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What is digital transformation and how can it improve my business?

Chris Wicks, Chief Client Officer
Posted in: Design, Strategy, User Experience

It’s unsurprising given that 74% of organisations consider digital transformation a top priority, digital transformation is often talked about as a vital part of today’s business landscape. But what exactly is it? 

Often the challenge businesses face is that they have the latest tech stack, but they don’t know how best to maximise their capabilities. Rather than changing the technologies that a business uses, digital transformation centres on a cultural and attitudinal shift across the workforce. By challenging the traditional way of doing things, and disrupting the norm, companies make the best of the technology they already have. Through a personalised programme of upskilling, staff can improve customer experience and improve efficiencies across the business.  

What’s the point of transformation?  

To understand why digital transformation is needed, you first need to understand Martecs law. This principle states that while changes in technology happen very quickly, changes in organisations are much slower, therefore over time, the gap becomes quite significant between the digital experience customers expect and the one that businesses provide them. 

Customer expectations continue to evolve, and by giving them the experience they demand you can improve loyalty and stand out from your competitors 

Image credit: Scott Brinker, Martec’s Law principle

What’s the difference between digital transformation and digital optimisation? 

It might be better not to think of digital transformation and digital optimisation as two separate approaches, but rather two different stages of the same approach. Whether your business should be undergoing optimisation or transformation depends on where you are in your journey related to Martec’s law. Once this gap has begun to close (usually achieved through digital transformation) then the optimisation phase can begin. 

It’s worth considering if businesses can afford to focus on optimisation when they haven’t assessed their need for transformation. Yes, optimisation will make them more efficient, but it won’t close the gap between their current offering and customer expectations. 

What’s the impact? 

Digital transformation leads to considerable and often disruptive changes, including adopting new business models, introducing innovative products and services, and redefining customer experiences and engagement strategies.  

It’s a long-term journey, and while some benefits can be seen early on in the process, it takes time to effect change and reach the overall goal. Businesses need to go into a digital transformation knowing that this is a venture that can take several years and involve multiple phases. Ultimately, digital transformation requires a bespoke approach for each business as there is simply no one-size-fits-all solution that can be provided, so the length of the project will very much depend on your individual needs.  

Migrating to a cloud-based solution, for example, can help employees collaborate and quickly scale to support a growing business. However, this is a lengthy process, and companies need to be willing to invest time, not just money.  

Is it time for my business to start digital transformation? 

To answer this question, businesses need to have an accurate assessment of where they stand as an organisation against their customer expectations, their competitors and inspirational brands outside of their normal sphere of influence. You need to be honest with yourself about this, and sometimes an unbiased outside source is the best help with this research.  

You also need an understanding of the appetite for change within the company. While Digital Transformation must ultimately be a C-suite lead initiative, it needs backing across every part of the business. It will be delivered by people working within these areas every day so their buy-in is vital. 

You can reach out to us to discuss your business’ needs and start your digital transformation journey today. 

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