Few can argue that the digital transformation imperative is real.
Your enterprise’s ability to deliver (and compete) on customer experience hinges on it. Forrester, in conjunction with Odgers Berndtson, found that while executives understand digital’s potential to transform how businesses create and deliver customer value, more than 4 out of 5 companies (84%) do not have the required skills or talent to carry out this transformation, and only 19% of leaders are confident they have the right technology in place to execute their digital strategy.
Per the same study, of executives estimated that more than half of their sales will rely on digital within five years, but only 21% feel they have the right team to define their digital strategy. Furthermore, only 14% believe they have the correct processes set up to implement it.
Clearly, many companies are failing to face the digital transformation imperative. How can they course-correct? By simply following the “three P’s”:
Successful digital transformation is really all about .
Before your organization can digitize, your people have to transform. But change is hard. People often need to go through a personal risk assessment before they commit to helping you change the organization. They need to know how the changes will affect them. They worry about whether they’ll be able to perform — and some will wonder if they should start looking for a different employer.
So to start, you need to get clear on the role, or roles, people will play in the process. Who should be involved? Who’s in charge? Who owns the transformation? Who needs to work better together to make digital a new way of life?
Forrester reports that “43% of firms with a mature digital strategy see competing departments wanting to own digital as the most significant barrier to effective digital transformation in their organization.”
Do you have the right people with the right skill sets? Will you need to outsource? Can you build a transformation engine fast enough, or would bringing in outside experts speed things up?
Address these aspects first and then clearly define roles. Without the right people and the right alignment, digital transformation will remain just one more siloed initiative.
Today’s products are really about product plus experience , which naturally leads to these questions: What impact will digital transformation have on your product and the experience around it? How is your product going to evolve because of this, and most importantly, the user experience?
After you get the people factor right, your next focus should be on the technology needed to support the kind of digital transformation that improves customer experience. While 89% of enterprises are investing in tools and technology to improve their customer experience initiatives, too few are relying on real-time data to inform decisions. Today’s customers expect a hyper-personalized experience, and to truly provide that, you need a 360-degree view of the customer.
Comprehensive customer experience data platforms offer a secure, singular view of the customer in real time. They provide users with insights into every customer interaction across every touchpoint so customer experiences can be truly personalized. This is a critical aspect of digital transformation.
Next, how will you measure success? Digital transformation requires significant investment in people, processes and technology, so how will you measure return? Is revenue the only measure? Or might decreasing the cost of customer acquisition, fulfillment and store investments with more e-commerce gauge the value of digital transformation to your enterprise? It should be noted that the most important performance metric is the impact on customer experience — which translates into increased retention and revenue. Brand value and Net Promoter Score can also be non-revenue and non-cost vital metrics to track performance.
The obvious path is to have IT drive digital transformation in cooperation with marketing. But keep in mind that the impact on customer experience should drive decisions around your process.
Digital transformation must happen across the enterprise, but it doesn’t have to happen all at once. Start where it will make the greatest impact coupled with a high probability of success (and, often, with the lowest risk to negatively affecting customer experience). Should it be internal or external? Online only? Online and in store? U.S. only or U.S. first? And which areas of the business will undergo transformation first?
Remember, where you start will have a ripple effect on the entire enterprise and a correlating impact on customer experience. Quick, small successes are infinitely better than a grandiose strategy with a high degree of risk that takes forever to implement. For example, bots are still in their infancy, yet some enterprises are deploying them because of the promise they offer to cut customer service costs and provide faster response times. Early deployment of immature bots could lead to negative customer experiences, however.
The process you use to drive digital transformation must be carefully balanced with the maturity of the technologies you’re implementing, the ability of your people to implement them and the patience and tolerance levels of customers to experience them. Your process may not be IT and marketing first — it might be IT and customer service in conjunction with marketing. It might be IT and logistics and fulfillment. Customize a process that truly makes sense for your enterprise. It doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s path, it just has to work for you and your particular needs and goals.
Keep Moving Forward
Digital capabilities such as e-commerce, websites, mobile apps, email marketing and social media will fall short if the enterprise is not able to hyper-personalize customer experience and meet the customer in the moment, when and where they choose to engage. Implement the three P’s of digital transformation and you will successfully bring your enterprise into the Digital Age and position your business to compete on customer experience .
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