Discover how digital transformation can make your organisation more profitable, productive and customer-centric – and how a digital transformation consultancy can help you.
Learn more with the knowledge, insights and examples in these helpful articles.
What does digital transformation really mean?
Find out what digital transformation is, how it helps you improve business processes – and why it is now so vital for your organisation.
Digital transformation is now so frequently discussed in business circles that it can seem like something of a buzzword. However, it truly is one of the most vital imperatives for any organisation today, in order to be efficient, innovative and competitive.
But what do we actually mean by digital transformation?
In the most literal sense, the ‘digital’ part refers to information that has been ‘digitised’ – encoded as a string of binary ones and zeros. The digitised information can be numbers, text or even multimedia such as audio and video. This digital data can then be stored and manipulated electronically by computers and other technologies – opening a world of new possibilities.
The rise of digital transformation
Digital computers have been a mainstay of most businesses for decades, and the majority of business information is now digitised as files, databases, emails and so on. In recent years, the term ‘digital’ has come to refer more generally to technology-enabled business activities –particularly over the internet. Businesses began to refer to ‘digital marketing’ (via websites and email) and ‘digital sales’ (or e-commerce).
But despite these digital developments, most everyday business processes have stayed largely manual. To do their jobs, employees send and receive emails, write reports, update spreadsheets, and perform other manual tasks.
This is where the ‘transformation’ comes in. Digital transformation (sometimes called digitalisation) is about changing actual business processes themselves – to harness the full potential of digital technology.
While it may start with a single business process, digital transformation encompasses the integration of digital technology into all areas of your organisation. This will fundamentally change your business operations and how you deliver value to customers.
On a higher level, digital transformation is about driving a cultural change in your organisation – where you constantly challenge the way things are, experiment with new ways of working – and learn valuable insights from your setbacks and successes.
Digitising business processes around user and customer needs
The act of digitising a business process is about more than just ‘going paperless’ or communicating with your team online. It means applying the capabilities of digital technology to every aspect of that process – and how it serves the user or customer.
Customer-centricity and user-focus should be at the heart of how you reimagine your processes for digital. You should rethink how to benefit the customer and then realign the value delivery processes with technology – to answer customer needs in the best possible way.
To get started, you first need to fully understand the process in question – because you can’t transform what is not properly understood. Process mapping is the act of documenting each step in a process, and the flow of information between these steps – and then representing this in a clear visual form, such as a flowchart.
Then you can identify which steps and information flows have not yet been fully digitised. These may still involve paper documents or manual data entry. Converting the entire process to a digital form enables immediate benefits in terms of your ability to accelerate actions and search for information – but the transformation doesn’t stop there.
Next, with the whole process digitised, you can use technology to automate manual tasks wherever possible – with dramatic improvements to speed and efficiency.
Digital transformation is not a one-time change. Once in a digital form, the process becomes easier to adjust and refine – enabling an iterative cycle of business improvement. When processes are digital, you can use cloud technologies to improve their cost-efficiency, scalability, agility and customer-centricity.
Creating new digital business processes
Digital transformation is not only about digitising your existing ways of working. You can also completely reinvent business processes – or create entirely new ones that were not previously possible.
You should now think in terms of what the objectives of your processes actually are. With this view, you can create new and better digital processes to achieve these goals – not just attempt to recreate existing manual processes in digital form. For example, you can give users and customers self-service analytics tools to help them gain new insights about how they use your services – or provide smart actionable recommendations using AI to help them meet their needs in quicker and easier ways.
To identify good candidates for new or transformed processes, check that it can be fully digitised, can be well-defined and is repeatable. Your new process should add business value at each step, and be flexible enough to adapt to future change and ongoing improvement.
Changing operations to digital
As digital transformation rolls out across your business, you move towards changing all your organisation’s operations to digital processes.
For this level of transformation, your organisation’s leaders must be fully on-board and believe in the benefits of digital. As these changes will affect the fundamental operation and culture of the business, they must be driven from the top of the organisation.
To achieve success, you must have a clear and realistic picture of the customer needs, impacts and benefits of transformation.
The use of intelligent digital automation is already being taken up within enterprise IT departments. IT operations using artificial intelligence and machine learning help organisations to keep up with the scale, speed and diversity of their digital activity and data.
From manual steps to algorithms
As already mentioned, a key aspect of digital transformation is the ability to start replacing manual steps in your business processes with algorithms. In other words, to automate the steps, rather than requiring a person to undertake that action.
The algorithm could be relatively simple, such as based on a numerical formula or logical rule. For example, if an invoice is over a certain value, route it to the appropriate person for approval. Or it could be a more complex step that requires some level of machine learning.
Machine learning (ML) also has great potential to improve the efficiency of business processes. By automatically analysing and learning from available data, ML systems can identify better ways to achieve the process objectives.
Enhancing decisions with data
Digital transformation enables your business to support, augment and enhance human decision making with data and analytics.
Information is the vital fuel for your decision-makers. Previously much of this information was often hard to access, locked in paper reports, stored in spreadsheets or siloed in databases.
Digital transformation is about consolidating information as digital data and making it accessible to the decision-makers who need it.
But data alone is not enough. You need to be able to interpret that data in a meaningful form to support business insights and decisions.
