If you’ve been part of the world of technology for a while like I have, you might have a hard time suppressing an eye roll when you hear the words “digital transformation.” With every new advance in hardware, software, and infrastructure, we’re told that true digital transformation will finally be a reality. And with the enormous changes being brought about by the current state of the world, we’re beginning to hear those predictions of digital transformation once again.
So why should we believe that digital transformation will really take hold this time? In short, because the capabilities delivered by digital transformation will be more necessary than ever as the world emerges from the health and economic challenges we currently face. They’ll go from being tools that offer a competitive advantage to essentials for ongoing business survival. Fortunately, we already have the skills and technologies we need to transform rapidly and effectively.
The reality of digital transformation and why it matters now
Digital transformation is about two things: doing a better job of seamlessly delivering value to customers, and making sure a business is capable of innovating, changing, and experimenting with its business model. While it might be easy to see these two goals as contradictory, they are in fact highly complementary. For example, a call center that can go from 75 people working in a central location today to 75 people working remotely from their homes tomorrow is a call center that can better serve the needs of those calling in, those responding to calls, and the organization at large.
Today’s COVID-19 requirement is tomorrow’s expectation
While we don’t yet know the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we do know this: life and business have both changed overnight and things will continue to change drastically. Organizations need to not only adapt now, but also create a foundation for future innovation and adaptation.
In the future, customers are going to expect organizations to be as nimble and creative as they have been during the pandemic. They’ll expect more virtual customer service and more self-service options — everyday functionality made possible through automation. To that same point, employees are going to want the same kinds of tools, technologies, and organizational flexibility that have made working while sheltering in place an option for many workers today. Now more than ever, remote work is just that: work. Cloud-based technologies, virtual meeting tools, and increased knowledge management capabilities will all be essential parts of building an anytime, anywhere approach to collaboration and delivery of work. But equally important to success is an approach that looks at the strategic and human elements of digital transformation.
The 4 key factors in a successful digital transformation
You want to deliver great value and experiences to your customers, while also setting your teams up with streamlined operations, opportunities to innovate, and the ability to adapt to changes down the road. From our perspective at Silverline, it takes four things to get a digital transformation across the finish line.
A transformation strategy
First and foremost, you need a strategy that takes your people, processes, and technologies into consideration — a map of where you’re going with risks, wants, needs, and measures addressed from the start. The point is to develop shared definitions, goals, and directional alignment. This strategy includes:
- A shared vision and mission: What will your business look like after you’ve begun to transform it? How will it be different for customers? For your team? What are the unique parts of your value proposition that must stay constant as your business transforms?
- Market insight and competitive differentiators: How are your competitors transforming to meet the needs of a changing market? How can you use the process of transformation to further differentiate yourself in the marketplace?
- KPIs and definitions of success: What quantitative and qualitative measures do you expect to change as a result of the transformation process? How will you measure and track those changes?
- Guiding principles: What parts of your organization’s culture and values must be expressed in how you do the work? How do you expect people to behave as they go through the process? What behaviors will tell you the change is happening in a positive way?
Deep insight into your customers and employees
No one knows your business better than you do: your customers, employees, marketshare, obstacles, and opportunities. The right digital transformation partner can help you leverage those insights to create and optimize your:
- Customer journeys and interaction points
- Service blueprints
- User experience design
- Overall customer experience and employee experience
A transformation plan
This is your roadmap for ongoing, repeatable, and scalable success. What do you need to do? In what order do you need to do it? How will new tools and systems integrate with your existing ones? How do you plan for maintenance and innovation after you’ve gone live with a new solution? The plan should clearly articulate:
- Platform and infrastructure priorities
- Integrations and data sources
- Requirements for ongoing support, including a Center of Excellence, if needed
A change management strategy
It’s one thing to flip the switch and have a new solution in place. It’s another to have your team champion it, let alone understand and support it. That’s where a change management strategy makes an enormous difference — in helping get buy-in from your team, turning decision makers into champions of change, and training people on the systems that will help your business evolve beyond today. A solid change management strategy includes:
- Support for internal teams through ongoing change
- Change readiness analysis
- Change strategy
- Active change management
Figure out what you can do now and get started
The urgency for digital transformation has never been greater. Businesses need to find ways to adapt to our current reality, and to then use those methods to become more adaptable in the future. Having a plan in place for when the world returns to normal is essential, and now is the time to start on that journey toward digital transformation.
Learn more about our digital transformation capabilities and advisory services.