Transformation iteration

Digital transformation is not a tick-box exercise, it’s an ongoing process. Having embarked on a digital journey, organisations should be constantly looking to evolve

According to a global study of 900 IT leaders, conducted by business communications company Fuze, 82 per cent believe digital transformation should be a critical part of their roles, while 65 per cent are actively championing it within their organisations.

However, a 2018 Couchbase digital transformation survey found 52 per cent of chief information officers believe their organisation is so fixated on the need for digital transformation that it risks rushing into projects that don’t produce the desired results.

Peter Tetlow, client solutions director at Ventrica, says: “Every organisation in ever sector wants a piece of the latest trend: digital transformation. The latest technology undoubtedly plays a crucial role in improving the customer experience, however digital transformation is a process; all improvements must start and end with the customer.

“Digitalisation won’t make a customer share the story about their relationship with the brand in question; only a great customer service will do that. If organisations bypass customer needs and rush to ‘go digital’, they run the risk of misunderstanding or ignoring the customer, in favour of deploying the latest piece of technology to show competitors their digital credentials.

“Industry thinking needs to change; digital transformation should aim to enhance the customer experience rather than label the improvement with the latest trend.”

Interestingly, the survey by Couchbase also found the main drivers for digital transformation are advances made by competitors, regulation and pressure from customers.

Josh Ayres, head of emerging technologies at digital contact centre company IP Integration, explains: “There is no one-​size-​fits-​all approach. Rather, each organisation should develop a clear strategy that maps out a programme of change in accordance with their organisation’s goals and objectives. It’s also important to bear in mind that digital transformation does not come from one single ‘light bulb’ moment, but rather from a strategic programme of change.

“Every organisation’s path to transformation is different, with different challenges, different milestones and different benchmarks of success. However, across each journey must be a desire for constant change for the better to ensure organisations remain relevant and interesting to customers.”

Digital transformation should aim to enhance the customer experience rather than label the improvement with the latest trend

Peter Tetlow, client solutions director, Ventrica

When it comes to ensuring a business is keeping up with technological advancements, transformation is a little misleading. The word implies there is an end and when it comes to a digital strategy, this is simply not the case.

“This is evolving all the time. Customers’ touchpoints with a brand proliferate and change as new technology comes in. Years ago, you’d never even consider things like social media as a way to communicate with customers and now you must have that as part of your customer strategy,” says Jason Hemmingway, chief marketing officer (CMO) of Thunderhead.

“It’s not enough to say, OK we’ve done it, because really what you’re trying to do as a brand is always create value for your customers. And if their behaviour and society are constantly changing, you need to be aware of that. If you don’t, you’ll get left behind.”

Alongside an ever-​evolving industry are constantly changing businesses and, as much as it is important to keep up with advances in technology, so too is ensuring they suit the scale and style of your business.

Mr Ayres says: “A number of factors, like resource, budgets and personnel, will all have a bearing on the pace and manner at which organisations approach transformation. It’s only natural that larger organisations have larger budgets and are more likely to have dedicated IT departments. However, these factors alone don’t make larger organisations more akin to transformation; sometimes their sheer size and scale can make them slow to adapt.”

It is organisations, which have already embraced cloud-​based technologies, that are quickest off the mark when furthering their transformation journey, he says.

“By being in the cloud, organisations, large or small, have both the right forward-​thinking mindset and the right infrastructure to scale up quickly to take advantage of the next generation of technological advancements, like artificial intelligence, robotic process automation and chatbots, which are beginning to gain traction, particularly in contact centres,” says Mr Ayres.

And Finastra CMO Martin Häring agrees: “Digital transformation can be a huge challenge for established businesses, with many having to deal with monolithic, legacy infrastructures.

“By using cloud-​enabled platforms and open application programming interfaces, businesses are increasingly able to transform without the need to ‘rip and replace’ systems. Taking the right approach makes digital transformation an achievable goal for businesses of all sizes.”