Transforming your enterprise into an experience business—where digital and physical interactions with your brand merge into a singular, fluid stream of engagements—requires adopting a customer-centric view.
Digital transformation is not simply about investing in new systems or shifting processes to drive productivity. Although achieving higher productivity and better cost efficiency will always be hallmarks of great transformations, today’s evolution is about using data to provide the experiences consumers demand. It’s about connecting with them at a deeper, more personal level.
Here are five resolutions successful digital transformation executives are making in 2018:
Keep an eye on the details
Successful digital transformation requires engaging at multiple levels, with data from all levels providing the crucial details for understanding your customers better.
Think of it this way: The best way to draw a horse is to begin with simple shapes. You outline the torso, legs, and head, then you fill in the details that refine and complete your vision—the ears, mane, tail, coloring, and so on. These details will allow you to understand the complexity of your subject.
Over the last two decades, many new digital solutions have emerged to help brands transform their businesses. Some enterprises moved swiftly to assemble independent technology solutions to fit their needs. However, in their haste to adopt new technologies, brands often miss the value that technology brings.
Technology can help you extract details about your customers quickly, then move with agility to deliver the experiences they want. But if you’re working with multiple, disparate digital platforms and services, are you extracting the true value of technology?
Your investment in digital solutions must follow a holistic approach and improve your ability to understand and address your customers’ needs, preferences, interests, and lifestyles.
Don’t be afraid to make hard decisions
When implementing your brand’s digital transformation, think of the old Polish proverb, “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” The definition and scope of transformation can vary significantly for each brand. If you’re given the mantle to adopt new technologies to become a customer-focused experience business, you’ll have to decide—sometimes brutally—which legacy technologies to abandon and which new options will help transform your enterprise.
The scope of your transformation will likely be unique. And although there are best practices for any endeavor, the manner in which you take the brand forward will have a profound effect on your success. Where are changes necessary? How will new solutions be integrated into existing successful practices? What works for others may not apply to your transformation.
The way forward will depend on your ability to evaluate your distinct needs, resources, objectives, and goals as they pertain to engaging your customers and enriching their experiences with your brand.
Recognise the difference between being smart and being lucky
Be careful not to confuse successes that are a result of painstaking legwork with those that happen because of good fortune. Identifying the causes of success (or failures) is critical to transforming your organisation.
Enterprises that run on gut instinct or on the highest paid person’s opinion (HIPPO) risk falling behind competition that has implemented digital solutions to accurately define customer profiles and confidently adapt marketing practices.
Of course, data underpins any successful transformation. So having a clear, complete, and accurate view of your data is critical to maturing into an experience business. Data tells a story about your customers that is irrefutable, but analysis of the data must also be clear, complete, and accurate. How easily can your teams draw insights from your data? Analytics’ functionality, such as anomaly detection and contribution analysis, go a long way in helping to inform whether your approach is smart or just plain lucky.
Learn from failure
There’s a well-known expression that’s applicable to digital transformation: “Sometimes you are the pigeon and sometimes you are the statue.”
Not every initiative that one undertakes as a part of their brands digital transformation will be successful. There will be failures. Learning from them, is not only critical, but also instrumental in improving the probability of future success. Digital transformation initiatives typically have board level visibility and customer level impact. Failure as well as success of these initiatives is very visible externally as well as internally.
Successful transformation leaders balance their long-term goals and short-term success as their brand transforms.
Digital transformation usually has the connotation of being cool and sexy, many times it is not; sometimes it is just hard grunt work. But it’s important to continue to learn from both successes and failures.
Adapt to succeed
When a transformation executive with a reputation for driving change tackles a business with a reputation for resisting change, it is usually the reputation of the business that remains intact. Successful digital transformation leaders understand that they need to adapt their approach as they roll out cultural, organizational, procedural and technological change as a part of their transformation agenda.
When things change quickly, people within your organisation can perceive these changes as disruptive. It is therefore imperative to take everyone on the journey. Use vocabulary to inspire a positive environment and visibly engage teams at every stage of your transformation. Sometimes, it can be a simple change from saying, “we need to fail fast,” to “we need to learn fast.” Helping your team execute your customer-centric vision requires a combination of great leadership and good listening. You must learn from others, while making sure you get your point of view across clearly.
Digital transformation—like all transformations—will be challenging. There is an abundance of technology solutions available to make that transformation possible. But simply stitching together solutions and rolling them out enterprise-wide won’t accomplish your objective. With a healthy perspective and a focus on inculcating these five habits, your brand can mature into the experience business you envision.