7 key tenets of digital transformation

OPINION / 7th February 2017

Digital transformation is a process of continuous optimisation. It’s not about getting a business from A to B, but more about facilitating them on an on-going journey.

A business’ digital maturity will vary depending on the sector or industry they’re in, yet in order for digital transformation to happen there are key goals that every business should be working towards, which are:

1. Aligning back-end processes to front end transactions

Businesses need to align their back-end processes with what’s going on at the front-end. This may require an operational change. For example, if a company allows its customers to purchase a product or service via a mobile, it’s likely these customers will circumvent the traditional sales process. This means the business needs to reallocate its resources from, say call centres, to technology, which will facilitate the increasing number of digital transactions happening. As companies begin to remodel their customer experience, they will also need remodel their business too, as the two go hand-in-hand.

2. Creating an omnichannel experience

Customers are digitally savvy, and many are now digitally native. They expect a consistent experience with a company or brand across all channels. This means companies need to join up all their channels to create an omnichannel experience.  To do this, they will need to create an experience management platform, which puts the end user or customer’s experience at the heart of the business model.

3. Using data to continually improve and optimise

Businesses need to look at the data coming from their various platforms and understand what it’s telling them. The data will be able identify behaviours, problems or pain-points in the system that need addressing. It could be that customer transactions on the app or the website are slow, clunky or complicated and need to be improved to increase sales, retain existing customers or attract new business.

4. Testing, experimenting and revising

Once a company has identified a problem, it needs to test solutions to the issue. They need to experiment on a small subset of their users to see if changing ‘x’ solves the problem or improves the experience for the customer. If the test is a success, this will create a new set of rules which will become the norm; and can then be rolled out to the rest of the digital assets. Businesses need to be continually vigilant to what the data is telling them, this will help to drive conversion rates, which will drive revenue.

5. Having the full C-suite buy-in for digital transformation

You can’t digitally transform a business if the senior management team are working to different agendas. Digital transformation is a process that happens across an entire company, and not in a silo, so everybody needs to buy into it and have a shared vision. If the customer is having a poor experience, or if a particular part of the business operation doesn’t work, or the branding or messaging is out of sync with the reality of the product or service, it affects the entire profitability of the company. Ideally the CMO, CTO and COO should be lined up and working collaboratively towards the good of the customer.

6. Recruiting new roles within your teams

As data becomes more of a central business function and as well as an asset, companies need to recruit people who can understand it, and use it to improve the customer experience. Whether they are a conversion rate optimiser, an optimisation analyst or a UX analyst or a combination of all three, this person/these people need to understand what the data is telling them, and be able to make a hypothesis about how to improve the business function/end user experience. They will then have to work with the dev and design teams to make the change happen.

7. Implementing personalisation and automisation technology

Retail empires, like Amazon’s, have been built using this technology; and these techniques have become the gold standard in customer experience. Any organisation that is focused on the customer outcome will be looking to implement these functions in the next 12 to 18 months. Larger organisations will be rapidly trying to build their in-house capabilities, while mid-sized businesses will have to buy in this technology from agencies like ours.

ORM’s view

Sectors such as the airline industry and high street retail have set the standard that others now need to reach. Seamless connected omni-channel experiences, mobile ticketing, geo-targeted push notifications, marketing automation and personalised CRM are great examples of how these businesses have changed their processes to put the customers’ needs first. This kind of customer experience has become the norm and anything less than a frictionless experience is a frustration, and a differentiating factor when customers come to make a purchase.