For this reason, another key aspect of digital transformation is to enable intelligent analytics, data visualisations and interactive dashboards. These give your decision-makers a clearer overview of the situation, helping them make the optimum choice.
Transforming to a tech organisation
The long-term objective of all this is transforming your organisation to become a ‘technology organisation’. This does not mean that your business will change its industry sector – but rather that it embraces the advantages and methods of digital technology at every level.
This organisation-wide transformation has already moved ahead in recent years, partly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With a large portion of the workforce continuing to work remotely using digital tools, organisations have realised there is ‘no going back’ on this aspect of digital transformation.
Organisations in all sectors and industries are learning from pioneering tech companies like Google, Amazon and Netflix. One lesson is that old business models can be disrupted and subverted overnight by new customer-centric digital offerings. Another lesson is around the tremendous efficiency, scalability, agility and innovation that tech companies have unlocked.
Through digital transformation, your organisation can also gain these benefits – and be a competitive data-driven business ready for the future.
What is the purpose of digital transformation?
Understand the purpose of digital transformation, and how it helps you create new value for your business, employees and customers.
Digital transformation is seen by most organisations today as a vital activity. But why do they undertake a business change that can seem so challenging and demanding? Here are some key reasons that form the purpose of many digital transformation programmes.
Generating new revenue streams
Through digital transformation, you can generate new revenue streams from your data, products, services and expertise.
Organisations leading the way in digital transformation are enjoying twice the revenue growth of other companies, according to recent research. These companies are achieving higher profit-margin growth by taking advantage of technology to launch products and services with new digital business models. These enable a business to operate with dramatically different cost structures.
Other contributors to revenue growth include the ability to automate many of your manual internal processes to be more efficient, migrating to powerful cloud technologies, and providing multi-channel customer self-service.
Digital transformation also enables revenue streams that weren’t possible before. For example, you can create a modern application programming interface (API) to sell your data or services to customers and other businesses. The API economy enables businesses to avoid having to develop their own tech services – by paying to use pre-existing APIs available online. You can then reap the benefits of transformation by charging for use of your own APIs.
Reducing operational costs
With digital transformation, you can reduce costs across your business in a range of ways.
You can minimise costly human errors in your business processes through automation – and reduce machine and employee downtime to avoid costly missed deadlines. You can also use relevant data to negotiate cheaper prices with your suppliers. Your business can save on personnel costs by automating HR processes like recruitment and onboarding.
By implementing software that enables data ingestion from across the business in real time, you can make more informed decisions to reduce costs. With cloud technology, your data can be securely hosted and managed at a much lower cost than with traditional physical IT infrastructure and datacentres.
The cost-saving possibilities of smart connected devices becomes accessible to your digital business. By connecting to the Internet of Things (IoT), you can gather new streams of device sensor data for analytics. This enables more efficient operation of processes and equipment to help cut energy costs. Using predictive maintenance also keeps equipment and systems running efficiently and reduces emergency repair costs.
Other cost-saving opportunities from digital transformation include improving the management of inventory. reducing travel costs with digital collaboration tools –and enabling more efficient payments and collections for real-time financial control.
Boosting employees productivity
Digital transformation can improve employee productivity in the workplace and beyond.
New digitised processes, services and collaboration tools help your staff be more empowered and engaged. You can build a digital business culture combining people, technology, and best practice. Moving forward, you can increase efficiency, improve performance, grow productivity, and enhance the working environment for your employees.
For a more collaborative organisation, you need to equip your people with the right digital processes and tools. You can consolidate data silos, and enable alignment and cooperation across all your teams. Automation of digitised tasks makes processes run faster and more efficiently, with less stress on employees.
Digital transformation can bring more effective project management to your organisation. Rather than using generic project tracking software, teams can manage their projects with tailored systems in real time with more detailed status metrics and delivery estimates.
As all organisations discovered during the pandemic, remote working is now an essential business capability. Along with this, organisations also need digital transformation to enable real-time visibility and effective management of the remote workforce.
Enhancing user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX)
When it comes to providing great experiences, the expectations of your business are much higher today than ever before. In B2B and enterprise organisations, this applies to your customers and your employees. They expect high-quality, delightful experiences – whether they are doing business with you or working for you.
Digital transformation can help you give your employees the digital tools and processes they need to be more productive, reduce stress – and work from anywhere.
With digital transformation, you can help your customers enjoy seamless multi-channel engagements with you that deliver on your brand promise.
You can also better focus on your customer’s needs – adapting your offerings and touchpoints accordingly. You can view the customer journey with new clarity, to see where things may be going wrong – and take action to improve the experience.
What are the main areas of digital transformation?
Explore the key areas of digital transformation for your organisation, and how each delivers business benefits and value.
Digital transformation is a priority for most organisations today, and it is a multifaceted activity, affecting many different aspects of your business. Let’s examine some of the main areas of digital transformation.
Data is the lifeblood of digital technology. A vital goal of digital transformation is to take the information that exists across your business, and make it accessible and usable wherever it is needed, in order to create new value. By having all your business information available as data, you then enable all the other opportunities of digital transformation to increase efficiency, generate analytics insights, enhance decision-making, improve experiences, and drive new revenues.
