Digital transformation can be confusing. If a company has all its books and records maintained by computers, isn’t it already digital? If it has a functional web presence and even conducts business transactions via an integrated B2B or B2C portal, doesn’t that qualify as digital?
While these scenarios do, in fact, involve the digitization of information, they miss key components of digital transformation. As the technology evolved, businesses incorporated new tools into their existing processes, reaping the benefits of greater productivity, reduced costs, and faster execution. However, the basic structure and processes of the businesses still did not fully leverage all that technology could deliver.
For example, when customer contact centers were upgraded to accommodate online inquiries, many were not reimagined to provide the optimal, proactive experience. Customers today expect 24×7/always-on customer experience through mobile and social media channels. Web portals and mobile applications often fail to provide the rich, consistent, transactional capabilities desired by computer-savvy Millennials and post-Millennials. Spreadsheet-centric back-office functions, albeit faster, continue to follow the mainframe and paper-based processes.
The Need for A Fresh Perspective
Digital transformation requires a fresh look at the way customers see and interact with a firm, across whichever channel they choose. It requires a rethinking of work processes throughout an organization. This means leveraging available technological innovations while securing information in compliance with GDPR and other regulations.
Most firms choose to focus their digital transformation on the visible customer-facing aspects, at least as their initial priority. The prioritization is well-founded when considering the importance of optimizing the customer experience. It is also important because of the potential negative impacts of falling behind competitors.
Transforming a firm’s core functions will result in a complementary set of benefits, including:
- Real-time pricing, product availability, and logistical data to augment the customer experience
- Predictive analytics and data visualization tools for finance, customer, and product profitability
- An increased focus on data management that yields more accurate and timely management decisions
Some firms extend their digital transformation program to include workforce enablement and operational/organizational agility.