A Digital Transformation for Your Customer Experience

January 17, 2019

LISA SHARAPATA

The term “Digital Transformation” reached buzzword status a few years ago.

According to this definition from CIO, Digital Transformation is a radical rethinking of how an organization uses technology, people and processes to radically change business performance .

Many enterprise organizations now aspire to the notion that they must embark on a Digital Transformation to optimize their processes so they can stay competitive and continue to resonate with customers.

Because it’s such an encompassing initiative, it’s often difficult to pinpoint every task that Digital Transformation requires for each enterprise area, department, region, or group—and when (if ever) such a project can be deemed complete.

Many organizations tend to focus on implementing new solutions and platforms as they begin their Digital Transformation discussions. But to truly be successful, most of these initiatives also often require altering or creating completely new processes, resources, methodologies, and organizational cultures to optimize the new technologies.

Digital Transformation initiatives take this kind of enterprise-wide preparation to really transform how an organization does business. As a result, it’s no longer just the CIO or CEO who’s leading the charge. According to this article in TechRepublic, 10% of CMOs and Chief Experience Officers are now tasked with enabling Digital Transformation efforts across their enterprise, as these leaders often manage enterprise-wide technologies and processes.

In fact, customer experience is constantly ranked as one of the leading drivers of Digital Transformation, says Brian Solis, Principal Analyst at Altimeter, which recently issued its annual State of Digital Transformation report.

“From the customer’s perspective…they just want an integrated, personalized, efficient, and intuitive experience,” he says. “So when customer-centric digital transformation initiatives are coordinated and optimized, customers will notice. Enterprise-wide digital transformation is at its greatest effect when it is bigger than any one group and focused on customers experience and business performance and growth.”

Transforming tech for CX

When organizations think of Digital Transformation, they often go right for the shiny new toys—the niche solutions that offer enhanced analytics, personalization, or sales optimization. But because customer experience encompasses various departments across an enterprise, it’s essential that Digital Transformation initiatives based on CX include a platform of multiple solutions that integrate with each other so CX data can seamlessly move from one application or department to the next.

For example, organizations seeking to digitally transform their content must utilize various solutions to manage each stage of the content lifecycle, including:

  • Ideation
  • Planning
  • Budgeting
  • Creation
  • Enrichment
  • Distribution
  • Analysis

If solutions they deploy for each of these stages aren’t able to work together, organizations will run into roadblocks for finding content, ensuring content is on brand, determining content ROI, etc. This in turn will result in a slower time to market and disjointed customer experiences—the exact opposite of the goals they were trying to achieve with the Digital Transformation initiative in the first place!

Transforming operations for CX

While new technology is likely the sexiest part of any Digital Transformation project, organizations can’t fully accomplish such an initiative without also optimizing their operations and culture at the same time; even the most sophisticated digital platforms won’t help them transform their business without the right supporting processes and teams.

While it might be inherently more difficult initiate changes to processes and culture than to implement a new shiny technology, continuing to use stagnant processes can further handicap business goals, and ultimately hurt the customer experience. So, optimizing new skills and processes is also essential to a successful Digital Transformation, and may even require organizations to first step back and initiate how they can reverse engineer their CX to ensure customer centricity.

Check out this webinar, “Content and the Customer Experience: Best Practices for B2B Marketers,” to discover more insights about how improving operations also can enhance customer experiences.

Such reverse engineering involves:

  • Determining what their ideal CX looks like
  • Understanding customer needs of great experiences
  • Assessing where they currently stand
  • Reimaging and realigning their organization
  • Establishing new methodologies and processes
  • Measuring effectiveness

As part of their Digital Transformation initiatives, organizations must follow these steps to get the right organizational processes and structure in place so they can work on changing team mentality when the new digital solutions are ultimately implemented.

Check out this ebook to learn more about “Reverse Engineering the Customer Experience.”

Continuous optimization

Digital Transformation projects often can be ongoing with no target end date, as new technologies, processes, and skill sets frequently emerge and evolve as best practices for operational efficiency, increased sales, and customer retention. While overwhelming, organizations still must embark on these initiatives, especially as CX continues to be important to customers.

For example, according to PwC, as 54% of consumers say customer experiences at most companies needs improvement, and 32% said they would stop doing business with a brand after just one bad experience.

It also may behoove organizations to embark on Digital Transformation for Customer Experience, to help their internal processes, as 89% of CX professionals reporting that the ROI of CX is not well established in their companies.

However, having a well-rounded plan for Digital Transformation for Customer Experience that includes evaluating and implementing new technologies, processes, and organizational culture will ultimately make any resulting transitions smoother and more successful.

About the Author

Lisa Sharapata is the Senior Director of Brand Experience at Aprimo. For over 20 years she has been helping brands of all sizes transform their image and messaging beyond “features and functions,” as well as identify and discuss true differentiators that have meaning to their audience at every touch point.

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