For this reason, a fundamental aspect of digital transformation is conversion of data to available and useful forms.
First, data within your organisation must be located in a process of data discovery and mapping. This involves identifying and understanding the data and its source format, with the aid of data profiling tools. You can then determine how to translate this data into the desired destination format. This data will typically be found in siloed storage – but to be widely useful it needs to be transferred into a more accessible location, such as a data warehouse or cloud-based platform. This action of moving and converting data is sometimes referred to as an ETL (extract, transfer, load) process.
Once consolidated in a shared repository, your data can more easily be managed going forward, refined in quality, and processed to extract business value.
Customer experience transformation
Customer experience (CX) has come to be recognised as a key competitive differentiator for your business. If you provide a sub-optimal and disconnected experience, your customers will soon become dissatisfied – and turn to your competitors that better meet their needs with a more seamless and frictionless CX.
Digital transformation enables your organisation to drive CX improvement and stay competitive in a fast-changing market. This can involve enabling changes to your operations, data and technology infrastructure and customer touchpoints.
To provide exceptional omnichannel customer experiences, your organisation needs a shared technology stack built around microservices and APIs. This enables you to provide seamless customer experiences – which integrates your digital and physical services with an omnichannel contact platform for automated voice, chat, and email management.
Digital technology and improved data access can give you a clear understanding of your customers across their full life cycle, Monitoring and understanding each step in the customer journey gives you a better view of any problems – and the insights to make continuous improvements to your CX.
Employee experience transformation
The pandemic has already forced organisations to digitally transform the way their employees work, particularly in the area of remote working. This has highlighted the importance of digital transformation in improving the employee experience – in terms of supporting and retaining talented people, and helping them be more productive.
Employee experience (EX) considers every aspect of how your people interact with your organisation as they do their work.
Having to work with outdated and inefficient systems is a major cause of employee dissatisfaction and reduced productivity. Through digital transformation, you can give your employees access to the right tools and technology to do their jobs more easily and effectively.
You can use digital technology to build employee training and development opportunities into the working day. This empowers employees to fulfil their career aspirations – and gives you a more skilled and effective workforce.
Providing greater work flexibility is ever more vital, as employees move between remote working from home and at the office, in a hybrid model. This requires effective digital collaboration, communication, planning, scheduling and resource management tools. The resulting improvements in work-life balance can raise employee satisfaction and increase productivity.
Organisations implement digital transformation to drive foundational change in operations, optimise internal resources, and provide greater value to customers. A proven way to facilitate this is to transition from a reliance on on-premises technology to increased use of cloud computing – including public, private, and hybrid cloud platforms.
Cloud technologies do more than help you reduce costs on in-house infrastructure. Cloud provides the foundation for your organisation’s operations to be more agile, efficient, scalable and collaborative. It gives you the flexibility to create or modify business processes quickly and easily, improve customer experience, and adapt to changing business and market demands.
Existing legacy technology environments are unable to cope with the changes required for digital transformation, and struggle with the data volume and velocity needed for advanced analytics. Moving data and processing to the cloud overcomes these restrictions.
Cloud transformation demands new ways of thinking about business operations and an evolution of your corporate culture. It enables increased business agility, innovation and resilience. By building cloud processes from reusable and composable components, you can scale the benefits rapidly across your organisation.
Cloud helps you bring new capabilities, products and services to market faster – and to automate the release of new code into production many times each day. You gain the baked-in security features of a modern cloud platform. You can also leverage the ecosystem of pre-built cloud services, providing capabilities such as AI, machine learning and big data analytics – to accelerate innovation for your own offerings.
In a modern enterprise organisation, software development and operations are vital to enable business processes, products and services. Digital transformation helps you improve this by providing the ideal environment and tools for DevOps.
As adopted by most tech-enabled organisations today, DevOps is a set of practices, methodologies and tools that combines software development (“Dev”) and IT operations (“Ops”).
It aims to improve the way an organisation delivers and runs software applications and services. With DevOps, you can build and improve digital products faster and more efficiently than businesses using traditional processes. This velocity and quality helps your organisation serve customers better and be more competitive in the market.
In the DevOps model, development and operations teams work together – often in a unified team with overlapping skillsets. DevOps engineers work across the full application lifecycle, and may also integrate with quality assurance and security teams.
DevOps is often used in harmony with Agile practices, such as regular phased sprints that deliver incremental improvements and value.
DevOps teams use digital tools to accelerate and automate working processes, helping them build, run and improve applications quickly and reliably.
Product and service transformation
The original impact of digital technology was on existing physical products and conventional business services. This would be in terms of digital marketing via email or the web, and supporting sales via e-commerce websites. Amazon’s online retailing of physical goods is the archetype of this business model.
But now, digital transformation of your organisation enables a complete rethink of the products and services you offer to your customers – and how you deliver them.
This could involve selling a familiar product or content in a new digital format. Again, Amazon pioneered an example of this by selling digitised ebooks in its Kindle store. Similarly, Apple popularised online digital music sales with iTunes – and when network speeds improved sufficiently, Netflix was able to do the same with streaming movies and TV shows.
Increasingly, all kinds of organisations are using technology to enable digital access to their services – from online banking to food deliveries.
