Beating digital transformation fatigue
- Posted on May 14, 2020
- Estimated reading time 3 minutes
This article was originally written by Avanade alum Chris Horton.
Digital transformation offers the promise of clever, joined-up, efficient systems that deliver better results for businesses and for their customers. But all too often, businesses stall in their journey towards this brighter future. Why is that, and how can businesses start to move forward again without becoming mired in technicalities?
Our experience with the Sitecore platform provides a good illustration. Sitecore offers many benefits, but most of them can be grouped into two segments.
- The first is that it offers enterprise-level features for security, governance, management and other areas. If a business has those kinds of enterprise requirements, Sitecore quickly emerges as a leading choice.
- The second area is strength – the more exciting area for many customers – lies in its advanced marketing capabilities – the ability to truly personalise the customer experience, live A/B testing, a single view of the customer and close integration with other business systems, for example.
These marketing features offer considerable benefits, a set of opportunities to reap a commercial advantage and they’re often among the key selling points for our clients.
Unfortunately, though, they’re also woefully underused: we believe that between 70 and 80% of Sitecore implementations are using only a small fraction of its capabilities (typically just the CMS features). Most users are not getting the most out of their investment.
This happens because, frequently, there’s been a big initial push as a new website is rolled out, perhaps with a re-brand or new design, and that understandably becomes the focus. But then, once it’s launched, peoples’ energy peters out quickly; there are other priorities to get back to, and they may never get around to implementing what they’d thought of as ‘phase 2’: the advanced features that make the platform so attractive in the first place.
The reasons for this are varied, but very often it comes down to capacity and capability. Businesses may not have the right people in place: not everyone in marketing is as digitally proficient as the most advanced of their peers. They may not have been trained to use the tools, or even understand their value. Or they may not have sufficient capacity: marketing people very often have a wide variety of responsibilities – encompassing events, product management, advertising and creative work, among other areas – and digital systems are at one end of that, so they simply haven’t the bandwidth to put sustained effort into extending the capabilities of their systems.
So to move forward, those marketing departments need to regroup and work out their next steps. There are two areas that should be considered priorities.
- First, training and enablement will almost certainly be an important part of the required work, making sure your whole team is enabled to the point that they can start to use those advanced tools and fully understand the advantages they can bring. Making this a priority means that it’s no longer just one or two people who can drive improvements or continue them once established and makes the whole transformation project more sustainable.
- The next step is planning – working out where your department and your organisation wants to be and the steps needed to get there. At the same time as having a big picture, though, that plan should also be extremely granular.
It’s important to spell out the steps in practical, measurable terms. An ideal of introducing ‘personalisation’, for example, can involve considerable complexity and many kinds of changes to how your website works. Breaking that down into individual changes, that can be implemented, measured and tweaked to improve the results, is more likely to reap rewards, and more likely to reach completion. Transformation needs to be a series of baby-steps, a constant stream of achievable, measurable work.
This planning is often an area where businesses benefit most from external help. Bringing in Avanade to consult on the strategy and process offers at least two important benefits.
- It brings considerable experience that your own business doesn’t have. For businesses, it’s almost certainly the first time they’ve done this, whereas Avanade experts help diverse companies through these challenges every day.
- It adds a clarifying distance from your company’s day-to-day operations. Having an external perspective makes it easier to understand the scope of what’s possible, and what’s unusual about your current practices.
Coming back to today and what you might do during the COVID-19 emergency – perhaps taking opportunity of some downtime in your business to make sure it’s ready for recovery, there are always things you can do. The data provided through a platform like Sitecore presents a considerable learning opportunity – in terms of how your customers behave, and how that behaviour might be changing. This information might well create crucial new insights into the priorities for your communications and your offering, insights that could change the tide for your business.
One, very quick way to revive your digital transformation with Sitecore is to consider an Avanade Assessment, which starts with an in-depth diagnostic on your current use of the platform and – depending on your needs – proceeds to deeper forward planning and guidance on those small, practical steps you’ll need to take to make the most of your investment.