Don’t Fall Victim to These 4 Digital Transformation Traps

March 7th, 2019

Every company faces the implications of digital transformation. Whether you offer a physical product, supply a digital entity, or provide a much-needed service, businesses have unequivocally changed, thanks to the wealth of information available today.

If you think about your business from a 10,000 foot view, there are likely many digital changes that would improve your customers’ experiences. Avoiding these common traps is key to ensure any digital projects you undertake best serve your customers and your business.

Trap #1 Not beginning with the goal in mind

Starting a new project because “our customers want it” or “everyone else is doing it” is not a goal. Businesses often fail to truly map out the strategic vision behind what they are trying to accomplish—and the best way to get there.

Thinking about a chat feature for your mobile experience?
While offering a fast and easy interaction with your company, chat is also less personal. If your organization is built around customer service and creating relationships with your clients, chat might not be the best choice.

If you haven’t defined your strategic vision at the organizational level and then brought that down to what it means to digital, you might just be adding a feature without understanding its true value (or lack thereof) in helping to achieve those larger goals.

Trap #2 Not starting small

A project that aims to digitize a huge portion of your business or accomplish many different tasks can be extremely time-consuming and expensive. As a result, this may leave the leadership team to put it off until next quarter, “when we have more time” (not to mention budget). But waiting could mean never starting, leaving competitors to blow past you, stealing valuable market share.

Instead, choose one small element you can digitize effectively. Build a prototype for a new idea or create a microsite that handles one small portion of your business. These smaller projects are often easier to fit into your timeline and budget, providing value and an improved customer experience through concept refinement and iteration.

Too often we’ve seen companies choose to undertake a nine-month project without smaller, iterative sprints every month. In the end, both approaches take a full nine months to complete the project—but the team that chooses iterative releases has the opportunity to pivot based on real-world feedback.

An iterative approach can shift priorities as end users provide insight on what they truly need during development. The company that waits until the project is finished to show customers risks finding out that it doesn’t meet their needs once it’s all over.

Trap #3 Not involving internal stakeholders

Innovation shouldn’t be a top-down process. Often those who interact with customers or build products have the best ideas about how the business can grow and improve because it’s what they do everyday.

As the process kicks off, bring in the folks on the front-line to help poke holes in your vision.  They will quickly recognize gaps.  You can leverage them during journey mapping and in creating user stories during the early stages of MVP development.

While you dictate the vision and roadmap, internal teams should be heavily involved in new digital projects to build what your customers really want and need.

Trap #4 Not utilizing your resources appropriately

There are more resources available today than ever before, providing opportunities for innovation that didn’t exist even five years ago. But internal teams are busy and infrastructures are often increasingly complicated and cumbersome.

Internal staff already have a backlog of items waiting in their queue.  As various departments look at innovation, the ability to scale internally becomes untenable.  Innovation requires speed and quick iterations to prove value.  If your “innovation” project is scheduled to start in 6 months, you need to explore other options.

Consider how you can use external resources and partners to simplify and expedite the process of building a new offering. You can always iterate, creating an initial version and using data to improve, based on what your customers really want—while your base team focuses on their core responsibilities.  Once you’ve proven value, internal staff can take over future iterations.

Next Steps

There are so many opportunities available to businesses today—and they will only continue to grow. Make sure you avoid these traps as you navigate your digital transformation to improve your offerings and better support your customers and your business.

If you have questions about the digital transformation and how it’s impacting your business, we’re here to help. Fill out our contact form below and we’re happy to talk shop about all things digital.

Jason King

As President of Accella, Jason provides strategic vision towards growing a multi-faceted agency with a focus on helping clients understand how digital transformation impacts their organization on a daily basis.

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