Digital transformation enables organisations to deliver their products and services via mobile apps, so customers can engage anywhere and anytime. Companies can connect multiple digital capabilities to create new products and services. In this way, Uber combined the power of location-aware mobile devices with data analytics for pricing and demand management to create its ride-hailing service.
Sometimes digital transformation will create an unforeseen and unprecedented product or service. Again, Amazon is exemplary here with its AWS cloud platform – initially created for its own operational requirements, before becoming a customer-facing business generating billions annually.
With digital transformation, your organisation has the opportunity to examine its own strengths and resources – and move ahead with innovative new products and services for a digital era. You can experiment with new ideas and collaborations in an agile and creative way. De ready to ‘fail fast’ and learn from those that may not work out – so you can build future successes, developing new revenue streams and expanding into new markets.
What is digital transformation consulting?
Discover what digital transformation consulting is, and how a consultancy can help on your digital transformation journey.
Digital transformation consulting can be a valuable service to your organisation when seeking to implement digital change and technology modernisation. A consultancy can provide the expertise to advise you on your digital transformation – and the skilled team to help you implement it.
An expert digital transformation consultancy will:
Bring a customer centric view into the transformation programme.
Collaborate with your systems integrators and other partners to ensure the best possible CX.
Provide clarity and unity for the transformation initiative.
Design the best possible customer journey.
Identify all your user or customer touchpoints and what enables them.
Consult on best practices for design and engineering in an agile delivery context.
Below, we examine more of the specific ways that digital transformation consulting can help you.
Generating consensus on the vision for digital transformation
Your digital vision describes from a technology perspective what you want your business to be. A consultancy can help you define and agree a forward-looking digital vision – one that provides a detailed picture of your organisation’s desired future state, as enabled by technology. It sets out what challenges you will solve for customers, and how they will engage with your products and services. The consultancy will help you envision how your teams can embrace new ways of working – and how your business will operate in a digital era.
A consultancy can help you build vital consensus on your digital vision among internal stakeholders across your organisation. This may include C-suite executives, departmental leaders, team managers, and the wider workforce. Your consultancy will help you ensure that your stakeholders become enthusiastic enablers of digital transformation, rather than resentful blockers to progress.
Your consultancy will help stakeholders to understand that your digital transformation is not just an IT initiative. It is a business-critical activity that involves and benefits them – together with every other person and function in the organisation. Achieving this consensus may seem like a major effort in the short-term – but cross-organisational collaboration will make the longer-term transformation much more achievable and successful.
Your consultancy will help you understand what motivates your stakeholders, and what they want from digital transformation. They can also help you prioritise stakeholders in terms of their influence on the success of the transformation. To support consensus further, your consultancy can furnish you with hard data and evidence for the benefits of your digital transformation – overcoming stakeholder objections based on personal opinions or reluctance to change.
The consultancy will help you maintain ongoing communication with stakeholders, potentially by involving them in strategic working groups – so they stay aligned and in the loop on the transformation process.
Understanding the opportunities and challenges for digital transformation
As experts in digital transformation, your consultancy can help you recognise the opportunities to drive technology-enabled change across your organisation – a vital activity today to be efficient, innovative and competitive. It’s about reimagining your business processes and customer experiences to harness the full potential of digital technology, cloud and data.
But they also understand that the transformation process will not always be easy. They can help you identify and prepare for challenges and problems before you encounter them – and avoid blockers to success.
Your digital transformation may start with a single process, product or service. Over time, the consultancy can help you to grow the benefits by extending the seamless integration of digital technology into all areas of your organisation. This will fundamentally change your business operations and how you deliver value to customers.
Helping you understand the art of the possible
On a higher level, your consultancy can help you use digital transformation to drive cultural change in your organisation – and master the digital ‘art of the possible’. With the power of digital, you can rethink the way things are done, experiment with new ways of working, and gain new value and insights from your data.
A consultancy can help your organisation with its longer-term transformation – to embrace the advantages and methods of digital technology at every level. With much of the workforce continuing to work remotely using digital tools, your consultancy can help your organisation stay ahead of this wave of change.
As old business models are disrupted and subverted by new customer-centric digital offerings, your consultancy can help you stay relevant, innovative and competitive. They will help you realise the efficiency, scalability and agility that world-leading tech companies have unlocked. Through digital transformation, your organisation can also gain these benefits – and be a data-driven business ready for the future.
Communicating trade-offs between different choices
During your digital transformation, you will be faced by many choices with different trade-offs – such as whether to buy off-the-shelf solutions or build your own from scratch.
Your digital transformation consultancy can provide expert evaluation and recommendations on these decisions. They can advise on all aspects of your digital architecture, running a discovery audit and technology assessment process – focused on helping you make the right choices. They can provide confidence on whether to build versus buy for each element or product, consulting with you on the trade-offs and relative risks before execution starts.
For each option, they will assess and apply due diligence on its desirability, feasibility and viability. They will consider potential pivots that might be required in the future, and take into account your time-to-market requirements.
Infusing your organisation with technical capabilities and leadership
A digital transformation consultancy can help you drive a more effective change process – with unified strategic leadership, digital design and engineering capabilities.
