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10 Keys to Successful Digital Transformation: Human Centered

By 10.04.18
Reading time: 4 minutes

In any digital transformation, there are three key elements present: the people, the business, and the technology. Companies in every industry are searching for ways to leverage the newest technologies and transform their businesses. However, far too often we see companies that let digital and technology get in the way of what matters most:  the people. Not enough emphasis is put on optimizing the experience, processes, and technology for the people that will be using it.

What is Human Centered Design in Digital Transformation?

One of the most common misconceptions about Human Centered Design (HCD) is that its importance is solely design related, with its purpose to design a good looking and usable user interface. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Human Centered Design is an approach and it is paramount to driving truly transformational change in any organization.

The goal of a true Human Centered approach is to deeply connect with your customers and employees as you are planning for your digital transformation. We want to go deeper than simply what do they need to do from a business perspective, but more why do they need to do it. How does it affect the customer? What are the current pain points in how it is done today and how does that affect their day-to-day? By gaining this true understanding of our customer and employee needs, wants, and pain points — we can align your technology and business goals to support those needs and prioritize areas that will have the largest impact to your customer and across your organization.

What’s at Stake if Your Digital Transformation Isn’t Human Centered?

If we set off on a digital transformation without first understanding the true needs of the people affected by this change, we risk going full-steam down the wrong path, solving the wrong problems, or implementing solutions that will need to be re-designed once users start using it.

Too often, we’ve seen the product or process owner role filled by a supervisor, senior manager, or executive that has not had face-to-face conversations with customers or the employees that will be using the solution. This results in defining business requirements that completely miss the reality of the customer or employee experience. If you aren’t getting to the bottom of the needs of the people using the product you are not only not maximizing the value of your technology initiative, but you also risk adoption issues by attempting to force users to use software that was designed without a true consideration of their needs.

Again, if you’re filling a gap or solving a pain point that hasn’t been validated by real human needs, you run the risk of spending more time and more money down the road to pivot and revise your initial solution.  Even worse than the threat of solution revision, you may be missing the goal entirely and ultimately lack the adoption needed to be successful long-term.

The Customer Journey Map: The Champion of any Digital Transformation.

A customer journey map is an illustrated representation of a customer’s lifecycle with your product or service. It maps the phases customers go through, for example, Research > Awareness > Engage > Buy > Service. At each phase, we document customer expectations, experiences, actions, questions, and pain points as their experience unfolds over time across these phases and a variety of touchpoints. Most importantly, a Customer Journey Map is created with real customer data, both qualitative and quantitative, through activities like customer interviews, focus groups, surveys, analytics, and more. Doing this gets us to the real truth of your customer’s experience.

Once we understand where the pain points are for your customers this allows us to make informed decisions on what technologies or functionality to prioritize in order to the have the most meaningful impact.

Additionally, we can start to examine how your organization internally supports this customer journey. Why are there customer pains in certain phases of the life-cycle and not others? This helps us get to the real root of problems across your organization and strategically plan for how to solve them in the most efficient and impactful way.

Getting Started on the Human Centered Driver of Digital Transformation

Let’s sum up what a business needs to do to start aHuman Centered digital transformation.

  1.  Planning – Before you set out on defining your solution, make sure you understand who all the players are that will be affected by and using the technology. Take an inventory. This could be a variety of customers, employees, partners, executives, or any other end-users. Once you understand all of the players, lay out a plan for how you will engage each of these groups of people in a way that their voice can be heard.
  2.  Research – Research is a critical factor in the Human Centered Design approach. After all, the whole goal of HCD is to gain a deep and honest understanding of your customer and users. This can be done through customer surveys, gathering and analyzing website, and application analytics or other quantitative research. But to gain a true understanding of the underlying motivations and pain points, go for in-depth one-on-one interviews or semi-structured group discussions. This is relevant for all personas involved (both customer and internal). An outcome of this research should be user and customer personas or customer journey maps that will help drive our transformation.
  3.  Transparency – A key driver to the success of the Human Centered approach is transparency. Through a variety of workshops, you will bring together employees, customers, and stakeholders from across your organization to start communicating. Having open honest discussions about what is going well, what is going not so well and where the opportunities for change reside. These conversations are invaluable and crucial to the long-term success of any digital transformation.

Going back to two other important drivers, Human Centered Design should impact your vision led approach and be measured when you are defining value to impact your overall journey towards digital transformation.

Whether you’re new to digital transformation and the Human Centered driver or you need to jumpstart your existing journey map, Silverline has best practices to help you navigate your route. Subscribe to the Silverline blog as we continue our dive into each of the 10 keys to successful digital transformation..

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