The digital transformation of businesses around the world is happening at a breakneck pace. According to IDC, worldwide spending on digital transformation will be nearly $2 trillion in 2022. In addition, in a 2018 survey conducted by Tech Pro Research, 70% of respondents said their companies either have a digital transformation framework in place or one is in progress.
The digital landscape also has empowered customers, who live hyperconnected, information-rich lifestyles. Often, their first interaction with a brand is digital, making it all the more important that companies have a handle on their digital presence and processes.
To successfully implement the transformation from traditional to digital, a framework must be in place that addresses the three pillars of digital: company culture, data and technology systems, and customer relationships.
1. Foster A Culture Of Empowerment For Quicker Results
Mike Bracken, a professor at the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, defines digital transformation as “the act of radically changing how your organization works, so that it can survive and thrive in the Internet era.”
This type of organizational success means moving quickly and delivering fast results. That requires a culture of action and empowerment. A flat hierarchy is the recommended organizational structure to support a culture that can quickly execute tasks and make decisions, keeping teams free from the weight of organizational governance and approval processes. Workflow tools and processes that make it easy to assign tasks to the right owners, communicate outstanding tasks, and quickly make changes can help support those cultural changes.
Also important, leadership should guide teams by setting a digital vision and goals. From there, the teams are responsible for creating lean processes that provide a framework for on-the-spot decision-making, which leads to faster results.
Basil Sommerfeld and Roxana Moise-Cheung, operations excellence and human capital experts at Deloitte, agree that the style of leadership will need to change as companies pivot toward a digital strategy. “Leadership is, in fact, more important than ever in times of change, but leadership styles may change to reflect the more collaborative nature of the digital workplace,” they said.
2. Implement Technology That Promotes Data Transparency Across The Organization
Speed is the new business currency, and data enables that speed, as Peter Bendor-Samuel, founder and CEO of Everest Group, put it. In a digital business world, data is one of your most important assets—as is what you can learn from your data.
Companies will need to invest in gathering data and insightful analytics, and, perhaps more importantly, create data transparency across the organization so all teams can quickly make data-driven decisions. Creating such transparency involves everyone having access to real-time analytics that are easy to understand so that they are empowered to make data-driven decisions.
However, investing in technology that makes data easy to act on is easier said than done for companies with legacy technology systems.
To implement the right tech stack and create wider data transparency on an efficient time line, “focus on technological changes that are cost-effective and incremental,” recommended Mike Flanagan, Siteimprove’s chief technology officer. “Don’t spend months or years developing a new technology system and launch it all at once. Instead, focus on priority systems that will deliver the most data value to employees and customers.”
3. Focus Your Digital Transformation On What Really Matters
In Bracken’s definition of digital transformation—“the act of radically changing how your organization works, so that it can survive and thrive in the Internet era”—it’s crucial to remember the key component to business survival: your customers.
Without putting your customers at the heart of your digital transformation process, it will all be for naught. According to IDG, 44% of companies have already moved to a digital-first approach for customer experience(CX). But how can you ensure your new digital CX fosters loyalty?
As it turns out, speed is not only the new business currency but also the new CX currency. “The faster you help someone, the more impressed they are with your service. This is reflected in every CSAT [customer satisfaction score] survey again and again,” said Emily Sergent, director of customer experience at Hotjar.
To help customers as quickly as possible, it’s important that your digital framework addresses four key CX components:
- Website and social media readiness: Your website and social channels are likely some of the first touch points for customers, so make sure your website is error-free and has all relevant information: FAQs, status page to clearly communicate downtime/issues, clear contact information, etc.
- Multiplatform and device service: Your technology platform should allow the CX team to answer questions and continue the conversation on any device or platform, including social channels, chat, email, phone, etc.
- Seamless, personalized experience: Your technology platforms should align with your analytics, so every CX employee can see customer history and provide personalized service on every channel.
- Wider organizational involvement: About one-third of CX leaders involve more than half of their organizations in improving the customer experience. When the wider organization can access customer analytics and response platforms, they can quickly help answer more complicated or technical questions, without causing delays.
It’s clear that businesses must digitize now or be left behind by market trends and consumer preferences. If your company doesn’t implement a fully digital experience for your hyperconnected customers, they will readily buy from your competitors—who are certainly going fully digital. Technology is developing rapidly, and your competitors are adopting to that pace. Ensure your company doesn’t fall behind by implementing a digital transformation process that will set you up for years of success. To successfully accomplish that, create a digitally supportive culture, invest in technology platforms that democratize data, and put the customer relationship at the heart of the digital transformation process.