In conventional digital transformation programmes, the user experience tends to suffer because designers don’t understand engineering – and solution integrators can’t design. By contrast, a good digital transformation consultancy brings digital design and engineering together into a cohesive whole, where it matters most – at the experience layer. They will ensure that you meet the needs of your user or customer –, helping you avoid outcomes which only focus on business processes, or get held back by complex implementation.
They can also help you drive technology modernisation. A key aspect of digital transformation for many established organisations is how to modernise and improve systems. Your consultancy can help you make the best use of your legacy technology without disrupting core platforms. They can also help you drive digital transformation for systems, processes and ways of working – in focused projects or across the wider business.
What is an example of digital transformation consulting?
Explore real-world examples of digital transformation consulting in action – and learn how it helps organisations.
Digital transformation consulting can help organisations gain the expertise, resources and outside perspective to drive success with technological change.
But how does the process work in practice? Here we consider how London-based digital transformation consultancy Elsewhen helped a variety of organisations overcome challenges and exploit new opportunities.
Transforming manual processes to digital
Financial services firm Capitalflow launched in 2016 as a lender to SME businesses in the Irish market. It is positioned as an alternative to the major Irish banks (such as Bank of Ireland and AIB) and has become Ireland’s fastest-growing alternative lender, serving more than 2000 businesses. The company wanted to ascertain the best approach to achieve its growth ambitions – over the next 3–5 years to be Ireland’s leading SME lending provider.
However, the company’s underlying technology infrastructure was holding it back from the next phase of growth. Its lending process was based on a complex mix of manual activities, requiring phone calls, emails, Word files, paper documents, PDFs and spreadsheets. Receiving a customer lending application, assessing this, making a decision and transferring capital could take weeks.
Capitalflow wanted to move away from this disjointed state to a new approach – connecting with their customers digitally end-to-end. They needed to go from manual processes to a digital platform providing a better experience for both customers and staff.
Capitalflow turned to the digital transformation consultancy to help them architect a new streamlined customer journey for lending. The consultancy worked closely with Capitalflow to analyse and determine the key pieces and a new technical architecture that would be needed to achieve its ambitious goals.
The consultancy team mapped out the current business processes and workflows, and conducted over 40 interviews with staff, customers and partners. The team performed a gap analysis of Capitalflow’s existing technology to understand what was required to support growth plans.
The digital transformation consultancy designed the future state of the business platform as a service blueprint. To define a new digital infrastructure, they researched the market to shortlist potential technology providers. They then produced an implementation plan to deliver the digital transformation within a 12-month schedule.
The consultancy gave Capitalflow a complete action-oriented strategy to build its new digital platform. Their approach ensured business continuity and minimise disruption during a safe migration of customers onto the new digital platform.
The technology assessment provided due diligence for the shortlisted vendors: These new digital infrastructure components are connected using modern APIs and algorithms – so processes and decisions can happen in real-time, rather than taking days or weeks.
Capitalflow now has the strategy for a scalable digital platform to improve customer experience, gain greater market share, better identify market opportunities – and roll out new offerings quickly to take advantage of these.
Transforming how companies interact with customers
Global satellite communications business Inmarsat is a leading provider of data connectivity to maritime, aviation and other industries – keeping its customers’ fleets and operations connected, anytime, anywhere around the world.
Recently, Inmarsat wanted to replace its legacy customer ordering and provisioning platform. The user journey did not reflect today’s changing needs. Inmarsat knew they had to make a major business transformation – and provide a digital experience that would put their customer first.
The business engaged the digital transformation consultancy to redesign the entire customer journey that sits on top of Inmarsat’s services. The aim was to create a new consumer-grade digital experience across the end-to-end B2B customer lifecycle.
The consultancy wanted to turn this business problem into an opportunity – to transform the customer journey, from quote through to billing. They identified the need to bring a new self-service portal and provisioning experience to customers worldwide. They worked directly with Inmarsat’s project leads, as a key part of the program board to drive the transformation – and collaborated closely with Inmarsat’s existing systems integrators and PMO partner.
They enabled a shift from a standard technology process-focused environment to a modern customer-centric lens. They helped Inmarsat embrace an iterative design approach, placing the customer point-of-view at the heart of the project.
The consultancy’s digital product designers worked to deliver the end-to-end journey lifecycle in an attractive, simple and highly responsive UI – providing the bridge from the complexity of Inmarsat’s technologies to a clear and simple-to-use consumer-grade digital experience.
Customers also wanted an application programming interface (API) to securely connect their own systems to Inmarsat for seamless ordering and provisioning of connectivity services. The consultancy helped Inmarsat design a new API with the required customer-centric capabilities.
Inmarsat’s new provisioning platform has removed a previous barrier to future revenue streams. Not only is it much simpler for customers to interact with – it is also much easier for Inmarsat to operate, and for its own staff to work with.
The consultancy delivered the benefits of the consumer-grade digital experience that Inmarsat needed to be successful in the eyes of its customers. They also brought to life a purposeful design platform that’s fit for future needs.
Order volumes, processing capability and customer self-service have increased and customer experience is significantly improved. Customers can now buy and provision connectivity in minutes, rather than days or weeks.
Inmarsat estimates the digital transformation has already generated multi-million-pound savings in operating expenses – and radically improved both employee and customer experiences.
