Digital transformation – not just an issue for the CMO

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Customer experience – it’s at the heart of everything that is driving business thinking forward right now. And one of the key areas of the customer experience is digital transformation, the business dynamic that can help organizations to properly address all customer need through technology. To keep customers satisfied, meeting and exceeding their expectations now and in the future, digital transformation is vital.

To approach digital transformation correctly however it is important to ask a couple of key questions of you and your organization; what is your plan for improving your overall business? Is your focus on cost cutting or on business growth? I suspect like the vast majority of us, your answer to this is probably “both”. This means making digital transformation a strategic part of your entire operations, not merely an afterthought or a ‘nice to have’. It is no longer the responsibility of the chief marketing officer (CMO) alone or something that the IT department looks after. It is core to enhancing business processes, to driving change and to creating a better customer experience. Which means everyone in your organization has a stake.

The two-pronged approach

This twin focus is the right kind of thinking to achieve successful digital transformation, and we’ll begin with cost cutting. If we approach cost cutting from a perspective of optimizing customer touchpoints then you can create a strategy that improves customer experience while allowing you to control costs.

Technology comes in in the shape of automation. Organizations that have traditionally been home to many manual processes can now automate them, and this automation also enables multi-channel customer touchpoints – which in turn helps to drive increased customer satisfaction while lowering your costs.

And there are many more customer touchpoints today thanks to technology; customers now get in touch with companies via traditional call centers, via websites, via mobile websites and apps, through social media, at trade shows and exhibitions, at sales offices, physical retail outlets, online retail outlets and many more. All of these are interactions between customer and supplier and all are opportunities to provide an improved customer experience. The era of the customer contact being initiated through a sales call is over.

Dr. Jeffrey Lant states that in order to get your brand to penetrate a consumer’s consciousness and to make significant penetration in a given market, you have to make contact with the prospect a minimum of seven times. With all of these channels and touchpoints that should now be more possible than ever.

The business growth imperative

To drive growth in your business means continuous innovation – and technology is now central to that too. Consider the amount of data that you generate and gather through the numerous customer touchpoints – how do you plan to analyse this data and what are you then going to do with it? This is powerful ammunition if used correctly.

Data analytics can help you to enhance customer satisfaction and create more effective, attractive products and services – but you must recognize how to integrate human touchpoints and interactions with your data analysis. And remember, innovation doesn’t only help you to improve your services or develop and launch new products – digital technology also acts as a potent tool for helping you develop new, more efficient business models and go to market strategies.

Maximize your chances

To maximize this analysis and gain a clear understanding, due diligence is your friend. Conducting due diligence means asking yourself more key questions, beginning with how your customers are interacting with you today – those touchpoints again. You need to understand every step of the way – how is your customer using your website, how are they using tablets and smartphones to interact with you, how is your contact center helping you enhance operations and help your customers be more successful? Ask yourself all of these, answer them and seek to improve the outcomes. Always be looking to ensure all your customer touchpoints deliver value to the customer at all times.

Also, take the strategic view on where you want to get to. Digital transformation is a journey and by taking a clear view of what you want technologies like data analytics and automation to do for you you can put a roadmap in place. Then ask yourself how you are going to get there and what is stopping you? Implement the right technologies, optimize them and operate them.

Digital transformation to the fore

Research houses are putting digital transformation at the top of the agenda for 2015 and beyond. Forrester has predicted that by the end of 2015, spending on digital marketing will exceed $67 billion – 27 percent of all advertising spend. Making digital and technology absolutely vital to organizations that want to thrive and grow.

The key elements of digital transformation are now strategic imperatives. Cloud, Big Data and data analytics, social and mobile are core to success and the subsequent innovation accelerators they enable like the Internet of Things, advanced robotics, 3D printing, natural interfaces and cognitive computing will form the next level of digital transformation and customer experience.

Change begins with you

So address the fundamentals. Start by evaluating your IT capabilities and effectiveness, look at your organizational and governance structures and see where you can make initial improvements under the strategic banner. Tackle any cultural challenges in the mix and put new KPIs and metrics in place to measure correctly. And get buy-in from all your business units because digital transformation affects and helps them all. Remember it isn’t all about the CMO.

There is much to do to drive true digital transformation. The ground is shifting quickly and there are many moving parts, but done effectively it creates and reveals powerful opportunities. 

Further reading: More about Orange Business Services Cloud Solutions

Setu Shah

I am a Business Solutions Manager at Orange Business Services. I have over twenty years of experience in strategic planning, positioning consulting and globally out-tasked solutions for Fortune 1000 multi-national corporations. I have a strong focus on solving client’s various business needs with technical solution especially in digital transformation. I work with sales teams to develop and execute strategic client account plans to help clients achieve their goals. When not working I enjoys community work, spending time with family and watching cricket.