Digital business transformation: disruption or opportunity?


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“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison

The world is changing. Rapidly. Advances in technology such as the cloud, big data and the internet of things, have created incredible breakthroughs in knowledge and personalization. IT investment has steadily risen from one percent in the 1960s to a record high of nearly seven percent today[1]. And yet, only 18 percent of CEOs say they are seeing their investments in innovation pay off[2]. The way we live, work and socialize is dramatically different.

The next frontier of progress requires improving work itself. The opportunities to transform how businesses operate are plentiful, yet, productivity is not improving in major economies and, often, accelerated change makes things more complicated. Here are three key elements to keep in mind:

  • As businesses operate at a global scale, they also need to provide experiences that are unique and personal.
  • As systems become more open, they also need to be more secure.
  • As big data gets bigger, so does the need for precise, actionable insights.

We cannot change for change itself. Real value has to come from more than just technology advancements. Transforming your business has to be about how the processes for using technology – adoption, work flow, connecting stakeholders – can best serve the system and the people who are part of it. Sixty-eight percent of CEOs agree: “True innovation isn’t about being cutting edge. It’s about being practical.”[3]

This is a time of opportunity! Innovation is truly influencing business process transformation on many different levels. I recently presented the following examples more in depth in the keynote at the Digital BPO Innovations Conference in New York City.

  • Vehicle Passenger Detection – New image and sensor technology identifies the number of occupants in a vehicle, with 95 percent accuracy at speeds from stop and go to 100 miles per hour.
  • Customer Care – Intelligent automation creates an all-digital customer-centric banking experience through analytics, machine learning and robotic process automation.
  • Process Design Innovation – Optimize document print production using data driven, domain specific, software tools and platforms to deliver significant business results.


I am proud of what we at Xerox have accomplished through innovation. We were recently honored to be named the recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Corporate Innovator (OCI) award by the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA). The OCI award is the only innovation award which recognizes sustained – five or more years – and quantifiable business results from new products and services. In fact, Xerox is the first to ever win it twice. Once for hardware-oriented technology and once for BPO services. It is truly humbling, and gratifying, to be recognized for the hard work that we have been doing in innovation and business process transformation.

[1] Forrester Research and The Conference Board, Total Economy Database

[2] Accenture: “Why Low Risk Innovation is Costly” (2013)

[3] Y&R CEO Study (2014)

Republished with author’s permission from original post.

RG Conlee
As a chief innovation officer at Xerox, RG is responsible for developing automation, analytics and innovation for the company's customer care services.


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