What does digital acceleration mean?
Digital acceleration is a term that describes the mindset, approach, and iterative process necessary to succeed in a world where every business is a digital business.
The main aspect of the digital acceleration journey is speed. Because of major demographic and technology trends, organizations need to act faster than ever.
Consumers and business users are accustomed to digital services and great experiences delivered in real-time. Younger generations don’t even know what it was like when every product and service wasn’t on-demand and just a few clicks away.
Progress in digital technologies has lowered the entry bar for testing and validating new products. Modern software infrastructures and developer tools have made it possible to innovate without overspending on implementation.
Because of all this, the old, slower model of digital transformation efforts isn’t enough anymore.
In order to be resilient and lead, companies need to secure new streams of revenue ahead of the competition.
To do so, it’s necessary to let go of lengthy decision cycles and predetermined development plans.
The current model is about continuous discovery and development, catching new opportunities quickly, and reaching product-market fit as early as possible.
Why is digital acceleration important?
Digital acceleration is important because it is the main way for companies to differentiate themselves, build resilience, and thrive in the digital world.
It’s never been more important to provide a great user experience, but this can’t be done only with internal resources.
To win over customers, it’s necessary to take advantage of them as an external resource using short feedback loops and user research – but many companies still fail to do so.
Even if the project team intends to move fast and be agile, often higher management can obstruct this by taking too long to make technology-related decisions.
In the current market reality, slow decision-making and extended time-to-market can break your business and leave you behind the competition – digital acceleration is sort of the antidote to that.
It’s not a completely new concept. Top-performing, digital-native companies have been taking advantage of digital acceleration for quite a while.
Now that software has eaten the world, every business is facing an ultimatum – to catch up with digital-first leaders and level the playing field, or avoid new technologies and fall off eventually.
Who uses digital acceleration?
Anyone who looks beyond the horizon and understands that this is the only way to grow business value in the modern environment.
Essentially, every company, in every sector, can benefit from digital acceleration.
Whether you’re building internal systems, consumer-facing products, or business-facing solutions, digital acceleration can enable success with what you’re working on.
Large or small, ambitious companies can’t afford to stop innovating. Continuous experimentation and fast innovation lead to new revenue streams that provide resilience against market downturns.
How has the pandemic accelerated digital transformation?
The pandemic forced laggards to get up to speed with digital leaders.
In the past, digital business transformation was often sluggish. Decisions either would take a long time to be made, or would be set in stone and rarely re-evaluated.
The best example of this is the procedures and systems necessary for secure, efficient remote work. It used to be much harder to get buy-in and move the needle for this digital transformation project.
But then global pandemic restrictions hit, and companies that weren’t ready for remote work had to innovate in a matter of days, weeks at most, just to maintain business as usual.
This had profound consequences:
- Remote work stopped being seen as a perk, and was recognized as a critical business strategy
- Business leaders realized that digital innovation doesn’t have to take years, it can be done blazingly fast under the right conditions
- Even the least tech-savvy consumers were forced to adopt digital tools, finally closing the gap between the market and the slowest adopters
Perspectives have shifted drastically. The pandemic proved once and for all that digital-first organizations are more resilient in times of crisis.
What's the difference between digital transformation and digital acceleration?
Digital transformation sped up business processes across the board and created the building blocks that now enable us to accelerate digitalization.
It was necessary back then but by current standards, digital transformation methods were slow and excessively drawn-out.
In order to keep up with market demands, digital acceleration is now bolder and quicker:
- Speed-to-value – from large endeavors that limit the ability to pivot to short innovation and iteration cycles that ensure agility
- Speed of decision-making – quick moves and a bold mindset rather than lengthy consideration phases
- Speed of delivery – from taking years to taking weeks or months
- Speed of adoption – from lengthy cycles to rapid time-to-market and quick customer feedback loops that accelerate innovation acceptance
- Change of mindset – from keeping up with industry leaders and trends to owning the change
- Change horizon – from an A-B transformation model to continuous evolution
- Approach to change – from a sequential transformation to simultaneous and continuous decision-making, discovery, and delivery
- Model of change – surgical approach to innovation rather than massive transformation projects
- Source of change – from being led by experts to being driven by consumers