How co-creation can speed up your digital transformation

OPINION / 11th July 2017

There’s been a trend for a while now where many organisations are building their own in-house digital teams, realising that they need to create amazing digital experiences for their customers fast, or else lose them to start-ups or competitors who offer better products and services than they do. Yet, going-it-alone in this way, which may have its advantages – saving on agency fees or feeling more in control of the outcomes - can put businesses at a disadvantage. Often, teams are being made up by existing members who have years of industry experience, those who don’t believe their organisation can change, and those who can’t see the wider trends shaping the market.

New, digitally-savvy customers no longer think about the best experiences they have in industry silos. They expect every service, whether that’s from a bank or an insurance company, to be the best as Uber’s, or as smooth as making a purchase on sites like ASOS or Warby Parker. Consumers now measure everything against that ‘best-in-class experience’, which is why we believe co-creation - the process of marrying an agency’s broad range of skills, learned from a variety of industries, with a team of in-house specialists – is a great way to bring together the best of industry knowledge and an outside perspective to digital transformation. Working together can not only enhance a business’ digital offering, it can speed up its transformation, and can rapidly add value to the business in the following five ways:

1.     Improve internal stakeholder engagement

Collaborative working – having people from all sections of the business including legal, finance and tech as well as agency staff on board from the beginning, can help improve internal buy-in for digital change.

From our experience, when you have a broad set of people, from across the business, in co-creating solutions, it’s easier for the internal team to believe in what they’re doing, and easier for them to champion and drive digital transformation forward with their colleagues. The more diverse a team, the better chance of influencing other stakeholders, from across the business, into supporting the transformation.

2.     Create an agile working environment

Co-creating can increase the speed at which products can reach the market. Most organisations these days are working in an agile way. In the past, large businesses spent years developing new products and services, launching them to the public, only to find that 80-90% of what they’d built was not being used by the end consumer. Since the rise of start-ups and digital-first companies, many organisations are working towards producing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) as quickly as possible.  To give the consumer the MVP and learn how they use it, then iterate and improve it.

3.     Bring an outside perspective in

Digital agencies have been at the forefront of innovation for years, and we understand what it takes to launch products at scale. We believe we can bring key skills to the table, that in-house teams lack. Rather than keep our expertise to ourselves, we aim to impart our knowledge to our clients. We want clients to learn from us, so over time, they can become independent from us. Our expertise has been gained by working with clients in multiple industries. We’ve experienced first-hand how different companies have tackled the challenges of digitising their businesses – everything from how to best utilise data, how to get stakeholder buy-in, and how to introduce the latest technology to improve the customer experience. Digital agencies have been there and we want to share our learnings with you.  We like to challenge conventional thinking, to help push people to think outside the box.

4.     Introduce new skills

Digital agencies have specialists – techies, data analysts, digital strategists, product managers, content creators, and CX designers – all with a wealth of expertise and the latest up-to-the-minute skills and thinking. Rather than large organisations bringing in all of these specialists on a permanent basis, another option is to utilise agency specialists on a project by project basis.  We can help assess the skills gap, and fill these places with our own temporary digital specialists.

5.     Bring new ideas to the table, and fast

Working collaboratively with a specialist digital agency enables large organisations to get the best of both worlds. In-house teams will have unique knowledge about their business, and the agency staff can bring new and fresh ideas to the table, and can challenge business-as-usual thinking.  Agency teams are used to designing and building new products at speed, and can define a strategy, build a tool kit and launch a new product faster than most organisations.  By getting new products into the market, which can be trialled and tested by customers, we can help iterate and improve MVPs very quickly.

ORM’s view

From my experience of leading engagements with large national and international companies, co-creation has proven invaluable in getting digital products to market quickly and effectively. Bringing together the best of both the client’s organisation and the agency skills to create amazing customer products and experiences far outweigh what either could deliver on their own.  

Peter Patersen Peter Patersen Director, Client Engagement Peter Patersen