22 Aug 2018, 09:30 — 11 min read
“Every next level of your business will demand a new you. Today, it is digital transformation.”
Today’s digital economy promises to lead in an unprecedented convergence of people, business and things that transforms existing business models and creates new business opportunities. The wave of digital disruption is sweeping through businesses across all domains and industries. Organisations need their business processes and applications to adapt to changing customer demands and market conditions, to be better placed to take the best advantage of the digital revolution. This requires a radical re-look at the way businesses currently operate – away from grafting digital technology on to existing processes, but re-designing products for the technology’s age of opportunity, the digital age.
Millennials – people born between 1980 and 2000 – are tech-savvy. They have been raised with technology, and expect the access to services to be available anywhere, anytime. For them the world is flat, and the internet is a given requirement to access the information on their smart devices anytime. They are the largest generation to date (bigger than the population of baby boomers). Therefore, it’s only wise for the businesses to customise services catered to the millennial generation as well as specific geographic locations. They drive the organisations to re-think their business models, and transform and innovate to offer the right products and services at the right time at the right place. Businesses have no choice but to cater to the demands of the millennials, as they are the ones who would be contributing to the businesses in their growth and expansion, and their expectations are constantly shifting.
Define digital strategy
To succeed with digital transformation and build competitive advantage, businesses need to identify the starting positions and plan the right path forward. Every business should define digital strategy that aligns with the business strategy. Strategy, not technology, drives the digital transformation, and there is no one-size-fits-all strategy or approach in digital transformation. Technologies will become available to all, and ultimately it won’t provide competitive advantage on its own. Gone are the days when technology played an alien role without much of the business involvement. Over a period since the Internet came into existence and became part of day-to-day life, the fine-line between technology and business has disappeared. Digital transformation has only made this integration much intertwined.
Even as the customer and customer facing functions play the major and critical role in digital strategy, it should also include the middle office and back office functions of the business. Unless the back-end systems are enabled with right automation, the front-end systems will not be able to meet the customer expectations.
Define KPIs to align digital strategy with business strategy
Businesses should define KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) so that the success of the digital transformation can be measured in a better way. These KPIs should be aligned with the KPIs of the business.
Businesses should have two kinds of digital business KPIs – one that describe optimization of current business model and the other that measure transformative growth. Businesses should have start-up-style metrics for new initiatives, and the metrics that need to be measured should have absolute clarity.
Unless the businesses stay current and updated on technology and business solutions, they cannot expect themselves to succeed in digital transformation and meet the defined KPIs. To achieve the KPIs, the applications need to capture the right data, and capture that data right. This also includes applications modernization, wherever required. Businesses should update and reengineer the underperforming applications and systems in order to manage the digital transformation.
Revamp organisational model and embed a digital culture
“Customers now expect any information they desire to be available, in context, at their moment of need. This is what is called the mobile mind-shift” – Forrester.
Businesses need to focus on the nature of the disruption along with who the disruptors are. The future survival of the businesses increasingly demands radical change in business practices and procedures. These changes are primarily driven by the millennial generation and the digital customers, and their expectations are vastly different from the traditional customers or baby boomers.
Digital transformation is redefining businesses. Organisations must reinvent to serve the digital customer on the move, or be forgotten. To achieve this transformation, firms will need to harness innovation and develop collaborative work environment, build test-and-learn approach, and have mechanisms to challenge ideas. Successful digital transformations require strong leadership, alignment between IT and business units, and a culture that celebrates risk taking and rapid action. It is not the open office with vibrant interiors or the Apple-Store looks, but the organisation culture should have right empowerment at all levels to accomplish the defined tasks. Teams need to be equipped with right skill sets and entrepreneurial mind-sets. Those businesses that have limited resources may plan the transformation in phases, but the digital culture should not be compromised or diluted.
Extend agile ways
Unlike the earlier generation gaps, in today’s millennials the gap is vast and wide amongst the younger generations, and this gap sets different expectations from the customers, and creates vast opportunities for businesses. Millennials have a need for speed, and they want their user experience to be personalised, without any glitches, and faster. Businesses need to be agile to be able to grab these opportunities. Extend agile ways of working and capability to adapt to change, across the functions to transform the business. It helps respond faster to the needs of the digital customers who transform rapidly the way they want to consume the information.
User experience has become central to satisfy the customers, irrespective of the age group. Great user experience needs to be delivered with simplicity and not intruding their privacy. Being agile helps businesses to achieve this very efficiently and fast, and stay ahead by capitalizing the current trends. Since the customer expectations are constantly shifting, businesses need to be agile to be quick to respond to the needs of the digital customers and satisfy them. Unless they are satisfied, they switch the loyalty in no time. Benchmarks have already been set by the big players like Apple, Google, Microsoft and others like Amazon, Uber, Airbnb, etc. which are easily available to the customers across the age groups and geographies. The coming together of user experience and current trends is what every business wants to achieve. Businesses need to modernize and remodel in order to provide seamless, personalized and optimized customer experiences to retain their fickle customers.
If only we knew right that everything’s about to change, we would not need any information to change other than just carrying out the changes to meet the customer demands. Days have gone when the businesses launch the products and expect the consumers to accept. Unfortunately the tables have turned, and the customers dictate their demands from the businesses, and the businesses could not deny. Analytics has matured to become a business practice necessary to sustain competitive advantage.
Irrespective of whether the data is captured right or the right data is being captured, businesses have to manage and derive meaning from the unstructured data and to identity the moments of truth. Analytics help gain better insight to take right steps towards digital transformation and valuable user experience, and help build more personalised connection with customers.
While building analytics, businesses should focus on the following.
To get these done, businesses should capture the right data and that data should be captured right. Analytics helps businesses to have strong and unique competitive advantage, grow the sales and retain customers, maintain business integrity by managing risk, predict and meet consumer expectations with more targeted offerings, and gain strategic insights. It provides opportunities for organisation evolution and presents a wide range of value propositions.
Technology and digital have a major influence on customer behaviour and the way businesses operate today. With the rapid change in technology, market and customer behaviour is constantly shifting. In order to be successful and keep up with this constant movement, organisations need to create a solid foundation that allows them to capitalize on changes and the new opportunities these changes create.
Digital transformation is on the verge of setting high expectations in customer service and customer experience. This should be clearly demonstrated so that in the process of setting high expectations through Digital transformation, the entire digital life-cycle should not be faltered at any touch-point.
With business disruptors lurking at every turn, it is imperative that organisations that have been standing on the side-lines put a digital business strategy in place—quickly. Businesses should set KPIs, that could be ambitious but not unrealistic, to transform into digital. The enterprise technology should stay current and align with digital business strategy to achieve the digital transformation.
Businesses also need to be agile to respond faster to the customer expectations and go beyond to capitalize on the current trends. To stay agile, businesses need to review their business models, and create entrepreneurial mind-set and a culture of innovation within the organisation. To innovate, businesses need to build analytics with right data captured at all touch points, and have a 360 degree view to get insights of its customers.
Millennials will judge a business on its digital capabilities - setting a new standard and expectations for what the customer experience needs to be today, and tomorrow.
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.
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