Fail Fast Approach To Digital Transformation

Fail fast and experiment to succeed in a digital transformation


Digital Transformation is changing the way customers think and demand new products or services.

Today's bank accounts are opened online, insurance claims are filed online, patients' health is monitored online while buying things online is a thing of the past. Everything is here and in real time.

Until a few years ago, any failure in decision-making in business was scary and not acceptable. It could have cost companies to go out of Fortune 100 list. Blockbuster, Nokia, Kodak, Blackberry are well-known examples of not trying new experiments quickly.

But with the digital era, failure is accepted and it is seen as part and parcel of a successful digital business. Failure must be fast, and the lessons learned from failure should be even faster. It allows businesses to take a 'shotgun approach' to digital transformation.

Fail fast is all about deploying quick pilots and check the outcome. If it does not work, then drop a concept/idea and move on to a new one. Be prepared to change the pace or direction if necessary.

No business can undergo a digital transformation without making mistakes. Even if an organization has the best possible culture and strategy in place, there can be stumbling blocks on the road to success. With digital technologies like cloud, big data, analytics, mobility, and the Internet of things, at the disposal, organizations can test innovative ideas quickly, before even reaching out to a customer for feedback.

Speed is of the essence here. Testing all the ideas without making huge investments, then delivering the applications in weeks, and not months or years, to remain competitive. This change has helped organizations to reduce the time-to-market of enhancement on customer experience.

Apple is an example of a company which failed but didn’t give up. It moved on, refined its approach, improved its R&D, and eventually launched the product their customers deserved.

Domino's bounced back from customers' comments like 'your pizza tastes like a cardboard,' with the reboot of their menu in 2009, and the digital technology they experimented with - online ordering and a tracker, which allowed customers to follow their pizza from the oven to their doorstep.

Air New Zeland went from posting the largest corporate loss in the country’s history to being one of the world’s most consistently profitable airlines by using big data analytics to enhance the customer experience in many ways, including biometric baggage check-in and an electronic 'air band' for unaccompanied minors.

There are also several individual examples of failures and success stories over time:

Steve Jobs was fired from Apple but came back as a CEO and made history. Thomas Edison failed many times before his success with a light bulb and many others.

But organizations don’t always have time on their hands. They can learn a lot from these individual failures, but quickly move on and achieve success with the digital transformation. Fail fast is not an option but a necessity.


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