Transforming how business value can be derived from data
Following the above engagement, Inmarsat worked with the digital transformation consultancy on a further project. The business wanted to give maritime fleet owners more insights into the performance of their satellite communications. Inmarsat works to keep improving its services to customers – and providing better insights into the connectivity they receive is one way to achieve this.
Previously, if a customer wanted to understand the connectivity performance of its vessels, Inmarsat would have to manually create a report from its various data logs, requiring cost, time and effort.
Inmarsat engaged the digital transformation consultancy to create and deliver a new self-service analytics platform – to help customers understand the performance of the services they use. The consultancy’s design and engineering team worked in synchronisation with Inmarsat’s team. They planned a timeline of development sprints based on agile methodology to achieve the required project milestones efficiently.
The consultancy identified what relevant data existed and where. The team created a new API enabling the platform to access the data it needs for analytics. They also consulted with Inmarsat’s customers to identify which insights would provide the most value.
Alongside this, they designed a range of dashboard visualisations to turn this data into clear insights for customers. They used rapid prototyping to evolve a design solution that would meet customer needs and preferences.
The consultancy delivered a powerful new digital platform that achieved the client’s demanding objectives. Both Inmarsat and its customers were able to see value fast from the deployment of the new solution.
Creating a modern platform and API for visualising connectivity data is enabling Inmarsat to unlock new value for its customers. The anticipated follow-on benefits for Inmarsat include a reduction in manual work to resolve customer connectivity queries, as well as improved customer satisfaction, loyalty and revenue.
The dashboard helps Inmarsat demonstrate to customers that they are getting a good service and value for money. Fleet owners can see at a glance where each of their vessels has travelled, the connectivity it has experienced, and what airtime was being used for.
The implementation of this new product has enabled Inmarsat to hit a number of its strategic targets. As well as reducing the burden on Inmarsat’s customer support team, the new platform has enabled its sales team to prove Inmarsat’s contract value and ROI to new prospects and existing customers.
Launching new digital propositions leveraging organisational assets
A leading independent private equity firm also engaged the digital transformation consultancy on a project. The firm works to build a portfolio of high-growth, sustainable businesses that deliver a compelling proposition – supporting them with expertise and capital to drive growth.
Recently, the firm identified the potential for a new digital service, targeted at SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises). While large enterprise organisations are offered a wide range of financial services to help them manage and grow their assets, few providers are willing to offer these services to SMEs, Moreover, there are few solutions that offer SMEs a consolidated view of their bank and accounting data, cash flow forecasting, or services to aid decision-making.
The firm saw the opportunity for a new finance management platform for SMEs, giving a clear end-to-end overview of cash flow – and providing access to a full range of tailored financial services.
The firm brought in the digital transformation consultancy to work on a proof-of-concept to develop a business case and prototype for a new SME-targeted financial platform – in terms of a value proposition, service design and technology strategy.
To build the business case, the consultancy researched market sizing, customer needs, competitor landscape, and possible opportunities. They decided to focus this platform on the financial management needs of larger SMEs with significant turnover, complex cash flow and in-house finance staff.
The consultancy worked closely with the firm, building out a value proposition, service design and user interface concepts – to show that the platform idea had the potential and value to be taken forward to market.
The consultancy’s design team visualised a prototype solution for a digital ‘one-stop-shop’ for SME banking and finance. They also identified, assessed and shortlisted technology partners and financial service providers who could enable the platform's core functionalities.
The consultancy designed and developed a viable proposition to bring to market and evolve with ready customers: They delivered a full proof-of-concept, design and product strategy, as well as a project wiki recording the insights captured during the discovery process, competitor research and user testing:
They defined and designed the minimum viable product (MVP), with the initial core user journeys – based on the identified market needs. The team also developed a complete product brand with an Implementation-ready design system.
The firm was extremely satisfied with the proof-of-concept, design and accompanying branding created for the platform. With a solid business case, they are now equipped to tap into this new opportunity.
From the end-user perspective of SMEs, the new platform will enable them to see their financial future more clearly. They will be able to take action to avoid running out of cash, easily changing a payment date or amount – while gaining access to credit, loans and other tailored financial services at the right time.
What are the common pitfalls of digital transformation consulting?
Discover the most frequent obstacles to digital transformation – and how consulting services can help you overcome them.
Digital transformation programmes are undeniably challenging for any organisation. Many of these initiatives fail because they did not adequately prepare or account for the common pitfalls along the journey.
Organisations with a focus on delivering real technological change often work with a specialist digital transformation consultancy to help them overcome or avoid these problems altogether.
Here we consider the most common pitfalls you may face during digital transformation – and how a consultancy can help you move beyond them and drive real change.
Lack of organisation-wide commitment
You may face a lack of commitment from across the organisation to the required changes. Without this commitment from all necessary participants and stakeholders, your digital transformation efforts will be hard to advance – and may struggle to get off the ground at all.
A digital transformation consultancy can help you gain commitment and buy-in from across the organisation. This must start from the top down – by winning the commitment of C-level executives.
As with other organisational change management initiatives such as mergers and acquisitions, the likelihood of successful outcomes is greatly improved when the CEO and other board leadership are publicly and proactively backing and driving the process. Other levels and functional roles within the organisation will rapidly fall into step with the change when they see this top-level commitment.
