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Digital Transformation: It’s a journey, not a destination

Digital-Transformation-Logo-FinalYou have probably heard this statement before—“it’s a journey, not a destination,” and chalked it up to a simple cliché. But the drive toward digital transformation mirrors this statement.

Digital transformation does not occur in a day or a month and it is not only front-end but includes all of the back-end solutions and integration strategies that are far reaching inside your company. It is a journey that impacts every area of the organization from vision and strategy to architecture, technology, operations, and culture.

We sat down with Michael Porter, Managing Principal with Perficient who explains how, in 2016, it is more important than ever to be able to effectively engage customers at every touch point in the customer experience life-cycle and over time, build the capabilities to support your customers in the best way possible. Read the rest of this post »

What Separates Digital Transformation Leaders from Laggards?

shutterstock_204774604_350We all know it’s a time of rapid change for businesses – the number of articles on digital transformation and rationale for change are in the news constantly.

B2B and B2C companies are realizing that embarking on strategic, transformational change, where all focus is around the customer, is not an option. It is a necessity to be a successful company. Yet, the digital transformation initiative is creating wider gaps between leaders and the laggards and there are some predictions that this gap is widening.

Companies that are focused on modernizing the systems that create, deliver and sustain the customer experience extend far into the enterprise. And, successful companies are more agile and have a solid vision, strategy architecture, technology, and culture to transform their organizations. However, just as many companies are successful, there are some companies that struggle with the magnitude of change that they face.

On Thursday, Feb 11 at 1:00 CT, special guest Nigel Fenwick a vice president and principal analyst covering digital business strategy with Forrester Research, Inc. and our own digital transformation strategist, Michel Porter will discuss common barriers to digital transformation and provide insight for how to overcome them. Read the rest of this post »

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Where to Start With Digital Transformation

shutterstock_204059086_300Not all of our Digital Transformation content resides on this blog. Marin Richeson has a DT blog post over in our Life Sciences blog on where to start with Digital Transformation. It has a life sciences flavor, of course, but you can easily translate to any industry.

Journey mapping connects the dots from your customer’s initial interaction with your brand, through their entire experience with your brand via multiple channels (e.g., website, mobile app, phone call, direct mail coupon), to their choices related to your brand and the reasons why. 

In life sciences, customer groups include clinical subjects, investigators, site personnel, customers/patients, physicians, employees, research partners, regulatory agencies, and more. Because customer journey maps are not one-size-fits-all, each customer group (and, possibly, sub-groups within each group) requires its own journey mapping effort.

#NRF16: Uncover What Customers Value, Deliver Reliable Experience

shutterstock_337108367_350Focus on what your customer wants, for they are all that truly matters. But let’s come back to that.

Spending time at the National Retail Federation’s 2016 annual convention meant exposure to a staggering collection of gadgetry, hardware, technology, and an impressive gathering of some of the retail industry’s greatest thought leaders. Whether the goal of the NRF attendees was to come away with new ways to improve operational efficiency, leverage technology to connect to their customers, or gain insight from their peers, everyone can agree that the primary mission is to enhance buyer’s experience with their store and brand. That never changes.

Herein lies the challenge that I will present to you. In the past six months, how often have you read or heard of retailers driving one or more of the following key initiatives?

  • Apps to enable mobile commerce
  • Marketing and remarketing initiatives to push relevant offers to targets via mobile and online
  • Virtual dressing rooms or similar in-store product technology
  • Reaching Millennials through branding and technology enablement
  • Buying online with in-store pickup
  • Providing self-service kiosks or check outs

Read the rest of this post »

Integration Strategy in a Digital World

shutterstock_247334917_350In the report CIO Call to Action: Shake Up Your Integration Strategy to Enable Digital Transformation Gartner says, “Most CIOs have yet to recognize that their traditional, established integration strategy cannot cope with digitization’s fast technology innovation and accelerated pace of business.”

IT integration competency centers  (ICC) and the software they use grew out of the complex requirements of Enterprise Application Integration (EAI). But with the movement to Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and then Application Program Interfaces (APIs), integration requirements have shifted to lightweight architecture and a self-service delivery model.

Many companies have not adjusted their integration strategy and are struggling to keep up with current integration requirements such as APIs for mobility and SaaS integration.

In the report referenced above Gartner recommends:

  • Make the re-envisioning of your integration strategy a top priority…
  • Encourage and enable DIY integration …
  • Design-for-interoperability approach by pushing an API-first style…
  • Build up, incrementally, a hybrid integration platform (HIP) … for integration specialists, LOB developers and business users in a self-service fashion.
  • Select integration providers for your HIP pragmatically … incumbent integration providers may not be ready …

Read the rest of this post »

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Establishing Best Practices for API Architecture and Standards

shutterstock_264200807_350A strong approach to API development is one that is driven by business value and objectives and governed by reference architecture and standards. It is common for companies to develop sets of APIs for point projects only to find that after years of project-based development, they have hundreds of APIs built with little commonality and a great deal of redundancy.

