tech adoption, manufacturers can slowly realize the benefits of completing a digital transformation.
DJ: How can IT decision-makers make the case for digital transformation?
Bennett: As we move further into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, companies need to approach innovation with a sense of urgency. What was once a competitive advantage has quickly shifted into a necessity. Yet, companies still lag behind.
If upper management is not prepared to complete a digital transformation, IT decision-makers can make their case by showing what other companies are doing when it comes to next-gen technology adoption and process changes.
While only 34% of companies have undergone a digital transformation, 85% of enterprise decision-makers have a 2-year time frame in place to make major advances into their digital transformation strategy. These decision-makers know that if their companies aren’t early adopters, there is significant risk of falling behind competitors.
DJ: How can digital transformation be implemented in the least disruptive way?
Bennett: Generally, I recommend a step-by-step approach, and when it comes to offering custom products, CPQ is a great place to start due to its ease of use as well as connectivity capabilities with CRM, clouds, payment systems and more.
When adopting a CPQ tool, companies should choose a vendor that is experienced and knowledgeable about what data they need to capture rather than trying to take on data capture, interpretation and organization alone. The next step is to incrementally transition the company to a more innovative technological landscape. Start with one product line that lends itself well to CPQ technology. After organizing the data associated with that product line, companies can begin building the configurator, and then further map out the necessary integrations to perfect the configuration. This gradual adoption gives the company plenty of time to work out kinks, update processes and make sure all teams are onboard.
DJ: Looking forward, what next-decade trends do IT teams need to look out for?
Bennett: In the next decade, IT teams need to look out for connected and integrated systems. For example, IT teams in the manufacturing industry can help their organization implement CPQ and connect it to back office systems so manufacturing drawings can be generated automatically once a product is configured by the customer.
This integration will provide an optimal omnichannel experience which lets customers buy from anywhere. And, with the addition of 3D visualization, these customers can view these complex, custom products while making real-time changes in the configurator. IT Teams also need to look out for similar tools that include AR and VR options that allow customers to virtual try out the item prior to purchasing. Because complex custom products such as industrial machinery can be expensive, this visualization tool is the best way to ensure your customers are 100% confident in and satisfied with their purchase
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