Everyone talks about digital transformation… but this topic is too broad

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JANUARY, 2019

By Salvator Vella, François Delvaux

As written in our last blog in December, there is no safe harbour to shield businesses from the growing importance and new behaviours of modern buyers (especially in B2B), and the threats from new digitally-native companies that have pure digitally driven business models. The historical size of an existing company (be it size of employees, sales force,  customer base, size of portfolio or revenues)  is no longer enough to protect a company in the future. All the big market leaders are having to adapt to the emerging force of modern buyers, digital trends and new challengers in their markets.

Digital disruption affects the core business at its edge in the early days and nibbles away parts of the business until the ‘tipping point’ where  a company faces a big erosion and if it does not react fast enough will face rapid loss of its customers or even end up with bankruptcy at the end of this process.

Today’s B2B customers are also become much more demanding and assertive – thanks to the availability of information, social media networks and connected communities. We call these the ‘modern buyers’ –  B2B customers and prospects who expect more from their traditional suppliers  and that have as reference the same frictionless user experience as they get as consumers from the GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple).

Digital transformation classified as an IT project will fail

Digital transformation that are internally focused or where the transformation framed internally within the organization as an IT project is generally doomed to fail – why because as an IT centric initiative often fails to bring the necessary ‘outside in’ view and change across the organization. Companies still fail to put customers at the heart of their digital transformation.

A transformation can’t be achieved just by a new mobile app or by a chatbot built on top of an existing business process that was designed years ago or by a new ERP. Accelerating a traditional business processes without ensuring it improves the customer experience does not drive the desired impact. This path is daunting because the impact goes far beyond the limits of the IT department.

“The words ‘Digital transformation’ used today means everything and nothing”

Digital transformation should not be confused with concepts as Digitization or Digitalization:
  • Digitization is the conversion of analog and physical information to digital format (for example user manual).
  • Digitalization is the use of digital technologies to enable or improve current business models and processes.

It is quite clear that digitization and digitalization often predate digital transformation, but they are far from being sufficient.Today companies use the term digital transformation too often and too broadly.  As said earlier it is not because a business implemented a new technology tool internally nor by naming a digital officer that the business can claim a digital transformation.

Customer centric digital transformation is more relevant

At Minds&More we believe that the term digital transformation is far too broad. We think that is should be about realizing a customer centric digital evolution for a business. Companies should start from the outside in (and not vice versa), map buyer journeys, experiences and value needs – to guide this evolution. Leverage digital enablers to help to innovate, bring new offers, and evolve the purchasing/usage process and overall customer experience.

If the digital investments does not positively enhance the customer interactions, improve customer experience or bring additional value (economic or emotional) to customers – then the company will not get the desired business impact. Customers need to be at the core of digital transformation or customer centric digital evolutions. Ideally start by mapping the buyer journeys of a customer segment, seeing where there are customer paint points, unmet needs and using digital enablers to address these pain points or ‘wow’ experiences. The approach can be gradual – addressing pain points one at a time and getting quick wins as enablers put in place. Deploying enablers keeping in mind adapting how people work, and the processes to support the desired activities to be done. We see customer centric strategies working well with our clients be it in the construction/building materials sector, insurance, travel payment and expense management.

A customer centric digital evolutions means looking at the problem from different lenses

  1. The customer experience lens (every stage of interactions)
  2. The solution lens (beyond your product – what in place to solve the need)
  3. The channel lens (where and how they buy). For each lens determining how digital can help and support more relevance for the segments and customers a business serves or can attract in the future.

How Minds&More can help you to get started?

Minds&More help companies in their diagnostic, development, pilot and expansion of customer driven digital initiatives to better sell and serve modern buyers to grow the business.

We can provide pragmatic and flexible services covering:

  • Diagnostics of current situation
  • Introduction to a customer centric strategy (keynote, info sessions, energize the organization on customer centricity)
  • Channel mapping and segment identification
  • Mapping buyer journeys per segment and identify pain points and areas to focus on
  • Align teams on common goals and roadmap to help a company evolve to a more customer centric approach
  • Pilot readiness
  • Execution support
  • Deployment of sales enablement (processes, training, coaching, integrate digital, learning management)

We have extensive experience and via our advisory team and interim managers we co-create with our clients and help implement a customer centric digital roadmap to evolve the business, achieve positive customer impact and deliver business growth.

François Delvaux

Partner at Minds&More

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