We have recently published a new eGuide that looks at how you can involve customers in digital transformation. It is a guide that is relevant to businesses both large and small because the opportunity available through involving customers mitigates issues that effect organisations of all sizes.
Professor Michael R. Wade from the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation says organisations place too much attention on ‘digital’ as the objective. “Pursuing a digital strategy means that you have two strategies – one digital and one organizational. At best this is confusing, at worst, it is value destroying.”
This focus on digital is just one of the causes of failure that is described in the eGuide. Others include:
- Internal conflict of interest
- Lack of clarity or vision
- Heavy internal focus
- Lack of confidence or knowledge
Involving customers can help organisation avoid some of these issues.
Digital Transformation or Digitization?
What I believe is at the heart of the issue is organisations saying, or thinking they are pursuing a digital transformation strategy when in fact they are simply digitizing. Whether large or small, local or global, there are organisations that are late to the digital party who are now playing catch up. For many, their top priority is moving previously offline processes to an online delivery mechanism. and they do this under the guise of ‘digital transformation’.
So is this a problem? From a commercial perspective I can absolutely see why organisations want to migrate to lower cost digital alternatives if they haven’t already done so. And also, that investors will punish those that drag their heels in this endeavor. But playing catch up is not a digital strategy that will differentiate or create meaningful user experiences.
In the past years I have seen a number of forms transfer to online delivery mechanisms with barely any research carried out. Where customers were involved it was generally in usability testing the prototype or final product. In every case the opportunity to place these digital assets in the customers holistic mental model has been entirely missed, and with it the opportunity to differentiate.
For example, business finance applications often sit in isolation from the day to day business banking set up. But what if customers want these integrated into their daily banking, connected to their Salesforce workflow for signatories and stored in their Sharepoint system. They may not of course but without involving them through design research we will never know,
Early stage research at the discovery stage, identifies customers mental models. With this information, digital teams can think beyond the single vertical ‘form’ they have been tasked with migrating and instead consider the context within which that form lives from a customer perspective. By involving customers they can turn their digitization into true digital transformation.