Ideas

Getting clear on digital transformation.

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In our work at The Moment, we see a lot of need for digital transformation out there. Many initiatives are already in play by the time we’re helping clients; some for better, and some for worse. Recently at the CX Week Conference in Toronto, I attended a session on digital transformation. It was a case study within a government setting — not the easiest place to transform digitally. Predictably, it was a story of the struggle to wrangle an organization toward a transformation good news story. But what stuck with me was this statement:

When you embark on a Digital Transformation journey, make sure you know what you’re trying to transform.

Yes! Yes! Yes! It’s such a familiar conversation that we have with people in the Innovation community—clients and practitioners alike. Digital Transformation could be a lot of things. Here are just a few:

 

Transforming your current digital platforms.

One of our biggest clients knew that they had to transform their digital platforms internally. They were working on a decades old system that made things difficult for staff to execute well. Customer experience suffered. We helped them to design an experience that would guide the transformation to a better and more enabling digital experience. This required coordination between product, CX, and the IT teams, but alignment was not our biggest challenge. The big challenge was creating a CX that would work within IT platform constraints.

The most interesting part of this piece of digital work is that the bulk of our work was focused on the action around the digital platform. We needed to answer this question: what do the people who will use this platform need to happen outside of the platform? How can the platform help?

 

Transforming the way in which your customers engage with you.

A financial services client of ours was moving from a legacy-approach to customer engagement, to a completely buy-online experience. This required alignment across many silos that don’t typically work together. Despite some great design work done in different areas, the “coming together” of hearts and minds around the transformation was a formidable challenge. Stakeholders from across the organization engaged in some pretty intense examination and collaboration to create one journey for their valued customers.

Along with this was the change required by staff to change the ways they work. More than stakeholdering, folks across the organization needed to participate in owning the final solution and get their hands dirty. This took time and some formidable Innovation Design expertise to pull off well.

 

Transforming the way in which you support and delight customers, through digital means (service/product).

Our clients are doing this through a number of different approaches. With us, they engage in great service design and product design work across their organizations to build digital experiences. This type of digital transformation work can be tackled in small chunks but should always be coordinated if transformation is the goal. As soon as you need alignment across the organization (or ideally before that) our most savvy clients engage in Innovation strategy development — getting clear on how each initiative works together to form a comprehensive portfolio of transformation opportunities.

Or, are you trying to do it all?

Knowing the scope of your transformation is pretty key in that the strategy to get the goal met (and they are all worthy goals) will involve different types of work and a different way of engaging with your people and your customers.

The danger lies when you haven’t defined the borders of what you are transforming. In our experience, it can get out of hand quickly.

One tool that could help you map out the impact of your digital transformation is our Innovation Opportunities Map. You can use it to map how your Innovation goals map to different parts of your business model (front of stage and back of stage). You can use this tool to invite key stakeholders into the conversation early and map how your Innovation work is growing and changing over time.

One final takeaway:

 

Don’t let Digital Transformation be just something we all assume is a known entity. It is not.

Digital Transformation as a term is rife with opportunity to misunderstand intent and scope, and to waste money on spin and confusion. You owe it to your business to get clear, ask questions, and gain alignment early and often.