Thinking Through Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is not once and done, but rather, it's a series of changes. Digital transformation is about what you do, when you do it, where you do it, and how you measure it. In the initial transformation, there may be few observable benefits or value. But incremental changes can produce more informed and better decision-making for the organization.

This blog will discuss the impact of digital transformation on the enterprise. Next week, I'll continue on this track by discussion key performance indicators and other metrics for measuring the effectiveness of digital transformation.

Digital Transformation Impact

Organizations that produce revenue and profit, as well as non-profit organizations, are good candidates for digital transformation. Such initiatives will impact revenue, profit, costs, customer satisfaction and retention, competitive differentiation, performance, and safety. But most importantly, digital transformation involves continuous improvements that require the adaptation of mindsets and behaviors so that the results will pay for themselves.

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Financial Influence

A number of factors will be influenced with digital transformation for those organizations that are seeking revenue and profits. It's important that these organizations determine what the financial impact will be for digital transformation so that when the initiative is implemented, the financial impact can be measured. There are many different ways of looking at the financial value of digital transformation, and in some cases this value will seem indirect. Here are some examples:

  • Revenue improvement -- This can be accomplished by changing the way business is performed. Digital marketing may be a large part of this effort. Increased revenue could be delivered by increasing penetration with the customers that already exist. It can also be accomplished by increasing market share through digital marketing.
  • Profit -- This can be increased by reducing costs. It can also be increased by reducing investment in parts and components necessary for the products. The philosophy of reduced inventory and reduced time-to-delivery means less financial investment in inventory. Cost can also be reduced by changing the work environment, increasing performance, improving safety, and reducing insurance costs. Increased utilization of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and collecting the information from these devices and sensors can be used to optimize the business.
  • Non-profit -- For those organizations that are not-for-profit, such as a charity, donations become important. Changing the way they collect donations from foundations and corporations through digital marketing may be better than trying to gain donations from small donors who may be the beneficiaries but are not the ones providing the financial support.

    Organizations like local, state, and federal government agencies can improve their interaction with citizens by adding artificial intelligence and machine learning to their websites, which can reduce contact center costs. Digital transformation can improve services and deliver them faster.

Operational Benefits

Digital transformation requires that you rethink how you do business. It's like creating a startup company. You need to avoid thinking that the way you have done business is the way you should do business in the future. You need to look at technologies like the Internet of Things and how these devices and the data they produce can change the way you do business. You also have to think through optimization of all your business processes. A fine example of this is workforce optimization and management for your contact centers.

If you're a vehicle fleet manager, for example, you have to behave like your vehicles are mobile warehouses. You want to know where they are and where they're going. You need to know their inventory in real-time. When you collect the inventory changes in real-time, you can also optimize your warehouse inventory as well as the inventory that's in transit to your operations to reduce your capital investment.

As you improve your operations, you need to look at your use of automation and how it affects productivity. You need to demonstrate that your operational improvements deliver the desired results. This means that you should integrate a number of new metrics into operations so that you can find what is successful, and reduce or terminate that which is not optimizing operations.

Customer Experience

Your customers' experiences can make or break your operations. Digital transformation should improve the experience, reduce the experience time, and increase experience satisfaction. This includes how well your customer can navigate your ecosystem. When you view your contact centers and websites, not only do you have to improve them, but you'll discover that the traditional measurements do not tell you enough.

Customer behavior changes by geography, age, education, and past experiences. Digital transformation should ensure customer loyalty, deliver a satisfying experience, and build your brand reputation.

The goal of any given customer engagement should be about more than getting the customer to acquire a product or service. You want the customer asking for more information, asking for advice -- not just trying to solve a problem. You may even see an increase in hold times at the contact center. This is not negative, but positive. The interaction with your contact center is producing value for the customer.

Digital transformation is critical to the survival of organizations. The organization needs to continually embrace change. Not every digital transformation project will be successful. The more useful metrics you collect, the more likely you can determine whether your project is successful or should be reduced or terminated. The time to implement with cloud services is much shorter, and therefore, the time to success or time to failure is shorter as well.

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