Innovators like Amazon, Google, and Apple have changed customer expectations. Today’s customers now expect every organization to deliver products and services swiftly and provide a seamless user experience. Many traditional businesses fall short.
In response, a new wave of businesses, such as Uber, Airbnb, and others have been born in the digital age to provide solutions to traditional problems in a way that disrupts the market. These new online companies combine the rapid delivery of digital products and services with advanced algorithms and access to customer information to personalize the customer experience to each buyer.
Businesses must put into place a digital transformation strategy to meet the expectations of customers and keep up with new competitors.
Today’s customers are demanding businesses undergo a radical overhaul of business processes. They are increasingly accustomed to intuitive products and design, around-the-clock availability and support, real-time fulfillment, personalized treatment, consistent experiences, and no errors.
Beyond a better customer experience, companies can also offer more competitive prices due to lower costs, better operational controls, and less risk as they transform traditional processes and tools to digitally optimized solutions.
In this post, we explore 5 steps that should be considered in a digital transformation strategy.
- Start at the end and work backward.
Digital transformation enables the reconfiguration of a business and the processes used to support customers. For example, combining traditional support channels with customer-generated screen videos can allow customers to skip hold queues and business agents to resolve concerns or answer questions rapidly.
Successful transformation leaders begin by designing the future state without regard for constraints. Once a compelling future state is described, constraints can then be reintroduced. Team members should be encouraged to challenge each constraint. Many are likely corporate myths or issues with quick resolution through discussion or tools.
- Tackle the end-to-end customer experience
Incorporating digital tools in select stages of the customer experience may deliver increased efficiency for specific interactions or areas of the process. It may also address some burning customer concerns. However, it will never offer a seamless and consistent experience. As a result, this strategy is likely to leave significant potential on the table.
Digital transformation teams need support from every function involved in the customer experience to tackle an end-to-end workflow. Furthermore, customers should be intricately involved as well. To do this, it is essential that organizations bring together colleagues from cross-functional units including IT developers. This unit has the mandate to challenge the status quo and provide a consistent end-to-end customer experience.
- Build capabilities
Digital experts are limited. Building in-house capabilities can be a key to successful digital transformation. When organizations have a skilled staff that can be called upon to create a digital process quickly, long-term digital success is more likely.
The managers selected to lead the transformation should be carefully selected, well trusted in the business, and prepared to commit for an extended period. The team must have the necessary skills to incorporate or build the required technology components modularly so that they can be reused across the organization and maximize the economies of scale.
- Move quickly
Any business leader who has undergone an intensive IT transformation knows that the promised return is often not delivered until the end of the project, which can be years after kickoff. However, when businesses keep the end goal in target but transform the processes one by one, the company and customers will experience improved performance within months.
Moving quickly isn’t always easy. Often, business decision making or culture create the bottleneck in a process or a change. Digital transformation efforts need strong support from organizational leadership to align all the stakeholders.
- Roll in, not out
In a traditional deployment, a new solution is rolled out across sites or teams. However, radical changes to processes and organizations may require a different approach. In these cases, it might be better to roll in a new organizational unit to handle the new digital component or process. From there, the business may bring employees into this unit while simultaneously increasing the volumes handled by it.
This strategy ensures a smoother transition by not expending energy attempting to change old habits and behaviors. By the time all process volume has migrated to the new digital process, the new organizational unit will have incorporated all required employees from the legacy units.
Companies must accelerate their digital transformation to meet the high customer expectations. This move to digital requires more than merely automating existing processes. Instead, to satisfy today’s customers, companies must reinvent the entire business. Digital transformation often requires that old wisdom be combined with new skills to connect industry and company knowledge with today’s best practices. By considering these 5 steps, teams can put together a strategy that has a higher likelihood of success.