Technology needs to get out the way of digital transformation – here’s why

Greg Gatherer, Account Manager, Liferay. Photo: Supplied

Greg Gatherer, Account Manager, Liferay. Photo: Supplied

Published Sep 11, 2021


By Greg Gatherer

Most companies today understand the need for digital transformation, but it can be all too easy to mistake digital transformation for simply adopting and implementing technology.

Additionally, legacy back-end systems (and the cost to replace them) can hold companies back from making future-focused decisions, or changes that will improve the customer experience.

Real digital transformation is about shifting mindsets across the organisation, rather than just forcing technology on people. By taking the latter approach, organisations risk missing out on the biggest benefit of digital transformation – improved customer experience.

A study by Kony Inc, covering digital transformation across a number of verticals, found that despite nearly $5 trillion (about R70 trillion) in overall investment, only one in five consumers reported any significant improvement in the experiences received.

Knowing that, how can organisations ensure that technology doesn’t stand in the way of digital transformation?

People must inform the digital transformation strategy

One way is to ensure that the correct professionals are involved in the digital transformation process from the outset. Internally, the digital transformation team must include representatives from all divisions who actively contribute to customer brand engagement. The deciding factor to success is for them to be cognisant of functions which were never initially considered to achieve a great customer experience.

Alongside CX experts, customers also need to be deeply entrenched in the digital transformation process. Customers are, after all, the best source of information and can add considerable value in schooling brands on ways in which they should improve their business offerings.

Get the data right

Another important action is for organisations to ensure that they are making the most of the data they have on hand already.

So much of digital transformation, specifically when it comes to enhancing the customer experience, relies on intelligently leveraging available data. Despite being such an often overlooked but crucial component, this is often where transformation efforts get stuck.

A key requirement for successful digital transformation efforts is the search for the “single view of the customer” – this is the holy grail of customer experience, which has sadly eluded even the most successful companies due to siloed business structures and disparate data stores.

Some organisations get so fixated on achieving this single view, that it eventually eats up the entire digital transformation budget.

Technology as an enabler

The best way to ensure that this doesn’t happen is for organisations to use technology as an enabler of digital transformation, rather than assuming that digital transformation will happen because they’ve invested in technology.

As such, choosing the right enabling technology is critical. A Digital Experience Platform (DXP), for example, allows businesses to digitise business operations, deliver a consistent customer experience across all channels and gather insights on customers. It does this by simplifying the integration of digital tools, enhancing self-service capabilities, and improving collaboration and knowledge sharing.

That simplicity makes it much easier for organisations to focus on making digital transformation part of the company’s culture, rather than an obligation.

Additionally, the data insights provided by a DXP make it easier to ensure that a company’s customer base gets the right message, at the right time, through the right channel. These insights not only ensure that customers are more likely to make a purchase, but also that they’ll remain loyal to the company and advocate for it among their peers.

Buy-in and better CX

By taking an approach which places people, culture, and customer experience at the heart of digital transformation, organisations can ensure digital transformation initiatives achieve their objectives. It’s crucial however, for them to recognise that technology should be used as an enabler of digital transformation and that its implementation is not the end-goal.

It’s also important that they recognise that digital transformation is an ongoing process. This makes choosing the right enabling technologies, which can grow and adapt with the organisation, even more critical.

In combination, the right approach to digital transformation and the right technologies will create a better customer experience and, in time, result in organisations reaping serious rewards.

Greg Gatherer, account manager, Liferay

*The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL or of title sites


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