We all love a good buzzword, right? And I’m sure we’ve all heard of digital transformation. But do we know what it is, and does it have any value? Or more importantly, is it something we should be considering?
In this blog, explore what digital transformation is, its relevance, the potential benefits and if and when we should do it. So, let’s get stuck in!
What is digital transformation?
This is a very broad topic and it can mean different things to different people. Exactly what it is can be difficult to define specifically, but simply put, it generally aims to make a process better. This can be taking a non-digital process and making it digital, or taking an existing electronic process and improving or refining it using newer technology or modern digital methods.
However, what this looks like in practice will vary across different contexts, sectors and be specific to each situation. It’s also worth saying that a lot of the time, the term digital transformation will be a broader concept that’s referred to by another discipline, such as Digital Strategy, Target Operating Models, Change Management or Future Vision.
Why should you consider it?
I’m sure we’d all want to make things work better. So, the main reason to consider it would be to do just that. This could be external for users, customers or clients, or internal for staff and internal stakeholders. What “better” actually is and what it looks like could be a challenge, but the principle would be to make it easier, more effective or get the most out of it.
It’s also worth saying that there are times when things don’t need to be changed. Sometimes transformation might not, in fact, be better, and change for the sake of change could actually be a bad thing. So, this is an important aspect to consider – whether any changes are actually needed and what “better” would look like. The fundamental question revolves around identifying challenges we can solve with digital solutions.
What are the benefits of digital transformation?
If done well, the benefits can be huge. As the term suggests, it can be transformational. In most cases, the benefits can include:
- Improved efficiency
- Increased reliability
- Greater control or visibility
- Better user experience for internal and external users
- Removing inefficiency and affiliated costs
Expanding on the last point, this could be operational efficiency, such as bloated teams as a consequence of manual processes. An organisation may need more staff or use more staff time, in order to deal with the manual processes. This can often be the case with compliance teams for onboarding.
Alternatively, it could be because digital systems have been set up in a siloed way, without considering the process holistically within the overall organisational structure. This could include:
- Having multiple systems for the same task
- Systems that don’t communicate
- Different departments having separate independent systems
- Systems that conflict
All of which could affect things like ease of access, record keeping and validation, internal collaboration and document management.
Who should do it and when?
When is change not a good thing? This can be difficult to assess. I think the reality is that there probably is never an ideal time for change. But I also think it’s important to always be considering how we can improve. To understand this, it could involve:
- User research
- Listening to customer feedback
- Engaging with internal teams
- Competitor analysis
- Keeping up with new technologies
- Being aware of industry trends.
This can give us an idea of potential problem areas, and how they might need to be changed. However, change isn’t always a good thing – altering things solely for the sake of change could negatively impact your business.
It’s also important to make sure that the change you make is heading in the right direction. If the change isn’t making the process better for users, then more often than not, it shouldn’t be changed.
To ensure that any changes made are heading in the right direction and enhance the user experience, they should have a clear purpose. The change needs to be an appropriate solution to a defined problem. Successful implementation of changes requires a structured process, often accompanied by external support.
The Process of digital transformation
Digital transformation can be approached in various ways, but generally, it involves three main areas.
1. Problem definition
This stage encompasses research, investigation and gathering insights. it involves conducting a root cause analysis to help you develop a robust business case for change. Key elements include:
- Identifying customer needs and business requirements
- Mapping dependencies and success factors
- Scoping potential solutions and understanding their implications
2. Change Management
Effectively delivering the transformation requires a structured change management process. Since transformational change can be significant, disruptive, and costly, it can make people nervous – so its delivery is critical.
Ensuring a smooth transition involves:
- Collaborating with key internal stakeholders throughout the process to foster accountability, ownership, and buy-in.
- Recognising that the transformation process can make people nervous, so clear communication and reassurance are essential.
3. Adoption and optimisation
After implementing a new digital solution, it’s important to make sure it’s used and embraced. This requires sustainable change and often a cultural shift. To foster a positive culture and address resistance to change, consider
- Implementing initiatives to support the cultural shift
- Providing comprehensive user training to effectively engage with the new solution
- Communicating the solution and/or benefits of the new solution
- Continuously monitoring of the solution’s outcomes and impacts to idenitfy areas for improvement and optimisation
Digital transformation in Marketing
Marketing, like any other areas of the business, relies on a variety of processes, and these vary in complexity across different organisations. So chances are, there’s room for improvement. This could be things such as:
- CRM systems
- Data storage
- Ad serving platforms
- Programmatic ad targeting
- Data collection and conversion tracking systems
- Digital Strategy
- Website, app and platform improvements
It may also be the case that transformation is taking place somewhere else in the organisation, indirectly impacting marketing. In such cases, the marketing team need to be aware of and adapt to the changes.
Marketing teams will also play a pivotal role in driving the communication and marketing of the digital transformation process within the organisation. They can also contribute to research phases, providing valuable insights into customer needs and preferences.
Digital transformation Examples
We’ve helped several organisations across different industries in tackling Digital Transformation challenges. Here are a few examples.
Redefining customer onboarding for a national bank
We worked closely with a national bank to revamp their customer onboarding process, focusing on meeting user needs and improving the overall experience for both customers and the bank. The results were remarkable, with the average onboarding time reduced from 3 months to just 2 days in some cases! But that’s not all, this transformation also led to a staggering increase in customer satisfaction levels.
Supporting the launch of an online service and customer portal
One of our clients had an innovative concept for an online service and customer portal, but they lacked a clear understanding of customer preferences and how to implement this effectively. By conducting comprehensive customer research, we were able to design an effective user experience and prototypes of the digital products. As a result, the client launched a revolutionary online customer offering that’s delivered an outstanding user experience.
Facilitating a complete strategic transformation for a global operation
Looking to modernise and update their global operation, we were heavily involved in a 5-year strategic transformation process. This ambitious endeavour aimed to define the future vision of the organisation and map out the goals of the transformation journey. We’re excited to witness the evolution of this transformation, and can’t wait to see this develop further.
Ready to see your business transform?
Facing a challenge and seeking support? Our experts are here to help! Specialising in UX, user research, web development, digital strategy, online marketing and digital transformation, our consultants and specialists are experts in driving performance improvement. Speak to us today to find out how we can help.
Talk to us >