If you think digital transformation is only happening in a few hip industries, you're already getting left behind.

Didier Bonnet, Senior VP and Global Practice Leader, Capgemini Consulting

December 3, 2014

3 Min Read

Let's start with a quiz. Try to name a few industries that you think have been transformed by digital technology in recent years. What comes to mind? Music? Publishing? Travel? Sure. But how about sporting goods? Or mining? The truth is that our research finds that every industry already hosts at least one "Digital Master" -- a company like Nike or Codelco, the world's largest copper producer, that has decided to lead a profound digital transformation of its business.

And these digital masters are outperforming their peers. Our recent Capgemini and MIT research shows that these companies were 26% more profitable than their peers, and enjoyed 9% higher revenue from their physical assets. In every industry we studied, across sectors as diverse as pharmaceuticals to mining to luxury goods, we found examples of companies that are successfully innovating their business practices through technology.

For example, iconic sporting goods company Nike has built its business on innovation. Online customers can order personalized shoes in virtually any color or style. Social media enable Nike to be an integral part of the conversation around major sports, sporting events, and sporting apparel. And the company's data platform allows athletes to track their workouts, share their performances online, and even receive customized advice from coaches.

To link its digital efforts more tightly, Nike even created a new business unit, Nike Digital Sport. Teams of marketers, designers, and IT people work together to develop digital innovations under the Nike+ banner. Product designers test concepts through social media, while digital product designs make sales and marketing easier in the physical world. Analysts mine mountains of data, gathered from Nike's digital products and marketing efforts, to get even closer to customers around the world.

[Learn more about one Digital Master. Read IT Chief Of The Year: Bank Of America's Cathy Bessant.]

Although a lot of the action around digital transformation has been focused on reinventing the customer experience, there is immense potential in also digitally transforming operations. Codelco is an example of a company that has done just that. The company decided to transform its operational processes to increase safety and efficiency in a number of innovative ways.

Codelco wanted to transform mining operations, moving from a physical model to one powered by data and digital processes. Senior executives initiated "Codelco Digital" with the stated goal to drive radical improvements in mining automation and to support executives in developing, communicating, and evolving a long-term digital vision. The company used real-time dashboards, autonomous trucks that reduced accidents, and mobile and analytics applications to enhance the efficiency of its entire operation. Codelco is now slowly transitioning to a scenario where no miner may ever need to work in dangerous underground environments again -- thereby reinventing mining as we know it.

Nike and Codelco are not isolated cases. These companies did not wait for their respective industries to be disrupted, nor did they have a roadmap for what the digital future of the industry was going to look like. They created it. This is what it takes to be a "Digital Master" in your industry. If you are not already engaged in such a digital journey, the time to start is now. We are at an inflection point where digital innovation will not only continue to reshape the business world, the pace of disruption will accelerate exponentially.

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About the Author(s)

Didier Bonnet

Senior VP and Global Practice Leader, Capgemini Consulting

Didier Bonnet is a senior VP and global practice leader at Capgemini Consulting. He also acts as the executive sponsor for Capgemini's Digital Transformation offering, a key strategic initiative including a joint research collaboration with the MIT Center for Digital Business. Bonnet is co-author of "Leading Digital: Turning Technology Into Business Transformation," with MIT's George Westerman and Andrew McAfee.

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