This TOPIC was literally chosen from all the major professional services firms who have a new arm over the last 5+ years; Deloitte Digital or McKinsey Digital or others.
While Digital took an upswing in the last decade (2010-2020); the CORE question we are trying to address here is ‘Why would a pure Management Consulting firm such as McKinsey or BCG have to do with DIGITAL?
These pure thorough bred firms would shy away from anything IT to focus on pure business issues while engaging with the CxOs of the world. This was intentional & by design.
But the latest DIGITAL revolution somehow blurred the lines; let’s step back & see the blurring of the lines over a 40 year period in job Titles (depending on various parts of the world):
• VP – EDP (Electronic Data Processing): 80s
• VP – IT : 90s
• CIO : 2000 onwards
• CDO: 2010 onwards
In this day & age can a Business Exec get any insights & hence make those business decisions without Tech or Digital (loosely used for all new tech out there)? If you can imagine a set of concentric circles, TECH moved from 3-5 circles out over the decades and now is the center of any business or any industry.
Can a McKinsey/Bain/BCG or a BMW/GM/Honda survive next 5 to 10 years without a DIGITAL focus?
Why would a company pay top $$ for a McKinsey’s Tech/Digital Transformation strategy advice instead go to a pure IT/Digital player for much less the price for a Tech/DIGITAL strategy advice ?
As the saying goes in the Industry; every major business that wants to win BIG will need to become a SOFTWARE powerhouse in their focus area; GE or TOYOTA or XYZ
Core Issue at stake:
While pure play IT firms will continue to focus & deliver the TECH delivery & implementation of let’s say a XAAS solution ( subscription billing) from SAP or ORACLE or others. But a pure play Business Management firm such as BCG or McKinsey would make the same XAAS solution ( subscription billing) a Boardroom conversation. They weave their Management & Business Insights totally based on real time insights coming from the TECH that is at play in that respective vertical or industry.
In short – In today’s world No Business Strategy is possible without Tech/Digital insights and that in turn is not possible without getting your hands into the DIGITAL world at least to a certain extent.
So what changed in the last 2 decades; IT/Tech went up the value chain from being a separate company function (IT) to being called Business IT ( in many organizations) and then further up the chain to CxO ( for e.g. CDO- Chief Digital Officer) and into the Boardroom.
Reporting or gathering the WHY from the data; after a few days/weeks even months to fix an issue until the next issue props up was the old way of Reactive Business Insights coming from IT/Tech data.
Reference to the Microsoft CEO quote “ Every company is now a Software Company”*
Business Insights are now PRE-EMPTIVE or PRO-ACTIVE or REAL TIME thanks to huge Compute Power/Storage/Cloud technologies that make it possible.
All business whether Banking or Automobiles or Oil & Gas need to be first become a TECH/DIGITAL company at its CORE and then add their unique business competitiveness embedded into it somehow.
Whether it is a CAR manufacturer or Bank that embeds Digital tech into their ecosystem will eventually kill some old revenue streams (probably car dealership like the current model) but bring more newer business revenue models (probably no middleman car dealership like the TESLA model).
These future industry leading companies would make or weave DIGITAL TECH into new business models bringing new streams of revenues leaving behind their former competitors who are slow to adapt to this new reality. These future DIGITAL leading companies will successfully showcase their digital revenue business case , opportunity cost if they and their clients will not make the leap and hence meet & exceed their customers new expectations.
As the economic climate changed world over with the Ukraine Russia crisis; Supply Chain became a hot topic due to fuel costs, lack of raw materials, inflation all gathering speed into a BIG dust storm. A company that was well on their DIGITAL SCM (Supply Chain Mgt) journey was able to get better signals from upstream/downstream suppliers & vendors and take necessary actions to prevent a manufacturing disruption or sales/distribution train wreck. Others are scrambling to put systems in place (which takes time) and hence losing revenues due to lack of ingredients for their products to be shipped out of the door.
DIGITAL is no longer a ‘IF’ option but a ‘WHEN’ for any and all organizations wanting to be a leader in their industry or segment. The danger is those who are late at starting this journey may not even remain in business for long. Hence this suffix ‘DIGITAL’ although seems to be a ‘In Thing’ for all companies today will eventually become a common place phenomena or common denominator soon because all others will cease to exist as a business eventually.
Until then the DIGITAL that started as a suffix has already transformed into mainstream business as a must have and very soon become the lifeblood for companies that stay in business. It’s so happens that the Big Professional Services firms have to walk the talk and hence had to get the DIGITAL into their business model & learn from it before they tell others how to benefit from it.