Digital transformation: building frictionless digital ecosystems of people and technology
- Digital transformation
November 10, 2022 |
6 min read
- Digital transformation
Digital transformation is being called "a necessity" to business success today but how effectively are organizations responding to that?
In a digital transformation, customers are the ultimate winners or losers. Organizations either help them use technology to solve a problem, or don’t. The businesses that get digital transformation right are those that spend more time focusing outward on end users and customers rather than inward.
When the view is skewed inwardly, businesses make assumptions about what customers want and end up delivering “solutions” that miss the mark.
Also, the “bright, shiny object syndrome” – where companies prioritize technology rather than customer benefit – is not the place to start with digital transformation.
It’s not just about purchasing and implementing a new technology, which often improves some part of the organization. That technology must solve a real problem and improve the customer experience.
Defining digital transformation
In talking to technology leaders, I’ve heard a few definitions for digital transformation:
- Aligning, merging, or replacing existing traditional business processes with more efficient technology solutions
- Creating more efficient ways of working for staff and more optimized services for end users
- Re-imagining the customer experience with technology.
To be clear, digital transformation is not about taking paper documents and making them electronic. Whatever your definition, customers need to be part of the equation.
The problem for many organizations is having the commitment to see digital transformation through to a conclusion; transformation is a difficult endeavour and it’s easy to give up on the change midway through. Without executive support and resources and the discipline to achieve the digital transformation vision, organizations run the risk of only seeing some of the benefits they expect and wind up with only small pockets of excellence.
Friction in digital ecosystems
Friction in a digital experience is anything that makes a technology product or service clunky or difficult to use – too many steps, lag time or a process that doesn’t make sense.
When bringing several digital solutions together, friction could mean having to sign into different systems or finding any part of the end-to-end experience difficult to navigate.
For example, we have a client that tended to address short-term problems by purchasing technology and wound up with four different systems for staff to book travel, making it a painful and time-consuming experience for users. Having a more strategic approach to technology and the overall digital ecosystem can help solve and avoid these kinds of challenges in the first place. Further, service management as a discipline can help us figure out which problems we’re trying to solve for our customers and end users and how to bring people along with us on the journey.
Engaging people with digital transformation
How can organizations ensure their people are fully engaged with digital transformation initiatives?
People want to contribute to something meaningful and communicating the “why” behind a digital transformation, not just the “what”, is essential to drive engagement.
Organizational Change Management (OCM) is also vital in helping people understand and embrace change. ITIL 4 focuses on this human element and introduces OCM concepts in a way IT professionals may not have seen before. OCM is a critical piece of any transformation and should be included throughout a change initiative, not solely at the end.
Skills, knowledge and frameworks for digital transformation
Soft skills – not just strong technical skills – like having a customer-focused mindset, customer service and Relationship Management skills, critical thinking and problem solving skills, and overall curiosity are essential in supporting any digital transformation. These soft skills – otherwise known today as “power skills’ – make us better in working as part of an IT team, within our wider organization and help us build stronger relationships with our customers.
It’s also helpful for those of us involved in a digital transformation to understand modern ways of working, namely, DevSecOps, ITIL 4, Agile, and Lean. The important element is having a blend of skills and knowledge: as each framework brings with it different tools and techniques and helps us solve slightly different problems, for example Lean helps us look for places we can remove wasteful activities and streamline how we work, Agile helps us deliver high quality products and services in collaboration with our customers and ITIL 4 provides a foundation for operational excellence, supported by our ability to effectively manage change, elevate the service desk experience and maintain control around our critical infrastructure – to name a few.