The term, digital transformation, is widely used and over time has come to encompass a variety of change projects for different types of organisations. So what do I mean when I think of digital transformation? I hold a fairly traditional view that the intention will be to achieve some kind of organisational change, using digital technologies and business models, to improve one or more areas of company performance.

That desire for change normally involves one of these factors:

  • Business or market-wide disruption;
  • The availability of digital channels to market;
  • Improved quality and consistency of data across the organisation, to lead to an improved view of the business;
  • Streamlining business processes;
  • Improving customer experience through digital and online channels, in response to their changing needs and behaviours;
  • A need to be a more agile and innovative organisation in order to better compete;
  • An awareness that emerging technology trends, including the Internet of Things, are areas of expertise that are essential, not optional.

Whatever the drivers or combinations of drivers, at its most basic level a digital transformation project should be approached by thinking about how technology can be used to ensure that customers, either internal or external, receive an improved customer journey and how you can deliver better products or services.

A digital transformation project will almost certainly appear a complex one to begin with, involving many stakeholders with different views on what success looks like. The feeling of complexity is something that can be overcome, by approaching the project in the following stages:

  • It’s best to set one strategic vision and then easier to take smaller steps each quarter and year, towards achieving the vision and objectives.
  • Which of the factors above apply to your company? Create a list of questions for each driver that are relevant and research your stakeholders with probing questions to ensure the eventual project scope is the right one. Be clear on the final objectives from the start and keep them front of mind throughout every stage in the project’s execution.
  • How can you approach your digital transformation plan?
    • Define, confirm and communicate the drivers and priority actions for your organisation
    • Start at the top and ensure there is buy-in and genuine support, and then work from the bottom up to make sure the project is realistic and helpful. Also consider incorporating relevant technology suppliers in the project. Do they have services or expertise that could help?
    • Understand your people throughout the process. Take regular pulse checks to ensure employees and partners feel understood, supported and that the project is being refined if needed, based on their experiences
    • This is an often-overlooked point, but think about how you could exploit your existing digital capabilities better? Again, can current suppliers do more for your business?
    • Work in an agile way to execute the project, with small, iterative steps. This project is unlikely to have a traditional ‘end’ point – after all, change is the only constant!

    In my next blog, I’ll be writing with some tips and advice to achieve digital transformation through CRM and online cloud platforms. These include Power BI, which integrates with CRM to improve data and reporting consistency and therefore improve decision-making, and CRM Portal, which can significantly improve the design and implementation of customer experience journeys.

    By Martyna Marciniak

    CRM Consultant