The Recipe for a Successful Digital Transformation Strategy
We have seen technology bringing radical shifts in our lives… we have read fantastic use cases, technology and business transformation journeys from successful companies… the era of smart machines is upon us with robots mimicking human tasks… the future ahead would be painted with digital as canvas and disruptive technologies like IoT, Mobility, Big Data, AI/ML and Robots that paint deep, immersive experiences. Software is pervading everywhere and blurring the lines between physical and digital worlds.
It is imperative that digital experiences delivered via Social, Mobile, IoT, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning and Big Data empower employees and organizations derive deep insights that are both predictive and prescriptive to drive exponential business impact.
The digital tech tide has been building up for a long time, but has rapidly risen often characterized by technological advancements, innovations that transform the mankind. There have been lot of topics discussed that are key in today’s scenario, however digital technology and transformation is the biggest story and much talked about and equally confusing.
Digital, by nature, is very different. You need Agility. You need Speed. You need Innovation and you need People who can stitch these to deliver business outcomes and goals.
Today a lot of companies are asking:
- What is Digital Transformation & How do we execute digital transformation in order to stay relevant and competitive?
- Is there a templatized framework or solution to build innovation and scale along the transformation journey?
- Should it be done through a big bang approach or a custom, phase wise transformation of individual business functions and departments?
Every organization is unique in terms of culture, vision, mission & goals, and operating models. However, for a successful business transformation strategy the basic premise is putting the customer at the centre. For e.g. If you are retailer, all your customers are shoppers and they are shopping from your competitors as well. The key here is to win customers ahead of competition and that is possible only by integrating physical and digital channels, providing unified customer experience. To do so, you need to understand the entire customer journey map that includes all touch points where the customer interacts with your brand.
A cookie cutter approach digital strategy or solution won’t truly help businesses to scale. A stereotyped digital transformation strategy based on too many assumptions and constraints would not do any good to a business.
Digital transformation aims at leveraging digital technologies viz., Analytics, Mobility, Cloud Computing, IoT and Design Thinking to fuel innovation and creative thinking. It needs to be uniquely customized for every enterprise, starting with a clear understanding of the business landscape and the problem along with details of customer touch points, journeys, experience, and heat maps that highlight emotions.
3 core tenets to be kept in mind while embarking on a digital transformation journey include:
1. Digital Customer Experience – A digital enterprise places the customer at the centre of everyday operations. All the employees in a digital enterprise follow true customer obsessiveness culture assiduously. Delivering holistic experience irrespective of the channel that make customers happy and excited, driving operational efficiency, building trusted relationships and continuous value creation are the hallmarks of a successful digital enterprise.
2. Digital Insights – A digital enterprise needs robust data modelling, data governance and smart analytics integrating entire IT systems to provide critical information to anticipate, sense and respond to business scenarios and take smarter business decisions.
3. A way to reimagine business through digitization of entire value chain – This is possible through a close collaboration and integration among employees, vendors, suppliers and other value chain partners. A connected IT Infrastructure with integrated enterprise IT systems enables organizations to modernize and monetize digital infrastructure, bring products and services to new customers at a faster rate.
How to develop the right customer perspective for Digital Transformation?
70% of digital transformations fail because they fail to introduce all the relevant perspectives viz., business, customer and technology needed to fully identify the problem and explore potential business solutions. Often, a heavy focus on technology, not validating the need with real customers or incomplete understanding of stakeholders’ expectations are some of the reasons. A harmony and balance in these perspectives puts a well-intentioned digital transformation program onto the right trajectory from the beginning.
Throughout the digital transformation journey, business leaders (CXOs) and technologists should have razor sharp focus on customer. The three perspectives that constitute a winning formula for a digital transformation include:
1. Business Perspective
- Focus on clear business outcomes starting with the definition of the problem, not what technology is needed.
- Key here is empathy with stakeholders to understand and define the goals and objectives of digital transformation.
2. Customer Perspective
- Listen to your customers and let them validate that you truly understand the problem before seeking solutions to solve it
- A super simplistic solution with a jazzy, nicer looking UI that does not solve users’ problems is of no use
- Check, recheck and validate assumptions along the entire journey
- A true design led, iterative approach to development with customer at the centre
3. Technology Perspective
- Be technology agnostic and focus on what’s the right solution, not what you know
- Look for incremental successes and do not reinvent the wheel
- Focus on the architecture and service design at the forefront
- Be a trusted and reliable partner with the business and find all the reasons why something is possible and why it isn’t
Digital Technology opens multiple avenues of growth, scale, and innovation for businesses by offering omni channel experience, 360-degree personalization, Workforce and partner enablement, organizational silos breakdown, connected digital platforms and services at an astonishing and never imagined pace. Being conscious and abreast of unique challenges posed in terms of customer experience and opportunities, organizations can design a custom digital transformation strategy and roadmap that provides an edge and a true differentiation and market leader position for them.
With social becoming mainstream, emergence of new communication channels, customer expectations are rising exponentially with customers wanting quick answers, service – no matter where they are, what device or medium being used to interact with a brand or service. In today’s world, consumers (digital natives) want picture perfect, multi-channel, seamless experience when they are talking to a brand – if they are not served with pristine accuracy and attention, they are going to embrace a competitor.
The holy grail for most organizations is to embrace Digital Technologies, platforms and solutions to gather data about their customers, and use it effectively to glean insights about their experiences and emotions to win.
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