Great success has come from building API strategy and standards based on SOA concepts and approaches. For example, having some governance around the creation of API standards and checkpoints within the development process to look for strategic value, potential reuse and to ensure standards-based development.

The following is an API Assessment to better align your API strategy with your business goals to determine the proper level of investment in API standards and processes:
Read the rest of this post »

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Starbucks serves up wise words on digital transformation

Starbucks LogoStarbucks did not invent the coffeehouse. It only appears that way.

The 44-year-old retailer and cultural touchstone that turned ordering a latte into a social statement grew fastest between 1987 and 2007, when it averaged two new stores daily. Then the Great Recession hit, people started cutting cappuccinos from their budgets as a first line of fiscal defense, and the Starbucks mermaid logo seemed destined to sink down to where other mermaids live.

But a funny thing happened: it didn’t. In fact, during fiscal 2015, Starbucks expanded by 7 percent in the United States, and global revenue surged 17 percent to $19.2 billion.

So, what happened?

According to a recent article in ZDNet, the green mermaid kept swimming due to its commitment to digital transformation.

“By anticipating and beginning to invest many years ahead of the mobile technology curve, Starbucks today is defining … mobile and retail experiences of the future,” Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings conference call.

ZDNet reviewed Starbucks’ recent transformation efforts and compiled a brief list of key takeaways every company should consider in their own digital transformations. Among them: Read the rest of this post »

Importance of Marketing in Business Growth & Cultural Migration

Argyle_Ex_ForumI’m at the Argyle Executive CMO Forum in Atlanta. They focus on best practices in B2B marketing and have some great topics and content. This session focused on strategic marketing and cultural change. Jones Lang LaSalle speakers had some great success thinking strategically:

Who

Ray Bouley, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications was interviewed about changes at Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).

Mike Sivewright, marketing director and president of the Atlanta region, participated.

Question: What were you looking for at JLL for your change?

Answer: We had just brought in a $650M acquisition. The Atlanta office lacked a local identity and cultural. Historically, JLL hasn’t done a lot of advertising or external branding. The marketing department was a production shop with almost no PR, communication, etc. JLL needed to create a vision to unite everyone to move forward. Finally, we needed to create a local culture and communicate it.

Note: Coming to a large global organization meant running a company within a company. It was progress over perfection. Ray was used to trying for perfection.

Question: What did you do to set yourselves up for success?

Answer: First, I had to get to know key leadership. Then we needed to figure out the global goals.  Then take the things we needed to accomplish over a three-year cycle. You had to figure out the core objectives when it comes to localization of the brand. I didn’t know how to identify the culture because of my limited time at JLL. But in a short period of time, we realized there was a lack of articulation about the brand.

Mike: We spent a lot of time figure out what we wanted, to be the preeminent business realty firm in the southeast

Ray: The brand existed. That was a given. We just didn’t define and articulate it internally. We weren’t in a good place at that point. We took some time to talk to a lot of people and defined the goals.   This was great because it helped drive the marketing strategy.  We were doing all of this before we went to the external market. Read the rest of this post »

Don’t Underestimate Employees and Culture in Your Transformation

shutterstock_174539255_350I’ve come to the conclusion that digital transformation is like peeling an onion. There are so many layers and pieces. You have to get a lot of pieces right including:

  1. Customer Insight
  2. Strategy: no transformation can work if your fundamental business strategy is a failure
  3. Design processes
  4. Enabling technologies (admittedly huge)
  5. Measurement
  6. Operations
  7. Culture

I want to focus on the culture component. Many times I’ve been at a client and talking about what we could do to truly make a difference in a great customer experience, more productive employees, well positioned partners, etc. More than once, I’ve received the following as an answer:

We can’t do that. Our leadership/employees/culture won’t allow it.

In other words, if you want to do anything that includes the word, “transformation,” then you absolutely must focus on the culture. You must focus on creating institutions and structures that allow for change to happen. Think of common activities that will happen in a a typical digital transformation roadmap. Read the rest of this post »

Customer Experience and Banking: The Need for Digital

shutterstock_307813265_300I attended a great session at Dreamforce where GE Money and Webster Bank talked about their digital transformations. It’s a good view into how our digital world and ever-increasing expectations impact every industry.

Banks must adapt or die in a digital world – Financial Times August 2015

The whole banking model is changing beneath our feet. Banks must take the valued knowledge of a customer 30-40 years ago in a branch model and translate it to digital.

What’s interesting is that for a long time, when I heard banking and digital, the focus was on transactions. While I wouldn’t mind seeing my bank balance, paying bills, and transferring money; that left a lot to be desired.  What these guys got was that expectations are rising and businesses need to keep up.  It’s worth visiting.

Posted in News