Digital Transformation—An Imperative for Effective Customer Enablement

Digital transformation is one of those terms that has taken on so many meanings over the past few years that it’s become a cliché across most industry sectors. While I agree that the term is overused and sometimes abused, it’s still a relevant way to describe the metamorphosis that occurs when companies embrace customer-centric business models.

At Molex, digital transformation is a mindset and methodology. Both are focused on elevating customer enablement. We accomplish this through cross-functional collaboration, data-driven processes, and innovative digital technologies. Over the next month, we’ll be sharing insights into the many ways that digital transformation is empowering Molex to improve customer experiences and streamline internal operations while delivering more value and better outcomes for everyone.

According to a recent McKinsey survey, COVID-19 has accelerated the digitization of customer and supply-chain interactions by several years. This rapid shift toward digital-channel interactions impacts all industries at every organizational level. While digitization most definitely has played a role in our response to a range of COVID-19-related challenges, Molex’s digital transformation journey has been underway for some time.

Since joining Molex as chief digital officer in October 2019, I have been acutely aware of the critical need to anchor our digitization strategies around an elevated customer experience. We must connect different operational threads—product development, engineering, supply chain, manufacturing, distribution, customer service, etc.—seamlessly and efficiently. We also need to ensure employees have real-time access to accurate data, so they can fulfill customer commitments without fail. Equally important is modernizing our technologies, adding data-driven tools, and introducing innovative solutions to accelerate results.

Everyone is a Consumer

I have had the benefit of being part of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Tory Burch and Godiva Chocolatier, which were keenly focused on enabling strong consumer relationships by delivering superlative customer experiences. While this concept took hold initially in direct-to-consumer, it is now a key aspect in how companies are differentiating their value in the business-to-business model. Sure, most of our interactions are with business partners, but everyone that we engage with is a consumer. 

Our customers evaluate and compare the experiences they have with Molex with the best experiences they have in their daily lives—ranging from Uber, Amazon and Door Dash to other companies hyper-focused on delivering more value than the just the requested good or service.  If we do not continuously evolve how we enable customers to engage and realize value, we will not optimize available value creation opportunities.

Second, it’s crucial for employees to understand how their jobs connect to the customer value chain. Looking at specific workstreams and transactional processes through the customer lens offers a deeper and broader perspective on how to become your customers’ preferred and trusted partner—not just from an aspirational point of view, but an operational one too.

Even when companies don’t have a direct-to-consumer relationship, they need a customer-first mentality. This is especially relevant today in designing products to meet growing demands for mass customization and personalization. We realize that our product development and new product introduction capabilities will be enhanced greatly through a better understanding of our customers’ businesses and the markets they serve.

Think like a Digitally Native Company

Another valuable takeaway from my past experiences is the speed and agility that digitally native companies bring to their markets. Not only can they move fast to address changing customer demands and preferences, but these organizations also use actionable business insights to anticipate and react to sudden market shifts and disruptions. And they are almost always better off for it.

Relying on artificial intelligence and machine learning to help automate transactional processes as well as elevate decision making through prescriptive and predictive analytics, is essential. Data is the single biggest asset. Companies that leverage it to the fullest are the companies that win. 

How do you find your true north? Amit Zavery, VP and Head of Platform, Google Cloud, offered some sage advice: “Think of digital transformation less as a technology project to be finished than as a state of perpetual agility, always ready to evolve for whatever customers want next, and you’ll be pointed down the right path.”

Digital Transformation is a Team Sport

Thinking and acting like a digitally native company is enriching Molex’s adoption of digital tools to optimize our supply chain strategies. This approach also helps redefine our product design and new product introduction capabilities, so we can streamline manufacturing and fulfillment with speed and scale.

Throughout this month, you’ll be hearing from my colleagues across the organization about Molex’s digital transformation initiative and what it means for customers, employees, partners, and other critical stakeholders. These efforts fall under the banner of “One Molex,” where a consistent, global operating model produces significant benefits for our customers and our organization.

We will achieve this outcome by enabling our employee experience to fulfill and meet the expectations of our customers.  We will also achieve this by executing our digital program, modernizing our technology architecture, and creating new capabilities via the enablement of data so that our information becomes an enterprise asset. This will allow our teams to focus their time on value-added outcomes and remove a number of current manual processes that consume so much of our time. This integrated approach aligns with our customer-first mindset and holistic approach to digital transformation, encompassing people, processes, and technologies.

During each process step and technical transition, we will ask ourselves a series of questions. Is the new functionality being architected in a way that empowers us to drive greater customer value? Are we making it easier for everyone to do their jobs while driving critical improvements in customer experience?

Effective customer engagement, enablement and experience will be the litmus test that enables us to gauge the success of our evolving digital transformation strategy and progress. We’re excited to see where the journey takes us on behalf of our customers.

Chief Digital Officer