Digital Transformation: Focus on People First to Achieve Success

Transformation is a long journey made up of a series of sprints, and at larger organizations it can take years for momentum to kick in. Picture a large shipping freighter changing direction. You know that you have momentum and that success is on the horizon when your team or department goes outsider status to finally having more work than it can handle, a seat at the table.

Digital transformation brings digital products and platforms front and center in helping to achieve business goals with a focus on marketing activities and improving overall customer experience. From digital marketing, mobile apps, websites, and analytics, digital experiences are more important than ever when looking to acquire and retain customers. People, process and product are three commonly used terms to describe a transformation journey and should be key elements of your digital strategy. However, two other elements should also be included: data and adaptability.

Here are five tips to enable digital transformation at your organization, with a focus on people first.

1. Showcase a vision of what the future holds

The first and most important step is to create a digital strategy that showcases the outcome of the transformation, a vision of what the future holds. Then tell your story – share your vision. Buy-in from the top-down is required, starting with the CEO, the CMO, and CTO all need to fully support the vision. With a strong vision, teams will get excited about the journey and know what they are working so hard for and trying to achieve. Setting up a strategy that allows for quick wins and momentum is necessary. Think stages within a race. Celebrate the wins.

2. Foster collaboration and nurture talent

You need to have the support to create winning teams that execute and deliver. Take the time to develop your future leaders, hire for new skillsets ad perspectives, and when needed, have the tough conversations with those who cannot adapt.

Collaboration is vital for transformation success. Expand partnerships and remove silos where possible; the more teams across the organization buy into and support the digital strategy, the greater the likelihood of success. IT and business teams need to become one team focused on the same goals and be held to same metrics of success.

3. Establish processes and adapt quickly to change

A significant part of transformation involves process change. All of the following questions must be asked and solutions put into place, but it requires people and teams to change, to grow, to try new things, to fail, and ultimately learn what works best within an organization. Technology is constantly evolving and changing the way we complete tasks, communicate, and live. In order to take full advantage of the opportunities that these technologies and process changes offer, companies need to be adaptable and implement the right process in advance to achieve its goals.

  • What are the largest customer pain points?
  • Are there effective ways to capture feedback and insights?
  • How are projects tracked, prioritized, and by whom?
  • What technology foundational work is required before adding additional functionality?
  • How are the digital projects delivered?
  • How can delivery become more efficient within the constraints of your organization?
  • How can you create a culture of innovation?
  • Are you prepared to fail, to iterate, and to learn?

4. Collect and analyze data at the beginning, middle, and end

Collecting and analyzing data is imperative to the entire transformation journey from beginning to end and helps to hold teams accountable and measure success.

By creating customer panels and platforms for feedback loops, you can ensure that the voice of the customer is heard and their input ultimately drives your product roadmap. As roadmaps are agreed upon, KPIs need to be determined. What are the measurable metrics that will be used to determine the success of the project? Is the project phased into based on the hitting of KPIs? This is one of the largest areas of opportunity in many large companies. Too often, projects are fully developed, instead of piloting ideas and iterating towards success. Results are not tracked, or delivery is the only measurable goal. Continuous tracking of KPIs to confirm the benefits of the project and regular reporting will help to drive future opportunities.

5. Leverage digital experiences to engage and delight

Digital products and services now offer endless possibilities to engage with and to delight customers. “Meet customers where they are” and “mobile first” are now commonly used to describe the digital experience. However, using analytics and creativity to personalize the experience, you can take these approaches to the next level – meeting the “right” customers “wherever” they are and at the “correct” time. This is how you differentiate yourself and win over the most important people in the transformation – your customers.

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