Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Agile digital transformation and improving the customer experience

Great customer experience (CX) is more than something that is nice to have. It is now one of the chief points of competitive advantage for many brands across a growing number of industries. One of the biggest roadblocks to providing a more seamless experience to customers is the need for digital transformation within the organization. Whether the transformation helps the direct interactions customers have with your brand, the operational aspects behind the scenes, the measurement of CX, or all of the above, it sometimes takes large-scale organizational change to enable a better customer experience.

Digital transformation enables benefits beyond CX, including smoother operations, a better employee experience, as well as a more streamlined method to collect, analyze and improve organizational KPIs. All of these combined with a customer-centric mindset, and an agile approach to implementation and improvement can help companies succeed in their digital transformation efforts in the long-term.

In this article, I’m going to discuss designing, implementing, and managing meaningful and agile change for a customer-centric organization by looking at the four components of an agile digital transformation.

The 4 Components of Agile Digital Transformation

True, lasting change has implications for every corner of an organization, thus digital transformation needs to be divided into areas that can be tied to company goals and measured both independently and as a whole.

Adding the descriptor of “agile” to the beginning, means that we can’t think of digital transformation as a big, long project that has a definitive end date. If we do that, we will find ourselves needing to undergo a big digital transformation every 4-5 years, instead of operating as a continuously improving organization that is making small iterations regularly, but doesn’t need to be continually redesigned.

To dive deeper into digital transformation, let’s look at the 3 components that companies need to enable in order to be successful.

1: Customer-Centricity

We start with the most outward-facing component of any digital transformation. How does transform affect, and ideally enhance the customer experience? Unless there are net benefits to the end customer, and ultimately to the bottom line in terms of increased sales, repeat business, and referred customers, it could be argued that a digital transformation is not worth it in the first place.

2: Culture of innovation

We will explore this in more detail as we progress in our exploration of digital transformation, but a key component is of long-term, continual improvement. Customer-centricity has a key role in that improvement, but the culture of the organization is what truly sustains continued digital transformation.

3: Operational Excellence

Last but not least, let’s talk about processes. While it’s thought of as a less exciting topic than customer-centricity and innovation, it is a big reason why many digital transformations fail.

Digital transformation provides an important opportunity for companies to improve their internal processes by utilizing automation and digitization, as well as by empowering employees to have better systems, tools, and platforms to perform their jobs. In many cases, these employees are able to monitor and adjust things in much faster and easier ways, and are able to make more strategic decisions in ways never before possible. The speed to act on insights is a major benefit.

4: Platform of Continuous Improvement

There is a lot of talk about how digital transformation is necessary for organizations to undergo in order to remain competitive and create a great customer experience. The initial effort can take many months and resources including time and budget. When a digital transformation initiative launches, however, it is really just the beginning.

The real work is to make sure that the transformation is successful in the long-term, and has a path to grow, iterate, and be optimized over time. The last thing a company wants to do after undergoing a deep transformation is to turn around and do the same thing again in a few years!

This is where taking an agile approach and embracing continuous improvement by planning, measuring, analyzing, and optimizing outcomes can keep a digital transformation perpetually current. An organization that adopts systems of continuous improvement faces less need to reinvent itself and its processes, platforms, and systems. Thus, adopting agile processes and methodologies along with a digital transformation initiative leads to greater long-term success.

Otherwise, an organization will spend a great amount of time and resources and possibly achieve good results in the short term, but without continuous improvement systems and processes in place, all of the good work achieved within the transformation will quickly fall into disrepair.

Instead of a project with a start, middle, and end, think of a digital transformation initiative as a long-term commitment that never truly ends. The launch of your efforts is, in a sense, just the beginning. Continuous improvement helps you to achieve long-term success.

Conclusion

Digital transformation initiatives take a lot of time and other resources in order to be successful. If they don’t have a plan to continuously improve over time, they will not achieve their true potential to transform the customer experience, operational efficiencies, and create a culture of innovation. To ensure greater initial as well as long-term success, utilize agile principles before, during, and after the launch of your project.

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