Read any guide on business best practices and you will without fail see the word Vision feature high up in the foundation chapters.
It may otherwise be referred to by North Star or End Goal but what all of these terms allude to is a clear destination, a point of success to work toward.
It is not all that unexpected if you think about it for a second. Not many journeys that we take in life begin without a vision, whether we are conscious of it or not, so why should it be any different in business?
You see the issue with vision is that it is quite emotive in nature, it is what we want to feel, the tangible version of accomplishment or success. In business, we don’t necessarily like to think about emotion. We are often told that business should preclude emotion, that it should all be hard numbers, Rands and Cents.
So what if we for a second proposed that emotion is directly linked to profit. Those businesses who have figured out how to appeal to the emotive characteristics of both their staff as well as their customers are in fact in possession of one of the rarest success factors around.
In my personal opinion, this is not simply rhetoric but is a complete truth that is realised when considered in combination with one constant found across all businesses worldwide, people.
Make the Vision Tangible
A strong vision, when clearly defined and made tangible is one of the most successful devices a business has in its arsenal of tools to win over the hearts and minds of those who will help them make their vision a reality.
When we talk about digital transformation (DX), the above concept plays out no differently. Embarking on a journey to transform your business into an improved version of itself with digital at its core is an almighty task if you plan to do it with a DX vision that is unclear, poorly defined and intangible.
Consider the many examples of this having played out worldwide. Once mighty organisations now being a shadow of themselves, over-taken by new entrants or those who simply committed to defining a DX vision early on and keeping to their strategy for implementation, foreseeing the tidal wave of change that digitalisation would bring and the effect it would have on people on both sides of the check-out counter. The list of casualties is endless.
Discovery Health: A Great Example
One of the finest local examples of a company that have done and continue to do just this in an industry that had for long been in limbo is that of Discovery Health.
Consider their incentivised introduction of the Apple Watch in 2015 as a mechanism not only to help gather data to improve their customer’s health records but also as a mechanism to attract the right type of “lower-risk” members to their offering which in turn would impact claim volumes and values and ultimately their bottom line.
This was simply the first in a string of investments and partnerships with the likes of Silicon Valley start-up’s to further their digital transformation journey, including predictive capabilities through artificial intelligence (AI) technology to foresee impending medical conditions, the introduction of digital health records also known as HealthID’s to better inform all participants in maintaining and improving their customer’s health and well-being, as well as recently the introduction of DrConnect.
Through DrConnect, a major play in Discovery’s evolution, they are now able to fundamentally improve their customer’s experience, saving them time, money and energy by making use of a channel that avoids the need for in-person consultations, but replaces this interaction with a digital and more than suitable alternative accessed through the Discovery Health mobile application.
From the sentiment coming from within Discovery Health, it is not hard to tell how valued the digital evolution is considered to their future business.
“We think care will be delivered on a platform, much like transport has moved to a platform on Uber and accommodation has moved to a platform on Airbnb. We think healthcare will move away from face-to-face consults with doctors.” ~ Ryan Noach, Deputy CEO Discovery Health
The above few are just some examples of the many initiatives that Discovery Health have embarked on in truly embodying a digital transformation. What’s more important is that these are not simply superficial tools and products, but have actually changed the core of the business, affecting the bottom line and improving customer experience at the same time.
This has not simply been chance playing out in Discovery’s favour but rather the result of a well-engineered strategy for digital transformation. A strategy that I believe was built upon a clearly defined vision and most importantly a vision that was shared between company and customer.