One of the biggest obstacles to smooth digital transformation is people. Sometimes that’s due to fear of not knowing or relinquishing control, other times it may be because of reluctance to have to learn or support something new.
The digital vision must be shared and understood at every level of the business. Chief executives should have a reasonable understanding of technology utilization as well as successful market disruptors. A willingness to learn and recognize knowledge deficits should apply equally in the boardroom as on the shop floor. An organization that
promotes digital fluency now will be much better placed in the future.
Customer experience is the most important aspect of digital transformation agendas and in fact, represents the combined success of all the other evaluation criteria that follows. The end-to-end journey of a customer may not even start online. This is where brand continuity is a factor. Content needs to be informative and aligned with the expectations of the audience across all channels. The entire experience should entice and encourage the user to continue the journey until they eventually perform the desired action.
Place yourself in the position of your customer and replicate the journey from source (e.g. an ad or email) to purchase (or equivalent goal). Does it meet your own expectations as a user? Be honest in your appraisal and compare with what you consider to be the gold standard. Also ensure that you perform this exercise from multiple devices, e.g. mobile and desktop, as your audience most certainly will.
Communication internally within your organization is similarly important to consider. Sometimes the legacy of previous transformative efforts becomes an obstacle to new ones, but because they are taken for granted, people just endure inefficiencies. Technology has progressed so far, especially with cloud-based services, that obstacles
such as small inbox quotas, no remote access to email, prohibitive browsers, etc. should well and truly be a thing of the past. To this day, in spite of all the progress, we take pride in, a number of hours spent resolving issues such as this is still far too much and can be quite easily avoided, often leading to cost and resource savings.
Transactions do not need to involve money. In systematic terms, they tend to be the result of communication efforts, e.g. the acquisition of new customers leading to the purchase of an item, a subscription, membership, course place, etc. Even a simple email newsletter signup could be considered a transaction.
The nature of a transaction will largely determine the complexity of any related system, along with the facilitation of procedural elements that are required by the business. Of many digital mantras, one of the most widely accepted, and increasingly expected, is simplicity. This gains even greater significance when it comes to mobile. Are transactional features optimized for small screens? Has the full range of facility provided by mobile been explored, e.g. micro-moments?
Transformation efforts usually pass in waves, typically coinciding with a critical need or major business change. In the time that passes since, there may have been any number of advances that have become culturally embedded with target audiences. Businesses that have successfully embraced digital transformation should be agile enough to support such changes in good time.
Adopting a mindset of “what if?” early in transformation endeavours serves well to mitigate difficulties with the addition of functionality or third-party system integration down the line, providing a certain amount of future-proofing. With well-established data transfer, sharing and transactional mechanisms, well-documented APIs and large developer communities, a truly digital-ready business should have options for these types of extensions to be rapidly deployed, both cost effectively and with minimum inconvenience.