“You know it’s a digital world when the secret weapon that the Philadelphia Eagles used to win the Super Bowl was data analytics,” according to Dr. Vijay Gurbaxani from UC Irvine’s Center for Digital Transformation.

Football is a game of tradition, and many strategic decisions are made based on experience and intuition from seasoned coaches. But the Eagles turned tradition on its head with data analytics, which guided them to make successful plays that would never have been attempted had they based their decisions on intuition alone.

It’s not hard to draw the connection to disruption and the forces that are changing digital business today. To kick off this year’s Liferay Symposium, Dr. Gurbaxani shared how companies are creating new competitive value by combining cutting edge technology with innovative ideas that reorient business around the customer experience. More than anything, we’re seeing digital leaders step into fields that were once outside their domain, from the Eagles running on data analytics to Amazon purchasing Whole Foods.

Ideas Are the New Capital

The competitive landscape this creates is daunting. For the past few years in digital transformation, companies have been able to bet on the idea that first is better than perfect. That is, first movers gain the advantage of quickly growing a user base that is hard to compete with, even if another company launches an alternative solution with a better experience.

These days, large companies like Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook are entering markets late and beating competitors with scale and acquisitions. Moving fast is still important, but without innovation to go along with it, it’s no longer enough. So how are IT leaders supposed to help their companies compete?

Dr. Gurbaxani recommends that leaders focus on their unique value, develop a compelling vision, and codify that in software to build their competitive advantage. “Software is determining our futures,” he said. “In a software-driven world, ideas are the new capital.”

The Next Step for IT Leaders

Liferay CEO Bryan Cheung expanded on this idea when he took the stage. “Digital transformation is not an incremental improvement. It’s a wholesale rethink of how technology enables you to make differentiated experiences for your customers.”

To help explain how to move forward, Bryan took us back to the invention of the electric light bulb, which was readily available to the market in 1879. However, well into the 1920s and 30s, most manufacturing plants continued to run on steam power.

There were a few early adopters, but they were disappointed in the results of electricity. They ripped out their existing systems and replaced them with electricity, but all they gained was a quieter factory with cleaner air, without any results that justified the high capital investment. It took decades for manufacturers to realize that smaller electric motors allowed them to redesign factories around production lines, whereas steam forced factories to be built around the steam engines. Once they did, the world changed.

It’s not surprising that people stuck with what they knew for so long. “We now find ourselves in a similar place today,” said Bryan. “The technology is more complex, and it’s no longer enough for business leaders to decide on their own how to use this technology.” More than ever before, IT leaders need to do more than understand the tech and decide how to implement it. To succeed, they will have to understand what the business side is trying to do and help them with innovation.

At Liferay, we see our role as helping companies get their solutions to market faster, with tools that take mundane tasks away from IT leaders so they can focus on ideas that truly matter. “What we’ve come to realize is that there is a core set of challenges that IT and Business need to work on together,” said Bryan. “We’ve made a commitment to creating technology that gets out of the way of your transformation. We want to create software that helps IT work with Business so that, together, you can create better solutions.”

As Dr. Vijay said at the close of his talk, “The status quo is not an option.” The future is uncertain, but the potential for digital innovation is still largely untapped, leaving plenty of opportunities for the companies that are ready to take them.

Liferay Pulse Awards 2018

Every year, we recognize exceptional experiences from our customers and partners with the Liferay Pulse Awards. This year’s winners represent the most impressive innovation we’ve seen in 2018.

Best Intranet Experience

Intranets are the unsung hero of digital transformation. Our employees are one of our greatest resources, and intranets are the place where employees should be able to interact with customers and with each other in a streamlined way. This year, Liferay chose Hearst with its intranet that serves thousands of employees, developed with Liferay partner Accenture.

Best B2B Digital Experience

When we think of the interactions we have, so many of them are B2B. There is a lot of work that goes into making sure businesses can communicate well with each other. Dropbox is a global collaboration platform, and their partner portal built with Liferay partner Rivet Logic continues to reimagine how they serve their global partner network.

Best Omnichannel Experience

Omnichannel is more than an overused buzzword. It’s delivering experiences to customers on their own terms, when they need it, where they need it. For best omnichannel experience in 2018, Liferay honored the CNO Financial Group, who created a responsive site built around the actual workflows of how their insurance agents deliver services to customers, from tablets to mobile.

Best Overall Digital Transformation

This is the crucial task at hand; every IT leader today understands the importance of digital transformation. Out of all the companies Liferay has worked with closely, West Bend Insurance has shone with its strategy and implementation of digital transformation. They ensure that every agent is well-equipped to sell West Bend products, taking care of the initial on-ramp for their customers.

What to Do in New Orleans

If you’re looking for ideas on how to spend your night, make sure to check out our list of things to do in New Orleans during LSNA!

Evolve Your Digital Strategy

As customer expectations and business needs multiply, companies risk increasing IT complexity when they address these challenges one-by-one with their technology choices. See how Liferay Digital Experience Platform can help you bring software solutions into a unified system, saving time and resources by eliminating silos, connecting databases and shortening business processes.

Show Me How