Surviving digital transformation

We live in exciting times. Digital has changed the way we shop, communicate, educate, connect, and live. In a world where digital technology rules, hope is not a strategy. Change is happening with or without you and evolution is key.

Digital Transformation (DX) is about organisations using technology to enable people with ambitious ideas deliver great brand experiences. Getting it right can be a game changer just ask Airbnb, IBM, and Adobe. Get it wrong and it’s game over. R.I.P Kodak, Blockbuster and Toys’R Us.

You can’t change your business overnight but you can change your mindset and take an active part in the evolution. Natural selection in the digital era is brutal but not unbeatable. Here's our advice for staying ahead of the curve. 

1. Focus on the people and process 

Organisations don’t change, people do. Work with your people to better understand how to excite, enable, engage, empower, entice your customers and your staff. 

2. Customer obsession

Everything you do should focus on making the lives of your customers better. Customers are more important than shareholders, without customers you’re nothing. So stop selling and start helping. Even if the transformation you make is just an internal business process - if your focus is on helping, you’re doing it right.

3. Ask yourself why

Work with purpose, don’t lose sight of your ‘why’ and why people should care. 

4. Lead the way 

It’s crucial that you’re not just leading the process, you’re part of the process. 85% of tech initiatives fail when the CEO is not involved. Don’t be part of that percentage. 

5. Be prepared for the rollercoaster

Change is hard so we’ll call it improvement (sounds nicer right?). Below is a graph, and it shows all the stages you’re likely to experience when you implement a change. Starting with shock and ending on a high. It might be a long road but it’s worth it. 

6. Getting your piece of the market pie 

Start by focusing solely on the first 2.5% of your market. The innovators, the customers who get all the latest tech and gadgets first. If you can capture their attention, and then that of the early adopters, the rest of your customers will follow. 

7. Process is powerful…

And painful. Transforming digitally will probably prove you wrong before it proves you right. And it’s expensive, sometimes very expensive. But have faith, it will pay off in the end. 

8. Be a kid

Yes, you read that right. Be a kid, be as resilient as a kid. When a child wants to learn to walk, they fall and they get up again, they break some stuff on the way, they hit their heads, they get bruised but if they want to grab your iPhone which you left on that table, they will find a way to walk to that table, and they will learn how to unlock it before they even know how to read. Yes, DX is painful but it’s not half as painful as not doing it. Ask Carphone Warehouse which just announced that it’s closing 92 Branches. 

9. Say no to the know-it-alls 

Be smarter than the Gurus and follow your gut. There is no quick answer to DX, if you find someone who claims to have all the solutions send them to your competitors. Let them waste their time and not yours.

10. Conquering the DX mountain 

One step at a time. DX is about pivoting and testing. Find a perch, try it, and if it holds your weight move on. If it doesn’t try something new. Slow progress is better than no progress. Keep your ultimate goal in mind and you’ll reach the summit. 

11. Teamwork makes the dream work

A helping hand on the DX mountain is never a bad thing. Don’t go it alone - find a sherpa, build a team. Don’t start with an RFP, start with a coffee, then go for a beer, and finish off with dinner. If you think the people across the table share your values you can start the journey. Don’t get married to them, but work towards it. Find the right partners and be ready to pivot. 

Daniel Newman, CEO of Broadsuite Media Group, principal analyst at Futurum and author of Futureproof says that DX has 6 pillars beyond tech.

12. Before you walk, Sprint 

Kick-off your DX process with a Sprint Workshop. You’ll need five days of your time and five others on your team. Ideally a team like this. 

When you’ve gathered your perfect team you can get started with these steps: 

  • Map - Define what you want to fix and for who. Collect all the data about the process
  • Sketch - Hypothesise as many possible ideas as you can 
  • Decide - Review your ideas as a group, select the best three options and redraft a case around each one. Then decide which moves forward
  • Prototype - Build a prototype of the solution. It doesn’t have to work but it must work in principle
  • Test - Test with at least five customers for each persona and be specific about what you test

Keep all this in mind and you won’t go far wrong. Be brave, be bold, good luck and if you need us we’ll help you get to the other side