Digital Transformation: 3 questions that help focus your digital journey

Digital Transformation: 3 questions that help focus your digital journey

an excerpt from our "Practical Guide to Digital Transformation" 2017 edition

Digital is about speed” is the prevailing opinion held by many strategy shops and consultants.   The common playbook includes chapters on knocking out steps in the supply chain, decreasing decision making steps, implementing cloud platforms to ‘leap frog’ historic infrastructure, and ‘enabling’ the business teams to do more (usually with less human intervention and lots of info graphic reports).  

What is often missing in most of these assessments is the impact that digital transformation can make on your customers (velocity), and the value creation that results.    Done right, you can magnify the value of the change 2x and 3x when you execute a digital transformation campaign that takes into account the bigger picture of business and customer growth.

What ‘digital done right’ looks like

First, be clear on slogans, tactics, and strategy.   “Being a digital business” is a slogan or advertisement for change – it is neither action or direction itself.   We have seen a growing number of first generation ‘digital transformations’ stumble on the slogan-heavy, change lite approach to digital transformation.  

Digital transformation is a campaign process (with multiple sprints of effort within) and change journey that focuses on the human, process, and platform changes in concert to ensure the digital journey sticks.   Like most change programs, digital transformation efforts go through cycles (hype, disappoints, and acceptance), and requires a steady hand and a sense of company ownership to achieve the desired results. 

Clear away the digital jargon and take a focused, practical look at your business.   Three questions we often ask clients to consider as they envision digital transformation:

1. Start with your leading indicators.  What areas of your business are flattening or trending poorly (new customer acquisition, transactions per cycle, days to sales close, marketing engagement factors) as an indicator of an opportunity for digital transformation?    These leading indicators usually point to an opportunity for incremental digital change, with a 1 to 2 quarter transformation time frame possible with the right strategic choices.   

2. What new market entrants (competitors) are trending upwards, and what digital techniques are they deploying to differentiate?    Differentiation at scale (think 5x to 10x impact difference in brand awareness or competitive marketing impressions) is possible with digital techniques and new models including digital marketing and sales enablement processes.    

3. Which areas of your business face the customer most, and are your customers receiving the best experience on those channels?     

A quick way to find out whether you are hitting the digital mark with your customers is an informal customer discussion (invite the top 10 and bottom 10 customers to a coffee, meeting, or meal) on how they are finding their experience.   Explore for aspirations (‘we wish you would …’ dialogs) and consider the art of the possible. 

If a digital answer exists (or could be brought forward in the near term) – consider the economics and effort it would take to prototype.   Most times, you will find a test case and pilot evaluation leads to a new way of work / customer service that can digitally transform your business.  

Tactics and techniques can help

There are several macro-trends in digital transformation that you should consider on your digital journey:

Customer journey mapping, combined with next generation business process management solutions, can drive digital experiences to a new level with the right team.   Customer journey mapping helps you identify how and where there are touch points, and opportunities for digital experiences that make a difference.    Automating those journeys with BPM platforms can ensure consistency and measurable results, allowing for continuous improvement (read on!)

Design thinking and rapid prototyping a solution for a customer, aligned with the proposed customer journeys, brings together a better roadmap for digital success.    Design thinking, a method favored by many high-tech companies and pioneered by leading companies like Apple, use a rapid prototype and feedback process ensures you are getting ‘closer and closer’ to the ultimate customer experience without waiting months to years for a final product (or change) to reach market.  Doing so with digital experiences helps you evaluate the effectiveness and market acceptance of change, both key factors in digital transformation success.

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To learn how to better align your business strategy with digital opportunities, get in touch with us!