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How Companies Can Kickstart Digital Transformation Initiatives

Companies should drive digital practices in 2017, linking some of their performance objectives towards this cause, and enable more people to participate in this transformation.

So, what is Digital transformation? Digital transformation is the use of technology to radically change the way business is done to improve its performance and reach newer customers and bring about efficiencies. This is a much talked about topic for companies across the globe today. Executives in all industries are using digital technologies such as analytics, mobility, social media and smart embedded devices as well as improving their use of traditional technologies such as ERP to change customer relationships, internal processes and value propositions. The other impact is visualizing how fast the use of technology is disrupting industries in the past decade, and to know they need to pay attention now to changes in their industries now.

Digital Maturity is achieved when the best companies should combine digital activity with strong leadership to turn technology into transformation. Companies vary in their digital maturity, and those that are more mature outperform those that are not. Leading digital transformation projects would require managers to have a vision of how to transform their company for a digital world.

What is your 2017 digital transformation strategy and priority list? I am sure your organization is looking to improve customer experiences, develop new products for new segments, and deliver insights and conveniences that will drive growth. Or maybe not? Are you’re working for the one in three enterprises that is not ready for digital transformation, where your CXO team entrusted this important journey to the managers to drive the transformation and the planning is just getting started?

Enabling organizational capabilities that drive transformation The three major building blocks with which companies are digitally transforming customer experience are customer understanding, top-line growth and customer touch points. Should you wait for a completed digital strategy before setting priorities? Can your CIO plan for some basic rules and changes, that the organization will likely need to execute a digital transformation program? Regardless of where your organization is in planning or executing a digital strategy, there are several organizational priorities that should be considered.

The three major building blocks with which companies are digitally transforming customer experience are customer understanding, prioritizing processes, top-line growth and customer touch points.

1. Understand your Customer needs – Every organization should spend time in knowing their customers and prospects, on their needs, values, frustrations, and practices. Transformation often requires organizations to reimagine their business model, products, and services based on a new set of digital opportunities and threats. Enterprises need leaders with newer and different background and skills to discover digitally driven opportunities that play a greater role servicing customer.

Companies are now starting to take advantage of older investments in their campaigns to gain an in-depth understanding of specific geographies and market segments. Some are exploring social media to understand what makes customers happy or what leads to dissatisfaction.

In addition, companies are learning to promote their brands more effectively through digital media. Many organizations are building analytics capability to understand customers in more detail.

2. Prioritize Your digital practices – Organizations need a top down strategy, but digital transformation is enabled by bottoms up practices. New concepts and technologies such as DevOps, agile process development is now in vogue so that teams can process customer feedback and update their priorities. It also needs teams to automate configurations so new development and testing environments can be turned on when needed. To succeed in transformation, many more employees will need to analyze data and share insights.

3. Top Line Growth. Better understanding helps businesses to transform the sales experience. Companies are now integrating past customer trending data, which would have been purchased, to provide better personalization, understanding trends, propensity to buy and better customer service packages. Companies are also engaging in location-based marketing uses analytics to send personalized mobile coupons to customers as they near a facility; the company can then track them in real time. These require new systems to be built and connected in real time via the Internet.

Some companies are now trying to simplify their processes through a digital plug-in for their customers, offering insights in to the customers last online shopping list into its e-commerce site. This streamlines the shopping process, allowing customers extra time to look at other products. Customers can then decide whether to use home delivery or a drive-through service with a specific pick-up time.

4. Customer Touch Points. Customer service can be enhanced significantly by digital transformation. Social media like a Twitter handle account can be used to answer client complaints quickly, helping customers avoid going physically to a branch. The digital initiatives can also leverage crowdsourcing with several employees and other customers. Multichannel services require envisioning and implementing change across customer experience and internal operational processes. Many retailers now offer home shopping with the option to receive products by mail or in a store. Many companies are now offering customer apps to enhance customer touch points. New smartphone apps are linked to the customer’s profile, enabling integration across SMS, and social media efforts.

Digital transformation will affect many departments and people in your organization at different stages. The best way to have them ready to participate and be open to change is to engage them early on different activities that are likely to be foundational for their participation. The CXO should be able to anticipate some of these practices governance, set definitions, and technology adoption to transformation priorities more strategically.

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