Digital transformation is a powerful business enabler and can pay off handsomely when it is considered and acted upon as a top priority. The key drivers of digital transformation are profitability, customer satisfaction, and increased speed-to-market according to a Forrester Consulting research study commissioned by Accenture.
Digital transformation allows businesses to achieve greater workforce productivity, greater efficiencies, and improved competitive advantage. When taking a proactive, digital-first approach, enterprises can leverage technologies to meet business objectives, optimize opportunities and improve the customer experience.
Successful digital transformation is more than just about adopting innovative technology. While the network is the foundation of transformation, the key to successful digital transformation lies in the hands of the company’s people, culture, and understanding of their customers.
If your company is considering undergoing digital transformation in 2018, here are three key requirements for digital transformation success.
1) Focus on Customer Experience First
Companies can no longer be complacent or rest on their laurels in this digital economy. Now more than ever customers and users demand more technological capabilities and ease of use on the go. To stay relevant and competitive, companies must be “customer obsessed” if not customer-centric if they want to survive and thrive in this digital world.
The internet and mobile technology have completely changed the way that consumers research and shop. Never has it been so hard to build and maintain brand loyalty and trust. Disgruntled and unhappy customers can very quickly make their thoughts known to potential and existing customers online and via social media.
Businesses simply cannot “behave badly” without consequences. Rightly or wrongly – perceived or real – whether it be a sub-standard experience, low-quality products, poor customer service, untimely responses or non-responsiveness, apps or websites that crash, or any manner of things that equate to a poor experience in the customer’s eyes, your business reputation could be on the line.
More people are seeking out and relying on past customer reviews than ever before when choosing a business. 97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2017 and 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations according to the 2017 BrightLocal Consumer Review Survey. Positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more.
Naturally, consumers prefer businesses that receive more high-scoring reviews than those with low-scores. Poor customer experiences that translate into negative reviews and are left unaddressed can be detrimental to a brand, and result in loss of trust in existing and potential customers.
Unsurprisingly, improving the customer experience is a big driver for many businesses to undergo digital transformation. It pays to focus on the customer experience and understand how people are consuming your product or service when adopting new technologies. Start by determining your company’s strengths and weaknesses in achieving great customer experience. This means you focus first on understanding your customers and the experiences they want in order to improve the experience that you provide. Ask yourself what your customers demand and expect of your business? How can these demands and expectations be addressed by technologies? Once you can answer these questions, you can determine the technology that achieves a greater customer experience while meeting your business needs.
2) Get The Right Network
To achieve digital transformation, you need a robust, reliable network that can scale to meet your digital strategy – whether that’s building an app, improving your online presence, or improving your workforce productivity.
The starting point of digital transformation is network transformation. Your business will naturally become increasingly dependent on the network as you undergo digital transformation, so you will need to identify the most appropriate network infrastructure for your business needs.
As the business scales, you will need to be able to continuously add more bandwidth at higher speeds to accommodate larger volumes of data and more users. In addition to scalability, the network quality and performance needs to be reliable with minimal downtime.
As you go down the path of digital transformation, you can’t be limited by network performance (speed) or bandwidth – you need a fast, responsive network that performs as expected. A poor network can harm your business, impacting your online presence, employee productivity, your ability to take orders and make transactions, and customer support. Regardless of what digital technologies your company will adopt and choose to deploy for digital transformation, they will not work effectively without a reliable network. Non-responsive or slow networks which will impede the success of your business.
Choosing the right network to allow your business to sell profitably, quickly, and with superior customer satisfaction is a foundation to digital transformation success.
3) Build a Committed, Collaborative Cross-Organizational Team
The technology is changing so rapidly that organizations find it difficult to keep pace in understanding and adopting these innovations. Some organizations continue to encounter resistance to change and suffer from cultural challenges and set-backs. In some cases, rigid mindsets hold back the organization from embracing change, in others, there are simply budget, resource, knowledge or talent constraints.
For the process of digital transformation to successfully start and progress, there needs to be a strong commitment throughout all levels of the organization. This means there must be a culture of commitment to embracing change and agreement on adequate allocation of resources and budget.
The IT team alone cannot drive digital transformation. Many IT leaders and professionals find that their resources are stretched thin. Too often, they are busy fighting fires with the daily backlog of work just to keep operations running smoothly and cannot spare the time to make strategic plans.
Collaboration at all levels of the organization is needed and ideally there is a professional team dedicated to making digital transformation happen. This team should be a combination of people in varying roles across the organization from IT to marketing and sales, senior leaders and customer service personnel.
Alongside IT leaders and professionals, included in the team should be people with a knowledge of strategic business goals, people who are business savvy and those that are customer aware. People with a product management mindset, where they know the customer, know the product, and what the customer wants should be part of the collaborative team. This way, any digital innovations that are adopted bring value to the organization, through increased productivity, profitability, improved customer experience and meet business goals.
Managers should be included also and should be hands-on to gain an understanding of how people in their organization use technology. It is important that everyone collaborates and contributes their unique talents toward achieving common goals.
While the environment, as well as the business goals and objectives are likely to change, it is important that people and culture of an organization can remain committed to achieving their digital transformation goals and are willing to embrace any change as needed.
Digital transformation is no longer a question of if, but WHEN
Enterprises that undergo digital transformation are able to maintain a competitive advantage over their non-digital counterparts. How digital ready is your enterprise? If your organization is committed to digital transformation and you need guidance on what to do next, contact Ascension Global Technology today. We can facilitate your transition to digital in 2018. With our help, you can plan and adopt a holistic approach to digital transformation success, and we can help you determine the right network that aligns with your business needs.
Make your move to digital successful and safe in 2018
With every new technology applied to your business activities, new security vulnerabilities are presented. If you are already on the path to digital transformation and need to evaluate your security strategies for a cloud-first enterprise, we can assist you in addressing vulnerabilities. Remember that digital transformation will be more of a marathon than a sprint, and often the finish line moves. Ascension Global Technology can help guide you along the digital transformation journey.
References and Resources:
BrightLocal 2017 Local Consumer Review Survey
CenturyLink Bright Ideas, Your First Steps Towards Digital Transformation
Forrester Consulting Paper Commissioned By Accenture Interactive, October 2015, Digital Transformation In The Age Of The Customer