Digital transformation is driving the change of business models and forcing companies to adapt to a new market reality. This change is driven by customers, and it is instrumental to how companies are starting to operate.

Think of Digital Transformation like a pasta dish. You have your pasta as a base and you can add a mix of anything else to make the dish special; tomatoes, prawns, chicken, rocket, spinach, the list goes on. The key, is knowing which ingredients work together to create the ultimate dish. Now forgive me if this makes you want to run to the nearest fridge! That hunger should be reciprocated in businesses wanting a tasty and personalised digital transformation strategy. One that fills up the stomachs of an organisation; taking into consideration customers, employees, employers and all other stakeholders.

Included in this article are the crucial ‘ingredients’ that will no doubt create success for your digital transformation strategy.

A recent paper published through Seagate mentioned that

“...two-thirds of global CEOs will start focusing on digital strategies to improve customer experience by the end of 2019.”

IDG mentions that 44% of companies have already moved to a digital first approach for customer experience. Besides the mountain of data pointing towards companies’ thirst for the fountain which springs forth digital transformation, it’s important to know what ‘digital transformation’ actually is.

What is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation is not just one thing. It involves several business units or even a whole enterprise. It involves changing a business’ fundamental models, processes and culture. Digital transformation is not solely about technology/innovation, profit or project; it is about a long-term shift in the way business is done.

What is a Digital Strategy?

A digital strategy is a plan - a roadmap to achieve a particular set of goals through a digital medium. Focusing on the short-term, month-to-month deliverables that can ensure a company’s value chain is airtight and can be more economically viable from a digital reset.

Digital strategy involves deconstructing the siloes between IT leaders and leaders of other customer-facing departments to deliver a congruent digital customer experience. The strategy is a platform for cross-departmental collaboration, ensuring that the company is cohesive in the eyes of the customer at any point in the customer journey.

The top 3 tools for success

Omnichannel Approach

Millennials make up about 50% of the workforce in the UK. We are tech savvy to say the least and for us; flexibility trumps rigidity. We want to be able to use live chat, social media, video chat in addition to good old email and phone channels to communicate with companies. The multichannel approach is like a fishing net; the bigger the net, the more fish you’re going to catch. Customer service generally follows a multichannel approach to engage with customers, but the focus should be to provide a single unified and seamless customer experience across all channels. Hence, ‘omnichannel’ was birthed: the ability to provide a service via a single channel, offering customer experiences across all touchpoints.

Omnichannel delivers a consistent and personalised experience via digital channels like social media, emails and webforms, enabling customer interactions whenever, wherever, and however customers want. A company’s channels are aligned to present a single face to the customer, along with a consistent way of doing business. It’s a harmony of vocal ranges coming together to produce one beautiful sound.

The development of omnichannel itself is a digital transformation; a transformation of how customers can interact with companies. In the future, companies that adopt an omnichannel experience in their business will gain customer satisfaction and a satisfied customer is essential to future sucess.

Email Management Approach

Ah, email. Remember when it was the “new kid on the block” and it was exciting and innovative? Well, fast forward to present day and it is still the most used platform for sharing information.

The vast majority of customer and company documents are distributed using email, yet it is up to each employee to ensure those documents are going to the right person, at the right place, at the right time. Most would believe this to be time consuming, especially when human efforts can be directed towards more revenue-generating activities.

Obviously, proper email management practices are essential to project success. But how can the concept of digital transformation automate and streamline the seemingly tedious task of managing an onslaught of emails?

As electronic communications gained popularity over the last few decades, employees are now faced with wading through countless emails every Monday morning or worse, every morning. Some of those emails are critical to customer service, some need to be addressed right away or escalated to a more senior member of staff.

How can we take advantage of so technologies to take email management to the next level?

Drum roll please…machine learning; A form of artificial intelligence that can auto-acknowledge, classify, manage and distribute emails. The best thing about this technology is it that it can be taught and can make suggestions on where to send or store emails as per case management (but that’s another story for another day).

Building on the machine learning capabilities within email management will not only encourage employees to use the system, but also save them a significant amount of time performing the tedious task of email management. Ultimately, efficiently-managed emails will pave the way to better margins, and a more profitable, sustainable future for business. Better tools, improved processes, happier workforce. What more could you ask for?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Approach

What’s the best way to provide a proactive customer experience? Robot meet man. Beyond the worlds of The Matrix, Robocop and Ex-Machina, there is a small amount of underlying worry of being replaced by a machine, but this is not the case with RPA. It is a positive and beneficial new tool, one where human intelligence and input is essential to its success. Regardless of sector, companies looking to strike a balance between costs and stellar service can implement RPA. A business can leverage it’s power by automating workflows and freeing up the human agent’s time. In turn, agents can focus on crucial tasks as well as tackle issues to a higher level.

RPA has been heralded for streamlining critical processes, often extending the life of legacy systems. It excels at taking information from one system and automatically moving it into another. However, RPA is not a substitute for digitising your business and improving your customer experience. Companies can  utilise RPA for interim solutions while larger transformations move toward completion.

The goal is to eliminate repetitive, manual tasks, so when deploying RPA, companies need to find those tasks and automate them. RPA treats the symptoms and not the cause of organisational information disconnects. The AI relative automates the task of moving information between systems and does not automate or digitally transform a whole process.

This is leads us back to using RPA for an interim solution. In reality, the entire process needs to be automated from head to toe. This requires modern systems that are not locked-down information silos, the people willing to bridge those silos and time. RPA is not the endpoint for digital transformation; it is a very important ‘ingredient’ in digital transformation.

An upgrade to the ERP, financial system or website used by the robot can break down the automated task, so RPA can allow valuable pieces of your legacy systems to really focus on what needs changing without creating issues. It also means any changes won't confuse bots moving information around. Knowing this is essential to your digital transformation as a long-term solution. Done right, it creates lasting interface contracts that allow processes to evolve as business changes.

Effect on Business Operations

The question is not why you need digital transformation but how you approach its adoption. The impact of digital transformation – if done right - on business operations varies but will often lead to the following benefits:

·      Increased revenue

·      Reduce operational costs

·      Increased operational efficiency

·      Improved customer satisfaction

·      Lower fragmentation

The benefits of digital transformation are valuable and can increase market share and the continued the growth of your company. Consider and implement the three approaches mentioned and create a lasting digital transformation strategy.