POINT OF VIEW
Digital Transformation is the Answer to Life the Universe and Everything
Everyone is talking about Digital Transformation and the term is now so overused that it has lost its meaning. The IT industry has a track record for picking a trend and flogging it to death. Examples are many, including eBusiness, Service Oriented Architecture, Digital Transformation, API Economy and now AI.
All great initiatives that have delivered value and improved the art of the possible, given us a new way of thinking about the world and our challenges. Digital Transformation is no different. It is a term that is intended to make us stop and think, to try to create a new situation that is not simply and extension of today’s reality.
For Responsiv, Digital Transformation means improving the experience of our customers and staff, increasing productivity and efficiency, and creating opportunities for innovative products and services that will be the norm tomorrow.
Our approach is to place technology, and a multi-channel architecture, at the centre of our business. Departments and sales channels then extend in all directions to deliver specialist experiences and capabilities. This is a change for companies have traditionally considered technology as a way to solve individual problems in a disparate and stove piped manner.
The result is a consistent business platform that can be quickly adapted to new challenges, and to be extended to deliver benefits of scale, and exploit new opportunities. Customers see the same data regardless of their choice of device or access, data is protected in a consistent and predictable way.
A seamless engagement across whatever channel the customer or member of staff wish to use.
Within our own organisations we are trying to move everyone towards higher value tasks and away from the mundane high manual effort low value activities as demonstrated in the as-is and to-be charts for local government below:
Digital transformation releases employees to focus on high value tasks
Releasing employees to deliver high value tasks makes your organisation more productive, and your employees more engaged. It also assures that the mundane work is accurately delivered when staff change, or the work seems endless.
Digital transformation underpins remarkable customer experiences
Externally, companies are using Digital Transformation to deliver exceptional customer experiences that combine machine learning, artificial intelligence, automation, and innovative use of data. They add the little things, for example intelligent defaults on electronic forms. The rise of companies like Facebook, Apple, Google and particularly Amazon have massively raised the bar in terms of our expectations of commercial interaction in our day to day lives, as a customer, and as a member of staff.
Digital transformation creates challenges for competitors
The most recent “exceptional” customer experience you had is now the benchmark for every customer experience you now have.
Patience is a thing of the past.
If we need to enter our data twice; we get annoyed. If we contact a call centre, or use a chatbot, and the agent does not have the relevant information to hand – we get annoyed.
Today the cost of losing an irritated customer is significant and they are unlikely to return any time soon. What is worse, is when a disgruntled customer shares their frustration on social media.
Digital transformation is a state of mind and really not a big bang
Organisations have long battled with the best approach to adopting a digital first way of working, and how to optimise their application decisions. One way might be to take a single vendor and adopt their strategy; move at their speed and gain the benefits of their other customers.
A single vendor strategy effectively removes the integration headache and can encapsulate each process and its data within the application. The desired effect is that a multi-channel strategy is delivered in a box. The reality is that the desired outcome is hardly ever achieved in practice; perhaps because the actual problems of the business are unique, and the package has been brought together from a number of products assembled by the vendor. The approach also risks preventing change – and the ability to respond to changing objectives and opportunities.
Responsiv believe that the best way is to break the problem into three parts:
- Establish a strategy that can be delivered in stages
- Build a framework that can be populated “just in time”
- Develop modules to add capability
Establish a strategy that can be delivered in stages
The original objectives of a long-term project or strategy can quickly become out of date and irrelevant. A successful long-term strategy needs to be adaptable, and to deliver value early and in regular intervals so that when the objectives change, the value is locked in. The strategy should in essence be Agile.
Digital Transformation is a long-term programme of work that relies on the ability to efficiently deliver new business functionality in easy to develop modules, quickly and cost effectively.
Build a framework that can be populated “just in time”
Build a framework that can be populated “just in time” and provides a trusted set of services and operating environment that accelerates development of new modules. The result is that the business and IT teams can focus on the problem and not be distracted by developing operating models, new standards, and designs for things that are provided by the framework.
Develop modules to add capability
Develop modules to add capability. Each module delivers a specialised functionality and conforms the rules of the framework. Modules combine (think Micro Services) to form arrangements that can be used to deliver different functions of the business.
Packages can be modules too! For example, accounting systems and CRM are well understood, and it is unlikely that your company can design an accounts or CRM product that delivers significantly better agility or function than a package. The functionality is unlikely to be critical to the strategy and unlikely to need changing.
What about the applications that interact with customers and staff? These applications sit between the user and the core systems to deliver the user experience and assemble data and function to provide strategically important services.
Deliver digital transformation in an intelligent and cost-effective way
Develop a strategy, and a technology that allows us you to deliver digital transformation in an agile way, to adopt and use technology from multiple vendors, and to develop your own capabilities efficiently and quickly by assembling from established systems in a consistent framework.
Move humans to higher value tasks, creating a seamless user experience and removing errors from customer journeys.
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Richard Whyte has been building enterprise IT solutions for over 20 years. He is known for creating innovative practical solutions that provide a strong foundation for future development, whilst solving immediate problems. Previously the European CTO and Principal Architect for IBM Systems Middleware at IBM, he has an MBA, a degree in Statistics and Computing, is a Chartered Engineer, a Chartered IT Professional, and Fellow of both the Institute of Technology and the British Computer Society.