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Digital transformation & how to quickly get there

  • Posted on December 4, 2015

DigitalWith all the buzz around transforming your business into the digital age, it is often overwhelming to understand where to start.  Do you focus on the customer experience so you can provide a customer focused approach or do you pivot to the inside and get started on the employee experience?  If you start tackling them completely separate, you are going to end up with frustrated customers or employees. Both sets of users expect things to be as easy as accessing data in their personal lives (Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc.).

Here are my 4 tips for ensuring an easy start for a digital transformation at your company.

  1. Start by identifying what business problem(s) could be tackled by digital and determine how you want to measure the impact. This should drive a mission statement for your initiative and a little hint: DO NOT make it a technology statement. It should be something like; providing a better experience for our sales teams to increase productivity or a tailored shopping experience to drive deeper brand loyalty.
  2. Identify the key people in your organization that should be involved with the initiative (business leaders and not solely a technology team)
    1. Executive sponsor(s) - to help drive the initiative forward with leadership oversight
    2. Related business sponsors (marketing, sales, service, operations etc.)
    3. Technology sponsor – keeping the business and technology groups in sync
  3. Agree on what the biggest pain points are today and stack rank them
    1. Typically you can get this started from a couple of days to a couple of weeks (Set a goal when to have the priorities ranked)
    2. Ranking doesn’t have to be the largest issue as it needs to be balanced with ease of implementation and timelines – find your quick wins!
    3. Decide who from your committee will be your leader. (For example: VP of sales if you are tackling a sales workplace transformation). Yes, you need one leader to drive your digital mission because a committee only decision process will often cause decisions to not be executed and likely will never get off the ground.
  4. Set a Roadmap.
    1. Break down the larger initiative into a series of accomplishments (sprints)
    2. Make sure the users know what is coming next. You don’t have to have a Rolls Royce built out of the gate but everyone wants to know what the future holds.
    3. Be Agile! If you decide to roll out something different due to feedback - it’s Ok!

Focus on your business initiative mission statement and make sure everyone involved from executive leadership to IT live by it.  I often see people doing working and then forgetting why the project was greenlighted in the first place which leads to failure.  It is critical that the executive team stay involved because when they don’t your employees don’t see it as critical to the business.  Keep driving towards initiatives that can be measured as that is going keep you in front of your competition!

Avanade has deep experience in helping clients with amazing transformations in the distribution, financial services, and retail industries among others where employees quickly went from frustrated to flag bearers. One example is how a large beverage manufacture transformed their entire sales workforce from a traditional product representative to a brand loyalty sales execution machine!  The right journey for your business can start off small by automating some manual processes with an easy to use mobile application that can grow into a global digital sales and loyalty transformation.

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