“Everything changes and nothing stands still.” (Heraclitus)
In today’s big data app economy, nothing could be truer. From cloud to mobile, the data companies can collect and analyze is astounding. Unfortunately, properly utilizing the data is often beyond the reach of companies doing business as usual. Smart companies are seeking out increased insight and success through digital transformations.
Embarking on a journey of successful digital transformation takes planning. Just slapping some new analytics on a team’s key performance indicators and hoping for the best will lead to those KPIs looking better, but not necessarily the business getting better. A digital transformation goes far beyond a single project, single team, or even single department. By taking time to dig into the what and why of a digital transformation, you can set your company up for success.
What About the Customer?
It’s hard to find anyone suggesting a product should be built in a vacuum. With digital products in particular, the old guard of defining a product for a team and coming back three years later to see what they made fell out of favor with digitally mature companies years ago. Today, what the customer truly wants and needs, whether they know what that is or not, is what matters. One way to consider this is to think of the journey, or the sum of an individual’s interactions with a brand across all channels to accomplish a task, a customer goes on and how to make it better.
Focusing on the customer and truly understanding them is one of The Nine Elements of Digital Transformation discussed in an article on MIT Sloan Management Review. From understanding the customer to interacting with them, transforming the customer experience is a pillar of true digital transformation. You need to factor your customer into every decision you make on the journey to properly implementing big data solutions.
Who is Changing Where?
Digital Transformation will affect everyone in the company using digital tools. For just about every company in the world, that means everyone. A digital transformation needs to start somewhere, and with someone. Trying to answer this question with “Everyone, Everywhere” is a sure path to failure. In an InfoWorld article Eric Knorr points out the need to start with the right project and the right team. This team should not be limited by traditional departmental barriers to collaboration. Making this team a cross-departmental collaboration is practically critical to its success.
Digital transformations can change the business equation so radically they become impossible to contain in a small subset of the organization. Instead of fighting this, plan for it. You need to acknowledge that the transformation will require everyone, everywhere to change, but you need to start it with a cross-functional sub-set of the company. Think back to the customer experience, how many departments were involved in that interaction?
Is Failure an Option?
Rapidly failing forward is a core concept of modern software development. Shorter cycle times in development working on smaller pieces of a whole product allow a development team to rapidly learn what does and doesn’t work as they deliver what the customer most needs and wants. Your digital transformation needs to have that same flexibility.
By the time a digital transformation takes root a company will have changed at the core, especially if that company’s been around a while. Embarking on so many changes of such magnitude cannot be planned for perfectly. By allowing small failures as an option you set up your bigger transformation goal for success.
For most companies, planning a digital transformation is required for continued success. That project is not something to approach lightly. At the same time, it’s not something to put off indefinitely in an attempt to come up with the perfect plan. Get an idea of where to start, ask questions, make a plan, then execute the plan, evaluating and adjusting it often. Learn more about us and how we can help your digital transformation succeed.