As your customers look at their smartphones as their primary tool to shop, get entertainment, and keep in touch with friends and family, they expect the same experience in all aspects of their life. Consequently, they expect the same experience when checking a bank balance, filing an insurance claim, or making a car payment. Furthermore, they want to make themselves a natural part of your business processes. Large organizations respond to this need through enterprise digital transformations.
Above all, digital transformations are challenging. You’re asking every part of your business to change how they operate. The larger your organization, the more people, teams, and processes are involved, which makes the transformation more complicated.
The large number of customers and transactions a digital transformation affects means you can see some significant benefits.
Here’s a look at enterprise digital transformations and how to make them successful given the added complexity of large businesses.
What is a Digital Transformation?
A digital transformation is where your organization applies digital technologies and process changes to make its business processes more efficient, accessible, and scalable.
A digital transformation is not a short-term project. It’s an ongoing activity where you use technology to revise existing business processes and introduce new processes to improve how customers interact with your business and your products.
Your primary goal in a digital transformation is to improve your customer experience and serve your clients more effectively. Those changes might be immediately apparent to customers, or they may be behind the scenes.
Here are a few examples of the type of changes you may experience during a digital transformation:
- Providing your customers with a way to resolve many of their support questions themselves rather than contacting customer support to do even routine account maintenance activities.
- Replacing on-premise data storage with cloud-based data management and backup.
- Setting up communication tools that enable remote work.
- Using analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, to gain better insights into customer behavior and product usage.
- Deploying your company’s software offering as a SaaS solution so that customers can access it without having to download anything.
How Digital Transformation is Different at Enterprise Organizations
The characteristic that makes an enterprise digital transformation is the change needed to make that transformation successful.
Most meaningful customer interactions at large organizations have many moving parts and often involve multiple departments, multiple pieces of software, and interdependent processes.
When you face these conditions, you need to ensure everyone has a shared understanding of the desired outcome. You need a strategic blueprint to guide you through the changes you need to make to realize that outcome.
Your product teams can use a digital transformation roadmap to summarize your plan and goals for overhauling your processes and implementing digital technology. The digital transformation roadmap helps you:
- Communicate your vision and strategy for your digital transformation
- Build support for your digital transformation from stakeholders and decision-makers
- Turn your big-picture goal into an action plan
- Communicate your action plan to critical teams and stakeholders to ensure everyone agrees
- Ensure everyone stays up to date on any changes to the plan.
Benefits of a Enterprise Digital Transformation
If enterprise digital transformations are so much work and introduce so much change to your organization, are they worth the effort?
That’s a decision that your organization will need to make based on your situation. For instance, to help you assess whether an enterprise digital transformation makes sense for your organization, here are some benefits you may experience.
Better customer experience
Your organization’s primary benefit from a digital transformation is a better relationship with your customers. This improved relationship comes about because you’ve improved the experience your customers have when they interact with you.
You can perform customer research to identify customer pain points and quantify opportunities to address them. A digital transformation provides an ideal opportunity to create exciting solutions to those customer problems.
Consequently, a Digital transformation also changes how you communicate with customers. Customers don’t want to be on hold on an 800 number. They want a continual dialog with their partners that includes helpful information and responsive enhancements to the products they rely upon.
When you solve customers’ problems and make it easier to communicate with your organization, you’ll attract new customers and keep the customers you already have.
A critical step toward improving your customer’s experience is to change processes and implement technology to enhance the collaboration of people inside your organization.
In large enterprises, smooth customer interactions often require effective collaboration between multiple people in different departments. Customers don’t see most of that collaboration, but they can tell when the partnership breaks down.
The changes you make to processes often involve streamlining collaboration among people inside your organization. The new digital technologies you implement often improve customer experience by facilitating cooperation between people inside your organization.
As a result, any efforts you make to improve customer experience will inherently improve collaboration inside your organization to make that happen.
A digital transformation can also lead to significant productivity improvements that help your business increase its growth.
When you make process changes and implement new technology, you’re replacing repetitive, manual processes with automated digital ones. With those automated digital processes, customers and people inside your organization can accomplish more with their time and resources.
People inside your organization now have time to think about growth and reduce ongoing expenses. Moreover, improved digital capabilities also make data more available, which will help you identify new opportunities you may not have been aware of previously.
How to Make Your Enterprise Digital Transformation Successful
Given the amount of effort that digital transformation requires, you want to take every step you can to ensure that your digital transformation efforts are successful.
Here are three actions you can take to increase the chances of a successful enterprise digital transformation.
Shift to a product-led mindset
If you want to make processes more efficient and improve collaboration, you’ll likely use cross-functional teams. To make those cross-functional teams as effective as possible, you’ll want to adopt a product-led mindset.
“Product-Led” means aligning your business activities around modern Product Management practices by:
- Continuous discovery to identify markets and customers with unsolved problems.
- Identifying and developing potential solutions to solve customer problems.
- Delivering a timely, desirable, and intuitive solution solves customer problems and brings value to your organization.
Properly set expectations
The failure rate for digital transformations is as high as 80%. A key contributor is misplaced expectations about the transformation on behalf of everyone in the organization.
First, start by understanding the current state. Identify your key stakeholders and how they feel about things. If your stakeholders are hesitant about a digital transformation, talk to them to understand their concerns.
Then, use your digital transformation roadmap to help explain how your transformation can resolve their pain points. You’re speaking to what’s in it for them to do the transformation.
Above all, establish realistic expectations that the transformation will not be quick and involve change. At the same time, you’ll also want to be clear about the boundaries you have in place and the ultimate objective of the transformation.
Communicate with your stakeholders continuously
Once you’ve set expectations, communicate with your stakeholders regularly.
Create consistent channels to share updates and make sure they can provide you with their perspective. You may not want their feedback, but it’s essential that everyone feels like they have a voice.
When you communicate with stakeholders, make sure you base your plans on research and data. The data will show stakeholders you aren’t asking them to take on a transformation based on gut instinct alone. It shows you respect their time enough to research the transformation up front and show the strategy is worth pursuing.
Know Why You’re Pursuing an Enterprise Digital Transformation
Above all, digital transformations are a lot of work—the more significant your organization, the more work you face.
But they are certainly worth it if you undertake a digital transformation to improve customer experience and become more effective in how you serve your clients.
Finally, keeping your transformation moving in the right direction is a clear vision, a properly articulated strategy, and a digital transformation roadmap to guide the way.