Treating technology as a foreign object
You may find that people in your organisation still see technology as an optional tool, separate to the mainstream of business – rather than as a vital and integral part of it.
Digital transformation is especially difficult in more traditional organisations, where technology has been less central to the business. These may have a history of success and low employee turnover. This means employees are only familiar with their existing ways of working, seeing no need for change – and may be actively resistant to integrating technology into their work processes.
Often these organisations will have many disconnected silos of business information, with the legacy technology infrastructure hindering the flow of data across the organisation.
A digital transformation consultancy can help you drive the cultural change that must support technology change. This may involve working with more technology-friendly teams first – to create early successful examples of change that win over more resistant parts of the business.
Lack of stakeholder consensus
You may face a lack of consensus between your different stakeholders on their approach to digital transformation. The process of digital transformation will impact a broad range of organisational roles and functions. As change proceeds, building stakeholder consensus becomes ever more complex.
The data, processes and infrastructure needed for your transformation will reside in multiple domains across the organisation, so gaining stakeholder confidence and alignment is essential. Stakeholders can also contribute valuable specialist strengths from their functional areas, such as project management, financial planning and resourcing.
Achieving this stakeholder consensus may seem like a major effort in the short-term – but cross-organisational collaboration will make the longer-term implementation of your digital transformation much more achievable and successful.
Your consultant will help you understand what motivates your stakeholders, and what they want from digital transformation. They can help you prioritise stakeholders in terms of their influence on the success of the change programme.
They will also understand the importance of involving stakeholders as early as possible in the process to gain their initial buy-in. Stakeholders will value the chance to have a say in the digital transformation discussion.
Cutting corners on the journey
You may discover that people in your organisation want to cut corners on the process of digital transformation. Under pressure to deliver transformation, managers will often seek shortcuts that enable them to do this within constrained timescales and already squeezed budgets.
For example, when faced with a range of project options for software development, organisations will be tempted to choose the lowest-cost route of offshore outsourcing. Although this is initially attractive, it can lead to headaches of project coordination, with work often going far over initial budgets and deadlines. The resulting software can be of low quality and require expensive rewriting.
Successful digital transformation requires expert project management – but again this is an area where organisations often cut corners. By placing transformation under the remit of staff unqualified in project management, projects can quickly spiral out of control – or struggle to build momentum.
Another common corner-cutting area is software testing. In the rush to deliver, teams will be tempted to minimise testing and quality assurance. Yet the cost and impact of catching and fixing a bug during development are minimal – compared with the millions that could be lost if faulty software is deployed into business-critical production.
Your digital transformation consultancy will help people across your organisation see the drawbacks of corner-cutting in terms of business risk and tech debt. They can demonstrate how making the small extra effort to follow best practice will pay you back over time.
Failing to consider future-proofing
You may find that people in your organisation are not considering longevity and future-proofing when it comes to digital transformation.
The act of digital transformation is all about changing an organisation’s business models and ways of working with technology. Yet many organisations forget that while they change, the rest of the world is changing too. They risk building a new digitally-enabled business – and then finding it cannot adapt to future needs a few years later.
Your transformed business may initially be at the cutting edge. But it is a certainty that customer needs will evolve and disruptive new competitors will emerge – leaving you left behind if you cannot adapt to stay ahead.
Similarly, organisations will often fail to consider making their technology scalable for future needs. If it performs well in the initial small-scale environment, they may think that is adequate – and leave challenges of scaling for another day.
Your digital transformation consultancy can help with future-proofing for adaptability and scalability. Simple measures during development can make your technology more future-ready from day one, such as using scalable databases, modular software architecture and flexible cloud platforms.
Using open source technologies will make your software more updatable and modifiable in response to new demands. Using application programming interfaces (APIs) will make it easier for your systems to integrate new capabilities as they evolve, such as big data analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) – maintaining your digital competitiveness
Seeing transformation as an end goal
You may find that people in your organisation consider digital transformation as an end goal – rather than a continuous ongoing process of business improvement. This frequent pitfall of confusing the means with the end is responsible for the poor success rates of many transformation initiatives.
Many organisations seeking to measure the success of digital transformation choose misleading key performance indicators (KPIs). They track metrics relating to the performance of the technology, such as the number of processes digitised, or the number of users onboarded to a new system. By focusing on measuring the digital change only, they miss the point – that the end goal is achieving better strategic business outcomes.
A digital transformation consultancy will help your organisation keep focus on the objectives of transformation, not just the journey.
They will help you identify the right KPIs to measure business value delivered by digital transformation. These can measure how technology has enhanced your ability to grow revenues, reduce costs, meet complex business challenges, innovate new products and services, support distributed workforces, and continuously improve customer experiences.
Lack of sufficient funding
You may face challenges of securing enough funding to ensure the success of digital transformation in your organisation.
Traditional funding models don’t work well in digital transformation projects. These usually focus on achieving a specific business case, based on assumptions about how quickly the organisation will realise a return on investment (ROI). But these assumptions often turn out to be wrong for multi-year digital transformation projects, which will start with many unknowns.
Another problem is that most organisations will plan their budgets for technology investments up to a year in advance – making it hard to fund an agile and adaptive transformation programme. An organisation-wide transformation will also require collaboration, integration and budget reallocation across business and functional units – which will often face objections from those wanting to resist change.
