28 February 2017

Developing Digital Transformation Strategy

“Digital transformation is the building of new technology-enabled business models and solutions, to improve business results, enhance customer engagement, to drive operational excellence.”

Nowadays, digital transformation is the latest trend across the globe. It is all about using technology by creativity and innovation to improve the performance and reach of the business. Executives of almost all the businesses are using some kind of digital services like analytics, mobility, social media, or the smart devices as well bringing advancements in their traditional technologies like ERP, CRM etc. to improve their internal processes, customer relationships as well as the value propositions.

Digital technologies are dominating almost every communication, transactions, and customer interactions these days. Digital transformation is helping the businesses to radically improve their business processes to provide more value to the business and customers.

It is because of the internet that there has been an unprecedented shift in the business and consumer’s preferences and to take full advantage of this transformation, the businesses need to use relatively newer means like social media, mobility, smart devices, analytics, etc. to survive. Adopting these latest trends is absolutely essential for the success of any business these days.

Even, the consumer’s preferences have been changing drastically. Now, they have been using a various different channel to access the information about the products. So, they want all the information to be easily available in a truly user-friendly manner. Hence, digital transformation is about transforming your whole business by bringing the leadership and organizational changes using the latest technologies.

Digital Transformation

Why digital transformation?

Here are the five benefits of digital transformation to the business:

  • Customer engagement: the first and the most important benefit of the digital transformation is that helps in increasing customer engagement and overall experience. The online visibility and interaction with the customers gives an opportunity to the business to understand the requirements of the customers clearly. It also helps in knowing what influences consumer’s decisions. By using digital means, the business can interact with the customers directly by making all the sales and marketing efforts digitized.
  • Increased customer’s satisfaction: The customer satisfaction is foremost priority of any business so that they can retain the existing consumers and move towards growth to reach their ultimate goals. Most of the consumers now are using digital means not only to search and educate themselves but to compare the products and services also online. So, the business that have evolved digitally will be more preferred and appreciated by the consumers.
  • Higher digital traffic: Digital transformation helps in creating your online presence. Creating a website for your business will drive moreconsumers to come check out your products who are in need of similar products and services. Hence, as the business move towards digitization’s, more and more customers start responding to them.
  • Increased lead generation and conversions: Lead generation is very important for the business to grow by finding new consumers. It is the term that refers to the process of generating more customers or customers interest in the products and services offered by the business. So, as the business gradually introduce itself to digital world, it can reach out to larger number of target audiences which in turn generates the greater number of people interested in your business. It helps in converting the potentials or leads into sales which eventually leads to greater profits for the business.
  • Better decision making: The world is experiencing the data explosion due to digital transformation. Now, the businesses have access to more information and data than before to take better strategic decisions. They can use the modern tools like Business Intelligence, data warehousing etc., to understand the flow of data and gain a insight of them.

Key factors involved in transforming your business digitally:

Here are the key factors that are involvedin digital transformation your business:

  • Governance: The strong leadership, governance, innovation, efficiency, and collaboration- all together forms a strong base or foundation of digital transformation. Out of which governance is most essential key factor or component that defines the success of digital transformation. Firstly, the business needs to define the overall goal and then using the top down approach to take the approval of the investors is crucial. The governance also helps in defining the internal processes, business model, and the customer relationship management of the business. But, as the business gradually move towards digital transformation by speeding up the business process and become more integrated, there can be new risks and challenges. Most of the businesses need the cross-silo capabilities to achieve their digital objectives. Also, it is equally important that the responsibilities and accountability of various departments, teams, and associates are clearly defined for the success of digital transformation.

 

  • Strategy: Having defining goals and strategy for the digital transformation in accordance to the business needs is very crucial. Understanding the fact that there is no “one size fits all” solution, rather it is important to define your strategic priorities with good governance. by clearly setting your business goals and strategy, you can take advantage of the opportunity to innovate, differentiate, and grow in a cost-effective manner. Also, the optimization and innovation of information technology should also form essential part of the overall strategy.

 

  • New technology: It is important for the business to adopt the new technologies for the successful digital transformation. The companies are facing new challenges in terms of huge data that is emerging from different sources nowadays and they need to absorb that information, analyze, and consequently plan its responses. The business needs to prepare itself to respond to the shift being experienced due to social networking, analytics, and due to new digital innovations like mobile devices. So, the challenge here arises is that how fast and how far the business can go. So, while shifting and adopting to the new technologies, you need to make sure that:

 

  • the customers are employees are actively involved in the process of adoption of new technology;
  • faster and accurate processing of data and information (both internal and external);
  • demographic consideration so that the information can be classified based on the age groups of the customers and employees;
  • cultural changes;
  • creation of new digital channels;
  • creating single digital integrated platform.

 

  • New digital channels: Gone are the days when the organization can push any information to the customers they want to share. The customers these days wants the information on their own terms. Hence, the newer digital channels like mobile, tablets, etc., that the business is planning to use should the visions of the customers and provide the information or data required by them in accordance to their preferences. With the initiation of digital transformation, the whole business world has moved from being distribution centric to being consumer centric. So, identification of additional channels that can transform the go-to-market strategy or model becomes essential.

 

  • Adoption approach: It is essential to get the approval from all the investors regarding digital transformation and make them understand that it will provide greatest value to them. The customers need to have access to all the relevant information in a simple and clear way irrespective of the internal policies of the business. So, that makes it important to set up a internal learning process and have an understanding environment within the organization.

