One of the very first questions I typically ask executives who are newly committed to start “digitally transforming” their business is to actually define “digital transformation.” While definitions vary, what really strikes me is that almost always, they tend to have a gross underappreciation of what this transformation entails.
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Executives typically align around one or possibly two of the following, but they fail to grasp that it takes all of them eventually changing (albeit these can be managed in phases or as multiple tracks of work):
1. Customer insights and analytics: Any and all good decision making begins with understanding your customer. Most firms are sorely lacking in their investment and usage of all means and mechanisms to gather that understanding. There are web and mobile analytics looking at customer usage and behaviors around research, shopping and buying behavior, post-purchase services experience, customer interest and satisfaction surveys, focus groups, usability labs, social listening, search term analysis, and so much more. The fundamental question is: Have you transformed and readied your capacity to gather, synthesize and act on all your understanding of your customers benefiting from both traditional means and the many new digital means?
2. Technology platform and capabilities: From your customer learnings, the next step is to identify, build and enable the right functional capabilities built upon a robust technology platform. To effectively conduct business, you need a digital commerce and content platform across all channels that is safe and secure, always on, fast and easy to use, and integrates various aspects of a customer or business experience (i.e., search, shopping, buying, payment email, workflow and pricing).
3. Experience: These capabilities need to be wrapped up in a relevant and engaging personalized experience across all channels. This experience needs to be easy to use, fast, interactive and consumerized.