Digital Transformation

Do not embrace Digital Transformation at your peril.

Where I currently work we are in the process of ‘going through’ a Digital Transformation hence I thought I’d present a few personal observations on the topic.

But first a Digital Transformation definition…

“Changing the foundation components of an organisation, by applying digital culture, technology, practices & processes to more effectively engage and deliver for customers”  Paul Morris

10 components of Digital Transformation:

1/ A mind set ‘thing’

Do not compartmentalise Digital to being just a Social Media or PPC campaign.

Think of how Digital can be incorporated into your company DNA for how you think, overarching strategy, how you communicate (internally and externally), the way you operate / work processes, etc.

Digital transformation is not a one-time ‘thing’ either; instead it leads to continuous strategic and operational improvement that will often have small scale incremental improvements that on their own could barely be classified as transformational.

2/ Cultural Change

Heavily linked to the above; Digital transformation will fail without cultural change.

Cultural change needs to be led from senior leaders however digital transformation will fundamentally fail if the team below them do not believe in the change and help make it a reality. Teams that are in place often have great transformational ideas & buy in potential however ‘just’ need to be better involved or trained or lead or simply trusted.

3/ The change journey

Linked with the above on culture and people; remember there will be a journey to take and people need to be supported through that change curve (Kubler-Ross change curve for reference). Follow a people centred approach rather than a technology one.

4/ Customer Focus

You need a laser focus on user needs and then wants thereafter.

Customer-induced transformation and disruption often doesn’t relate to technology (tech is ‘just’ and enabler) and instead relates to the demand of customers for ease of use and simplicity in dealing with businesses.

Do not overemphasise the importance of big customer or user panel surveys and instead also ask specific users what they think of X, Y & Z and then show them your plans/ the ‘thing’ to gain valuable feedback. This should be achieved by both Qualitative (e.g. Guerrilla user research) and Quantitative (e.g. Conversion Rate Optimisation) means.

Essentially digital transformation ideas should be aimed at your customers, throughout the entire user experience, and not at impressing the company Board.

5/ Content & Campaign Design

Linked with the customer focus; instead of focusing on content marketing you should instead focus on content design = designing content around customer / user need. The same thing can be said for campaigns; to truly connect with customers your campaigns need to be routed in real insight of customer needs and wants.

6/ Insight

And on the topic of Insight; use insight to drive user satisfaction via improved products and services, innovation and change. Look at your customers and gain insight on how they live now, how does digital help them, how could digital help them, what role does your brands play in their lives, what role could your brands play, where can meaningful digital user touch point improvements be made, etc.

7/ Technology

Some organisations become obsessed with technology, marketing automation and IT in their quest for with digital transformation when in fact technology only represents part of the picture. None-the-less the marketing stack you use, IT systems you employ and IT methodology you follow, such as DevOps, are key.

Whilst the likes of IT should not be wagging the dog; IT are key to partner with on Strategy to discern architecture, collaboration tools, integration and design.

Once the scope and requirements have then been defined IT can help take those organisational design blueprints and develop against them.

8/ Agility

Whilst waterfall methodologies definitely have their place, movement to a more agile way of working often helps facilitate digital transformation. Organisational purpose will often be a constant however the organisational strategy, operations, digital platforms and user experience need to pivot to be customer/business/environmentally appropriate.

9/ Data

‘Big’ Data might be the nirvana however start iteratively during a digital transformation and instead employ ‘Useful’ Data to better enable internal communication, campaigns, stock ordering, deliveries, etc. Think big though start small, build, learn, demonstrate value and move outwards from there.

10/ Structure

Old skool organisational structures can inhibit digital transformation hence you should reduce barriers between departments and physical locations by adopting new structural patterns (perhaps taking learning’s from the likes of Spotify’s engineering culture or even taking learning’s from the likes of PST structures). Structural developments can in turn be enabled by tools such as Slack, Trello, What’s App, Sprinklr, blogs, Tumblr, etc.


Digital transformation framework by Capgemini Consulting…

cap gemini digital transformation

Mckinsey: Organisation ‘reshaping’… 

mckinsey transformation

Digital transformation and holistic optimisation (Source: i-scoop)…

digital transformation

digital-transformation-agenda-2016 pdf (The Economist and sponsored by Pegasus)

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