By Maria Geokezas, VP of Client Services at Heinz Marketing

Digital transformation is inevitable, just like death and taxes.  As the world becomes more complex and increasingly digital, companies need to remain relevant and maintain their competitive edge.  To do so, IDC forecasts worldwide spending on technology and services that enable digital transformation will reach $1.97 trillion in 2022.  It’s not easy to rationalize this level of investment so organizations focus on the technology and the efficiencies gained rather than improving the value delivered to customers.

So, how do you protect and improve your organization’s customer experience through digital transformation?  Here are some thoughts:

Business objectives.  First focus on the business objectives and let the objectives define the technology needs and requirements.  The most senior leaders of the organization need to embody these objectives with a compelling mission that demonstrates their values are aligned. Then, begin to peel down one business unit, one product at a time until you get to what you can confidently call success.

Get the right people involved. Even though IT may have the heaviest lift when undergoing digital transformation, a cross-functional team should be involved from the definition stage through implementation.  A holistic representation of the organization is needed in order to truly transform what you are doing today to be successful tomorrow.

Focus on value over cost. Of course, cost must be a consideration.  But, don’t forget to evaluate your options based on the value they drive for the organization.  Think longer term and holistically about the value digital transformation drives.  For instance, a tool that makes a customer service rep’s job easier reduces attrition which means your reps are providing better customer experience which impacts customer loyalty and profits.  The value you receive could far outweigh the cost.

Know your tech.  This is a good time to evaluate your existing technology alongside the new solutions you are considering.  There are lots of fancy tools on the market.  Don’t get distracted.  Instead, focus on the business reason for each piece of technology.  Dig deep to understand the technology’s current and future states, the integration points (between technologies as well as human touch points) and how relevant the technology is and will be for your organization’s future in the new digital world.

Process matters. To set up your digital transformation initiative for success, invest time developing your approach to change management.   Do your due diligence to establish a project plan and process.  Ensure every representative across the organization understands their role and responsibility.  Clearly define each milestone.  Build clear communication channels to keep everyone in the loop and accountable for their timely deliverables.

Keep the customer at the center. Whip out that buyers’ journey marketing created and use it as a map to highlight important touch points.  Use the buyers’ journey to identify where customers are pleased or annoyed by their experiences.  Then peel back each customer touch point to understand the workflow that enables that touch point and how each part of the organization is affected.

Culture first. Whether you like it or not, culture is at the heart of a company.  Any digital transformation work needs to incorporate culture.  You can change processes, infrastructure and technologies but without intentionally thinking about and addressing the culture element, you will risk delivering lasting change.

Digital transformation is a huge undertaking and it is only in its infancy.  Focus on the customer and think about the change your organization will go through as a journey rather than a destination to ensure your organization’s customer experience survives and thrives.

Photo by Sebastian Muller on Unsplash