 

  • Two-way communication: For a successful digital transformation, it is necessary to create and organize information in a user-friendly manner. Also, finding the ways to engage the target customers is important. For customer engagement, collaboration is required. Hence, it becomes essential to collaborate with the external parties so that customer’s needs can be focused.

Digital Transformation Strategy

Steps for creating a successful digital transformation strategy:

Here are the steps that will help you create a successful digital transformation strategy:

Step 1: Research

Before starting with the digital transformation, you need to examine and gather information regarding various factors. This will help you in defining your goals with the digital transformation you want to achieve, what will be your key priorities, how and when to achieve them.

Customers: The customers are the most important asset of any organization so it becomes important to start your research with the customers both existing as well as perspective so that to overhaul the entire process to create more value for them. So, with this step you need to find answers about the following question to create buyer personas for the business:

  • Who are your customers;
  • Where they are employed;
  • What is their buying process;
  • What are the main areas that affect your relationship with customers;
  • What are their expectations from the business;
  • Why are they getting in touch with competitors;
  • What gap they have been experiencing between being perspective client and being customer;
  • How to improve that transition period;
  • Are you at success at engaging them with right information;
  • And other relevant questions.

Client research: You need to have an understanding about all your customer’s types and buyer’s persona, while undertaking the client research. It shall help you in designing a personalized system for all the interaction with them. You can seek help from the third-party researchers since the customers will be more comfortable to open-up to neutral party and provide some true facts about their existing experience with the business.

Examining data: This step shall help you in establishing the problem areas with the current user experience. You need to look out for:  any issues the multiple tickets at call center, does any of your product is priced higher than similar products in market, is your website having high bounce rate, is your content outdated and fails to engage consumers, is your email marketing campaign getting desirable click through rates and responses. So, you need to closely examine your existing CRM, Marketing Automation, and Analytics software to identify the problem areas in existing system as well as the areas that are working completely fine.

 Internal environment: This step involves around understanding the way your business is currently addressing to the requirements of the customers. Every department of your business interacts with the perspective customers at some point of time in their lifecycle through different channels. So, it becomes essential to deliver a continuous customer experience and have all the necessary tools so that the next team able to communicate with the customer where the last team left off in a seamless manner.

External environment: No business can survive in isolation. There are many external factors like competitors, technology, services, etc. that keeps on affecting the business. So, it is essential to understand the current trends of the factors of external environment and try to predict the changes that will occur in future based on the current trends. This helps you in defining the strategy that can overcome and match the everchanging external environment factors.

 

Step 2: Solutions

Now, you need to find the right configuration of the systems, people, and processes that shall help you in achieving the digital transformation goals that were outlined in the research phase. You need to define and develop the whole process that will help you in conquering the fulfil those needs.

Journey mapping: this involves defining a plan to overhaul your overall customer experience in a way that you want to create based on the research conducted previously. A whole plan is drafted explaining the next steps of action to achieve your goals with digital transformation.

People: no plan will be successful until the people working on it are in sync and have defined roles and responsibilities. This involves defining the individual strategies of each department, designing information architecture, implementation of product and services, integration with other products, training and support, and defining roles and responsibilities.

Technology: it helps you in defining the technology solutions that you are looking forward to use in future to improve the overall business processes and customer experience. It includes project management, CRM, data analytics, marketing automation. CMS, databases, accounting, and invoicing, and much more. So, by selecting the systems that you are going to use, you are in a better position to explore and decide how can they fit together and interact successfully.

UX and Creative: a user-friendly interface is needed to be created is east for the staffs as well as the customers to interact with. This can be developed by the existing internal team of the organization or you can hire an external agency that is expert in creating such resources. This could be done by creating a wireframe designs defining how the various assets, channels, and output will look like.

 

Step 3: Roadmap

The next action step involves creating a strategy or plan to define how the things will be put to production. The detailed roadmap helps in describing how the system and internal human will be interconnected and when will you be ready to release them. It is impossible to release the hole brand new system in one go for the users to use it. So, the strategy here to determine which system will be released when and how. Do not forget to factor time in for system development, testing, migration, contingency plan, training and recruitment, the cost of each phase, communicating changes to customer, overcoming fatigue, etc.

 

Step 4: Governance and sundries

Once you have created a system that can deliver a great customer experience, then you need to focus on the further things that are needed to be considered and developed. The most important of which is the content and brand strategies. You need to make sure that it matches with the changing demands of the market and organizations.

Content:you need to create a content plan that can successfully engage the customers by providing meaningful information to them. It should also define what should be the topics, when and how to post them. Also, it requires regular updating of information and content so that relevant information is delivered to them.

Governance: not everyone should have access to all the resources of the organization. So, setting up a governance plan will establish a comprehensive permission plan limiting the access of all the information to everyone.

Promotion:the whole digital transformation efforts will go in vain until your customers and perspective buyers knows about it. So, it is essential to setup a clear marketing plan to engage the consumers.

Data quality standards: the new systems will not be able to deliver the expected results if a little data is put them into it or the data entered is wrong or entered in a wrong files/field. So, there should be certain policies and guidelines around data are in place.

Conclusion:

Most of the industries are going through the huge technological changes with the advancement of science. To enjoy the maximum benefits of the innovation in digital world does not only require the create just a forward-thinking strategy, but also requires them to understand their current state of organization. However, focusing on the three dimension i.e. operational, technological, and business transformation and taking a comprehensive approach will ensure a smoother digital transformation transition for organizations.

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