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How to achieve value-creating digital transformation

18th May 2020

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Following the COVID-19 crisis, cost reduction and operational efficiency will be vital as businesses look to bounce back from serious setbacks. Investments in digital transformation will likely focus on automating processes and cutting operational costs. But the customer, and improving their experience or service, is often not the focus of such initiatives when they should be at the centre.  

Witten by Ian Brookes

During the beginning of COVID-19, many organisations were unprepared for surge demand. This will likely be the case again after the crisis unless they are taking this time to plan for it. Businesses need to anticipate the surge in demand for their support and services that will arise once the world is back to business as usual. They need to focus on value creation from digital transformation investment and seek to gain market share from the scale benefits technology can deliver.

Customers at the heart of your business model

Let’s look at what value creation means. Consumers expect personalised and highly relevant interactions, catering to their individual contexts. A number of companies have embraced digital technologies to offer customers unique and unforgettable experiences – Netflix and Spotify come to mind – as enterprises deliver customer experience as an increasing point of differentiation.

As a result, value-creating digital transformation seeks to remove friction across touchpoints for customers, driving long-lasting advocacy and loyalty. But value-creating digital transformation is only derived from a deep and intrinsic understanding of the customer experience process. Without this, they will fail to generate genuine and sustainable customer value.

How to ensure your digital transformation will lead to growth

To create consistent value, you must place customers at the centre of your business model, and design digital offerings around their requirements.

  1. Stay close to your customers

Having a full understanding of your customers’ expectations and will be a vital part of planning your organisation’s digital transformation. Customers’ expectations are exceptionally high in this current technology-driven climate. Businesses are expected to have a strong online presence, with the ability to communicate with their customers and service through an online application process.

  1. Jettison legacy systems and processes

Companies trying to build flexible and agile digital systems on top of outdated technology and processes are creating more challenges than solutions, whilst spending lots of time and money. If your core systems and processes were designed more than five years ago, they probably need to be reworked in order to support a successful digital transformation. Adopting a Cloud infrastructure underpinning your technology strategy will provide the ability to be flexible and agile.

  1. Engage people with the vision

Getting your employees involved and encouraging them to get on board with a digital transformation strategy is vital for the successful outcome of the transition. Training is key. This will also assist your workforce in remaining productive and ensure nothing is missed during the changeover from old to new systems.

  1. Consider culture

Consider the cultural and operational changes required to deliver a great experience at speed and scale. Organisational silos, entrenched practices, and a lack of collaboration across business lines can compromise the quality and ultimate success of digital transformation projects.

  1. Be aware of potential technology solutions available

In this current climate, technology is moving so fast that it can be difficult for many organisations to keep up. Investing in technology requires a constant review of your business’ current capabilities, the direction that technology is going, and assessing if your business can follow.

To ensure the success of digital transformation initiatives, companies must focus on improving customer experience across all touchpoints by rooting it in customer needs, wants, and expectations. When coupled with a technology solution, this mindset becomes an enabler allowing you to break inertia and deliver value.

Find out how to deliver customer-centric digital transformation in the next installment of Ian’s series. 

Ian Brookes has spent 25 years in the tech, services & software industries, as a founder, investor and advisor. He currently is Founder & Director of thestartupfactory.tech and is a Non-Executive Director at Nivo.


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