Where are you in your Digital Transformation?
In today’s accelerated digital universe people avoid meetings and phone calls because they take too much time. Digital communication is preferred because shorter is better.
Three capabilities are critical to fully transform your company to "digital first":
- Customer Experience - Companies like Amazon have redefined expectations for experience in B2C this is now the bar for B2B. Giving customers a powerful self-service environment is a “must have” not a “nice to have”.
- Company Agility – Operational excellence and speed is one of the most important competitive advantages in sales. Old fashioned email, phone calls, silos inside and outside the company must be replaced with a digital process that knows no borders.
- Change Intelligence – The digital world is built to change – often. This world requires that businesses go beyond collecting big data. Instead each process must be self aware and predictive to keep pace.
The Digital Disruption has changed: 1) How your customers want to interact with you in the front office 2) The speed in the back office that is required to remain competitive 3) The awareness and decision velocity needed to adapt to changes in the marketplace.
Eight Questions to Determine Where you are in your Digital Transformation
- Do you have a map of your customer journeys? The irony is that making these journeys digital usually saves time and money for both you and your customer. (If yes give yourself 1 Customer Experience Point)
- Do you have a map of all the human touch involved in back office sales transactions? Momentum in the marketplace is tied to your ability to harness your workforce to address goals quickly. Digital Platforms that take over basic tasks inside and outside your enterprise free up workers to address more meaningful work. (If yes give yourself 1 Agility Point)
- Do you have a rich self service advisors instead of a simple eCatalog? Buyers want a site that solves real business problems and optimize according to TCO or ROI. They want to enter requirements and have advisements on solutions. (If yes give yourself 1 Customer Experience Point)
- Do you have digital processes replacing your Outsourcing and Offshoring for sales? Simple offshoring of rules based repetitive tasks cannot offer the cost savings and scale as digital workers. (If yes give yourself 1 Agility Point)
- Do you have a way of quickly monitoring your digital activities and making decisions? Metrics provide an opportunity to tune and change and measure improvement of the digital pathways you build in your business.
- Do you have a culture that understands that Digital Transformation isn’t a matter of IF but WHEN? Metrics aren’t collected to determine IF Digital transformation is a choice for business but HOW well you have transformed your business.
- Do you have an independent digital team empowered to act? Digital Transformations across the globe are lead by independent teams that can move faster than the classic business. They have independent budgets, teams and decision making authority.
- Do you have a history of leveraging platforms instead of a culture of NIH and in-house built automation? The digital era will not be built with classic automation. Instead you need access to more advanced platforms that incorporate expert systems and predictive intelligence.
If you have answered NO to any of these questions you could accelerate your digital transformation with outside help. Even in areas that you have answered YES its critical to realize that digital transformation is a journey of continuous improvement. Working with outside companies can get you through digital transformation more quickly and effectively than trying to do everything in-house.
The digital world is about constant experimentation and innovation. Trying new things and quickly seeing what works and what doesn’t.
The future digital business era requires that you put the customer experience at the center of everything you do. Many companies are scared to change and want to continue business as usual. But these B2B companies will realize what many B2C companies discovered too late about the necessity of digital transformation. Taking no action is the riskiest decision of all.
Here are some questions to consider based on your answers to the questions above. If you answered NO to:
6-8 Questions (low awareness and low action): Ask yourself why you and your company are taking little or no action at this time. The root cause of inaction could be that you:
- Mistakenly believe that Digital Transformation is an IT project. Instead give responsibility to a Business Owner and focus on customer journeys through your digital front door first. IT has typically been slow to adopt new technologies including cloud and mobile. The line of business is the best place to drive Digital Transformation as it has little to do with IT and everything to do with the customer.
- Think that you are no worse off than your competition and can wait. The danger today is that your competition can be someone you never noticed before. Just ask Hotels with Airbnb, Taxi cab companies with Uber and Retail with Amazon. Don’t fool yourself for a minute that Amazon may not be considering to compete more in the B2B space.
- Want to move forward but your company is too siloed to move. Ideal owners are your business owners and the owner of your website (Marketing or eCommerce).
- Lack the inside talent and experience to drive this effort. Focus on the customer and administrative sales processes first. Then bring in an outside advisor
- Have insufficient budget. Unlike IT and CRM projects costing millions Digital Transformation run by the line of business can be the same cost as 1-2 full time equivalents.
3-5 Questions (some awareness and some action): Ask yourself how long your customers and shareholders will wait for you to deliver a properly managed and modern sales experience. Do you want to be playing defense when you fall behind your peers or do you want to be playing offense? Digital Transformation is both an opportunity and a threat. The opportunity is to grow sales while significantly increasing profits as there is little or no overhead required. Instead you are enabling the existing employees to address higher value tasks and higher volume at a fraction of the expense.
0-2 Questions (both awareness and action): Ask your customers if they like what you are building and changing. Ultimately it is only their voice that matters.
Regardless of your score you may want to read our blog “Why you need to bring in a Trusted Advisor Now for your Digital Transformation Initiatives”
To find out what quadrant you fit into in the graph above count the number of Customer Experience points and Agility points above and see where you fit:
|0||0||Lower Left||Business as Usual|
|1||0||Lack Agility Road map and have not taken any action|
|2||0||Upper Left||Great customer experience but lack Agility Insight and action|
|0||1||Lack Customer Experience Road map and have not taken any action|
|1||1||Middle||You have identified targets but have not taken action|
|2||1||Almost a Digital Transformation Standout must improve agility|
|0||2||Lower Right||Poor customer experience but agile back office|
|1||2||Almost a Standout must improve customer experience|
|2||2||Upper Right||Digital Transformation Standout|
Have I forgotten anything? Please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.