Behind the Buzzword: What Digital Transformation Really Means 2

Behind the Buzzword: What Digital Transformation Really Means

It’s not far from most business leader’s lips these days, but what does digital transformation really mean? You’d be forgiven for thinking that digital transformation is one project, but in actual fact, it covers a variety of interlinked business areas and projects, making up one complex final picture.

Get behind the buzzword that is “digital transformation” and all the publicity that surrounds it, and you’ll find that it’s a term used to cover off a radical approach to bringing both front and back-end processes up to date.

With digital systems running through the heart of modern businesses, to transform in the true sense, you’ll need to look at more than just the customer-facing platforms to get it right. And why would you want to do this? Because quite simply, to remain agile and competitive, technology is key.

What digital transformation involves

Depending on your circumstances your existing digital assets may need a complete overhaul, or a bit of tweaking here and there. Really, one big thing about digital transformation is that it’s not a case of “one size fits all” when it comes to finding the right solution. Interestingly, bigger more established companies often have a harder time transforming due to ingrained systems, while smaller, more agile counterparts can tackle the task with comparative ease.

The crux of any digital transformation, is to understand exactly what’s involved from the start. You will need to review current IT systems and get business leaders on board. There will also be a job to do in terms of communicating the changes with your company’s employees to get their support. Without that buy-in from top to bottom of the organisation, chances are you’ll run in problems.

Why? Because to implement new systems and ways of working, everyone needs to understand what’s expected of them, and have the right training to effectively do their jobs day-to-day. And that brings us to the other part of digital transformation. New tech. Innovations like AI, Blockchain and cloud software give businesses more ways to work efficiently than ever before. Considering what will really drive your business to the next level is all part of a true digital transformation strategy.

Should it be a customer-centric strategy?

Business experts and representatives from the Top 100 agree that a customer-centric approach is crucial to successful digital transformation. In this new business age, organisations are being led by what their customers want. Now, tech is so heavily ingrained in people’s daily lives, there’s an expectation for business services to be simplistic, streamlined and accessible. These days, your customers are more in control of their buying decisions than ever before. Thanks to reviews, online research tools, comparison websites and a whole world of online retailers at their fingertips, the consumer really is king.

This is where roles like UX designers fit into the digital transformation puzzle. To fully pitch your products or services to your customers, you’ll need to gain a thorough understanding of the customer journey. Testing, prototypes and roadmaps all help project planners and UX designers get a better understanding of this. So, instead of going in blind and throwing money at refreshed or brand new digital solutions, you’ll have integrated tech that solves a problem or removes a barrier as they navigate your services.

The real business benefits

The question is, why would you want to embark on an involved strategy to transform your business without getting real, tangible benefits? There are a number of powerful arguments for not only considering digitally transforming your business, but also doing it right. Here are just four big reasons why it benefits businesses:

  • Solid customer insights: through integrating engagement data you can build a better understanding of your customers. Looking at all touchpoints in the customer journey, this data-driven approach will enable you to hit consumers with the right services and content to nurture leads, maximise sales and develop long-term relationships.
  • More agility: with the introduction of cloud software and agile digital services, you’ll be able to move quickly to maximise opportunities and move in line with customer expectation and market conditions.
  • Cost savings: Better, streamlined services give you one clear competitive advantage: they enable your business to be more productive and save money on time-consuming, wasteful tasks. In addition to this, contented customers are more likely to spend more, and come back again.
  • Happier employees: by looking at back-end and front-end processes, you’ll be setting your employees up for success. With slick systems they’ll be empowered with the right tools to communicate with each other effectively and do their jobs efficiently.

Finding your strategy

Every business is different, and so it makes sense that each digital transformation strategy must be unique. To get started on the right foot, you’ll need expert support. With this, you can gather solid insights, go through your road-mapped strategy, prototype and test your products.

Just as it’s important to keep your transformation customer-centric at the beginning with your initial research, getting feedback from your end-users throughout the process will stand you in good stead.

With all this ammunition, you’ll be in a position to create targeted content, organised in a way to get the best response and develop relevant, organised platforms that people love.

Effective transformations

More than just the latest business buzz, digital transformation is a process that gives organisations the clout to compete effectively, and powerfully engage customers. Getting that loyalty from your customer has never been more important. And using tech and smart software to empower both your employees to deliver higher service levels and gratify the customer at every stage of their journey is the key to an effective digital transformation.

Thinking of it as a company-wide strategy from end-to-end is key. With buy-in across the organisation, the right technology and project support, and your eye set firmly on the customer, you’ll be ready to deliver an effective digital transformation strategy.

Andrew Machin
Andrew Machin

With over 15 years’ experience in web design and digital marketing Andrew has helped many brands, both in the UK and US, create exceptional digital experiences, from websites to in-store retail experiences, such as John Lewis, Jet2, Virgin Holidays and Interflora.

Through the success of such projects Andrew has received accolades that include high-profile awards that span innovation, strategy, design and results such as the Dadi Grand Prix Award and the Digital Impact Award for Innovation.

This experience has led to Andrew judging digital design awards, been featured in .net magazine, lecturing at Leeds university and speak at seminars and conferences across the UK.

Follow Andrew @The_Machin

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