As organizations seek to grow and thrive in today’s competitive landscape, many of them are looking to harness the power of the all-encompassing “digital transformation.” Gartner defines the term as “the process of exploiting digital technologies and supporting capabilities to create a robust new digital business model.” Simply put, it is the process of transforming business process, technology, solutions, and operations into a seamless and integrated ecosystem.
This is quite an undertaking for any business regardless of their size, and something we often find is there are a lot of misconceptions associated with digital transformation and how to conceptualize and execute a successful one. Throughout the process, organizations not only lose sight of the initial goal for launching a digital transformation but also the need to understand personas and the corresponding customer journey. This leads to failure in more ways than one. An unsuccessful digital transformation is just like a poorly constructed building – think of Millenium Tower in San Francisco, the 58-story luxury residence that is still sinking and tilting due to how it was built. Some of those units were sold for as much as $13 million!
With that in mind, let’s explore three common myths associated with digital transformation that ultimately lead to their demise – and how to debunk them.
Myth: Digital transformation is a one and done process.
By nature, a transformation is an ongoing process that requires regular assessment. While digital transformation can often have a beginning and end, both the market and customer needs and wants evolve. Time and time again, organizations implement a new technology or process and then fail to re-visit it which means they aren’t addressing the current and future market or change in customers’ expectations. Think of it like a cars and highways – paving the highway and putting it down has a beginning and end, but the cars that drive across it never stop.
How to Debunk the Myth: Routinely monitor your company’s digital landscape.
While it varies for how often an assessment should be done, I recommend organization’s monitor monitoring their company’s digital landscape quarterly or at the very least annually. By doing so, they won’t be surprised by the customers or markets changing as they have their ear to the ground and know what is happening. Having this knowledge enables leadership teams to make informed decisions and any necessary adjustments to their strategy. That said, for a successful digital transformation, regular assessment across the entire business is needed to help inform that the existing transformation is on track and will meet the needs of their customers and those who serve those customers.
Myth: Better technology means a successful digital transformation.
New technology is constantly being released, innovated, and updated. Oftentimes, we think the shiny new toy is the best thing we can do for our brand, but it can actually not add any value or add tech clutter. The key is to know what the technology can and can’t do. What’s more, it’s just as important that organizations understand what their needs and end goals are so they can appropriately match their needs with the technology available. Simply put, don’t get caught up on the hype of the new technologies that are coming out understand your needs how those needs can be solved using technology. It is also important to put technology in place that reduces the amount of work your customers and support teams need to do. The days of self service is over…technology needs to do the work as much as possible.
How to Debunk the Myth: Know the solution your company provides.
If organizations understand their market, solution, and customer – then it really makes it easier to stay focused on where they are and what they want to do. By starting with an inside-out approach, an organization can better understand its core offering and determine which solutions align with their needs. This will help break-through the noise and make better business decisions.
Myth: Getting started is the most important step.
Regardless of how big or small a company is, the step one in the digital transformation process is always to determine where a company currently is in its digital transformation journey and what is actually needed before diving in. It is shocking to see how many companies jump in before they understand what is going on. Analyzing the current situation often results in the realization that no technology is needed to improve the digital experience or that there are way too many solutions deployed which is hindering the customer experience. Also, not fully knowing what success looks like could have your team wondering without knowing where they are going.
How to Debunk the Myth: Start with a customer journey map.
Journey maps are meant to help with design thinking and overall business strategy. They offer powerful insights to the user experience and can help organizations realize where their company currently is in the digital transformation lifecycle. Looking at the bigger picture of the ecommerce ecosystem, customer journey maps lay out the convergence of technology and connect everything for a more cohesive experience. With a commerce ecosystem, what was once a disconnected experience is now fully connected which leads to frictionless experiences. A good place to start the customer journey maps, is by collecting user and customer data through observation, research, and interviewing everyone from the customer to C-suite to get a fully understanding.
Digital transformation may feel illusive at times, especially with so many misconceptions about how to get started or what needs to be done. Each companies journey is unique from another because of where they currently are, what their customers want or need, and where the market is positioned. For organizations who are looking to succeed, don’t lose sight of the goal for your digital transformation and constantly evaluate your company’s ecosystem to ensure success.