What does digital transformation really mean? And what does it require?
When Caz and I originally started BrightCultures we called ourselves a ‘digital transformation consultancy’. We had lots of experience at NixonMcinnes of writing strategies and helping organizations develop new mindsets for the 21st century. We worked hard internally in organizations to help them adjust to the challenges of a disrupted, digital marketplace.
But no one really seemed (seems?) to have a handle on what digital transformation entailed, and for many it just meant doing the same stuff as always but on mobile, cloud or tablet.
So that didn’t satisfy us. It didn’t feel like the whole story. It didn’t feel like it was making enough of a difference and having enough of a tangible impact on customers.
You see, we love helping customers, and we saw the rise of digital servicing as a driver for organizations to improve their customer relations to meet the needs of the digitally engaged 21st Century citizen. It wasn’t long before we started to focus our offering in this way and we shifted to being a ‘digital customer engagement consultancy’.
Guess what? This isn’t the whole story either.
Whilst it is true that you can’t digitally transform unless you embrace the customer; engage, listen and respond to them, and change the way your organisation views and values them in a wholesale way, It is also true that you can’t be truly and effectively customer-centric in today’s world unless you adopt a digital mindset.
This is the part that we had been missing – and I think it is the part that most digital transformation and customer programs miss.
And it’s not just about technology and creating new services for your customers in digital channels. Today’s world is characterized by volatility, uncertainty, change and ambiguity (VUCA). If you are going to withstand the threat of being disrupted in your market you need to make sure that it runs much deeper.
To be truly fit for the 21st century, organizations need customer and digital in their DNA – entwined and working together, internally and externally, to create truly transformative results.
This is both a cultural shift and an operational shift.
It means creating a new commitment to the customer within the organisation and evincing new behaviours (agility, transparency, empowerment, etc) that allow you to leverage the benefits that digital brings, to ensure that that commitment is delivered against in the right way.
It means designing the right L&D services, and having the right tools, processes and ways of working to ensure that the right people can collaborate and share insight and create new ways to doing business.
The problem is that this is big stuff. Quite frankly, change on this level is a bugger to achieve, and the larger you organisation the harder it becomes (and probably, the more you need it).
In next week’s post I’ll share a radical new way that will allow you to build this DNA in your company and deliver a genuinely transformative way of doing business…
[Photo credit: Stuart Caie]