Five Pillars for Digital Transformation

Scott Taylor
Scott Taylor
There is no silver bullet for digital transformation and the journey is often complex. These transformations are often referred to as a program of work with start & end dates, but a true digital transformation never ends. The transformation needs to be able to change & pivot frequently, based on a continual stream of changes in markets, business, customer preferences and technology.
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Introduction

There is no silver bullet for digital transformation and the journey is often complex. These transformations are often referred to as a program of work with start & end dates, but a true digital transformation never ends. The transformation needs to be able to change & pivot frequently, based on a continual stream of changes in markets, business, customer preferences and technology.

At Servicely.ai we have been fortunate enough to talk with CIOs who have been at various stages in their journey towards digitally transforming their business. Some are trying to get started while others are continuously reviewing & aligning their strategy as business priorities are added or changed. What was also apparent is that organisations that have recently (within the last 12-24 months) started their transformation were re-evaluating their pillars for success.

While there are no right and wrong pillars for transformation, we have recognised the following five that feature in many successful transformations:

• Customer centricity

• People & culture

• Digital technology

• Data & insights

• Delivery & operational excellence

In the following sections we will break these pillars down and provide guidance on what you should consider for each pillar to be successful. These pillars are interconnected and rely on them all being successful together.

Customer Centricity

Customers should be a key pillar of influence for prioritising initiatives within your digital transformation. Without customers, there is no business.

Digital channels continue to emerge so staying relevant and being able to adapt is vital. Through these channels, customers are looking for a connected experience with your products & services.

Organisations are investing in chatbot technologies that use natural language understanding (NLU) to drive customer engagement. This approach works well for frequently asked questions however service agents are often still required for those more complex or technical scenarios. It is therefore important that organisations leverage technology that can ensure every service agent is your best agent by capturing tribal knowledge and augmenting staff with guided assistance.  

Continuing to gain feedback from your customers will enable you to prioritise where your teams focus the most. Establishing a voice of the customer (VoC) framework is effective and creates customer intimacy, this goes a long way to creating line of sight to your customer.

People & Culture

The pandemic is enough evidence to suggest that the way of working has changed forever. The hybrid workforce is here to stay. Keeping people & teams connected and productive as they adapt to the new way of working has been a significant challenge for many organisations and has been a catalyst to accelerate digital transformation.

To realise the true value of a transformation, a shift in mindset and culture is required across the organisation. A culture that favours customer centricity, agile innovation, cross functional collaboration, diversity, data driven decision making and risk-taking will improve the chances of success. This culture will also go a long way to attracting and retaining talent which is only going to get harder.

Organisational change management methodologies, such as ADKAR, will help organisations navigate the people aspect of the transformation.

Digital Technology

Technology that has successfully served businesses in the past is often a bottleneck for future innovation.  Tactical solutions have been attempted or previous transformations have failed to deliver. This has often fractured the relationship between IT and the business.

In collaboration with business leaders, an internal debate over which systems need to change and which do not is often effective. This can reduce risk and ensure the transformation is not considered to be technology led.

A winning formula often includes a digital-ready, cloud enabled, technology architecture. This is further reinforced by best-in-breed technologies that are flexible, intelligent, and connected.

Emerging technologies are investing in innovation that solve real business problems through no/low code platforms. With digital and automation at the core, organisations can apply their business logic and begin iterating with their stakeholders to add value.

Strong governance practices across all enterprise technology are required so that technical debt is managed. Governance will also help protect the integrity of the technology and ensure sensible decisions are made, especially when determining configurations vs customisations as these might have short-term benefits but long-term implications.

Data & Insights

An explosion of data is a challenge many organisations experience. It has often been assumed that the more of it you collect the greater the insights will be. It is becoming increasingly evident though that this is not the case. Having a lot of data makes it very difficult to separate valuable data from the insignificant.

Working with business leaders will enable you to get a better understanding of their goals so you can pinpoint which insights are most valuable and begin to focus your efforts.

Traditionally data architectures have been complex, inflexible with data stored in vastly different technology stacks. Designing a new data architecture must be scalable and able to respond to changing business & technology conditions. The architecture must be able to manage data stored locally, in the cloud, on digital devices and in data lakes.

Arguably one of the biggest challenges is getting people to trust and use the data. It is important to work with them and to change their mindset, so they use data insights for effective decision making.

The emergence of Artificial Intelligence has added another dimension to data insights. AI automates the processes that analyse massive amounts of data to locate answers or results that may not be visible to the human eye. AI is certainly a game changer and by continuously improving these algorithms will deliver greater insights and excellent customer experiences.

Delivery & Operational Excellence

Given the investment required to execute a digital transformation strategy and the need for technology to be flexible enough to change based on customer & business needs, it is important delivery & operations are engaged and aligned early. Operations tend to know where the skeletons are buried and can add value by raising risks and suggest new capabilities early in the journey to minimise surprises along the way.

While modernising and uplifting products and services for customers is important, the same must apply for operational systems. Empowering operational teams with technologies that include the latest innovations, including AI/ML, predictive intelligence, contribute significantly towards customers experience. There is a lot of focus on automation, so it is important that the chosen technologies are open (e.g., API’s) and able to support shift-left strategies.  

A Note on Security

A considerable amount of thinking, and deliberation, went into where security lives in this document. It almost warrants its own pillar and in some cases it will. During, prior to and in years ahead the digital transformation will create a significant amount of digital assets and value. Having the appropriate technology, talent, policies and processes to defend and protect the business against these threats is important. Maintaining application patch levels, upgrade cycles and implementing strict security controls for systems will go a long way to reducing the organisations security risk profile.

Other Considerations Without going into too much detail, consideration should also be given to:

• Decommissioning legacy tools. It is often an oversight but removing these from the enterprise can have cost and security benefits.

• Agile ways of working. Rather than working in isolation, integrate the business and technology teams to drive quicker and incremental value while building trust.

• Simplification of policies and processes. These should be reconsidered so they complement the new ways of working and the latest technology investments. Change management is a process that is frequently spoken about in this context.

Summary

We hope this has provided you with some ideas and insights regardless on   where you are in your digital transformation.

Service management platforms have proven to be a great starting point and a key enabler for any digital transformation. They support all pillars as outlined in this document and give CIOs a good starting point to bring the business onto a single platform with a single system of record using digital forms supported by digital workflows. Immediately this brings business units closer together, increases collaboration & productivity and provides end-to-end visibility when inter-department work is required.

Servicely.ai is an extensible enterprise service management platform that offers out-of-the-box pre-configured applications while providing a flexible low-code platform to consolidate and connect departments on a single system of record. While IT has often been a focus area for shift-left strategies, our platform delivers the same for all business units on the platform.

Traditionally CIO’s have struggled to realise return on investment or failed to deliver on the vision to use a service management platform across the entire business. At Servicely.ai we have taken it upon ourselves to turn this around by providing our customers with a simple license model that gives CIO’s a commercially effective way to make a business-wide impact.

To learn more about how Servicely.ai might help you and your organisation address the challenges described above, sign up to the mailing list below or lease visit www.servicely.ai/discovery and get in touch.

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