Your digital transformation consultancy can help you find an agile and iterative approach to your funding strategy. This can include starting small, with a phased approach to target quick-win transformation projects that prove their value to your organisation’s leadership. It may involve connecting you with external funding partners in a venture capital approach. They can also help you build a portfolio of funding from multiple departments or business units across your organisation, with a shared ROI that becomes easier to prove.
Lack of leadership technology experience
You may struggle to engage with your organisation’s leadership on digital transformation due to them lacking deep experience in technology.
Many leaders may be supportive of digital transformation – but are not well-equipped to manage a technology change programme. They may have great competence and experience in general business matters – but lack the necessary technology understanding to engage with digital transformation teams, manage stakeholder expectations and overcome resistance to change within the organisation.
If leaders lack technology understanding, they will be unable to properly address the shifts in ways of working, business processes and organisational models that come with digital transformation.
Your digital transformation consultancy can help you bring your leadership up to speed on the key issues and benefits of technology change. They will help you to identify and up-skill leaders with the greatest potential for moving your digital transformation forwards.
Having these skilled leaders in place is vital, as they in turn will grow and recruit new tech-savvy leadership talent to scale out transformation across the business.
Using transformation as “innovation theatre”
You may find that, while your organisation outwardly supports digital transformation, it becomes a kind of “innovation theatre” – with a focus on looking good rather than delivering results.
Most organisations realise they must show they are becoming digitally enabled in order to stay relevant in the eyes of the market. But many of these organisations are also reluctant to embrace all the requirements of true digital transformation – such as long-term commitment and a willingness to experiment with new approaches that may not immediately succeed.
For this reason, organisations often resort to “innovation theatre” – where they create high-profile technology projects that aim to impress opinion-formers, rather than deliver real business outcomes.
These projects are often announced with a fanfare of press and PR activity, filled with mentions of technologies such as artificial intelligence or blockchain. They may announce a joint venture with a disruptive technology partner – in the hope that they will be seen as innovative by association.
Rather than trying to dazzle the world with digital fireworks, your organisation can deliver genuine business value – with the support of your digital transformation consultancy. They can help you avoid wasting time and money on a “flash in the pan” exercise. By narrowing the focus, they can help you identify areas where digital transformation will quickly address a business challenge or better meet customer needs. This will prove to opinion-formers in your organisation and across the market that delivering real-world business value through digital transformation will always make a more positive and lasting impact.
What is the role of design and engineering in digital transformation?
Learn why design and engineering are vital to digital transformation, and how a consultancy can maximise their benefits for your organisation.
Digital product designers and software engineers play an essential role in taking your organisation’s digital transformation from vision to reality. Let’s explore the ways that they make digital change happen – and how working with a digital transformation consultancy can help your organisation get the most value from design and engineering.
Delivering digital transformation for your organisation
In many ways, digital design and engineering can be seen as vital tools in your organisation’s digital transformation toolkit. Through highly complex and creative work, they perform much of the actual transformation of the business processes and experiences. They do the “heavy lifting” required to go from strategic thinking and planning – to bringing real digital empowerment for your employees and customers.
Powered by design and engineering, digital transformation of your organisation enables a complete rethink of the products and services you offer to your customers – and the business processes and tools your employees use.
Your digital transformation consultancy can help you bring out the best from your own designers and engineers – and provide experienced design and engineering personnel to work collaboratively with your existing teams.
Design’s role in digital transformation
Skilled and experienced designers of digital products will help your organisation by providing a fresh and pragmatic perspective on your digital transformation.
They will work quickly and efficiently to design the best possible digital business tools, processes and products – and bring excellence to your digital delivery processes. The right designers can accelerate and elevate your transformation project – whether focusing on a specific aspect, or driving end-to-end delivery.
An expert digital product designer combines the skills of both user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design. Understanding your objectives and desired functionalities, they will research the needs and pain points of your customers or users, and find ways to address them. They map out user journeys and information architecture, determining how people will engage with your digital processes and products.
Working within this UX framework, they develop the detailed ‘look and feel’ of the UI to create an intuitive brand experience. As digital products are dynamic rather than static, the designer also thinks in terms of interaction and dynamic content. Having proficiency in both UI and UX enables the designer to move seamlessly between the broad overview and fine detail of your digital products.
An experienced designer will test and validate the product design approach before software engineering proceeds. They design the interface screens that your users or customers will move through to achieve their objectives – and ensure that the user journey is as intuitive and frictionless as possible.
The designer will then create and test high-fidelity interactive prototypes with users to obtain their feedback. In this way, they shorten feedback loops and can iterate quickly and incrementally. Presenting even a small set of screen designs can make it easier for non-technical stakeholders to imagine a real working product – and provide valuable feedback. This prototyping is also a great vehicle for building positive momentum and buy-in across your organisation.
In summary, an expert digital product designer can bring many valuable capabilities and benefits to your business – helping you to:
Elevate the quality and recognition of product design in your organisation.
Design and deliver whole products or features end-to-end.
Radically increase the speed and quality of delivery.
Remove any barriers from designing products quickly and effectively.
Improve process around design/engineering handoffs.
Introduce and utilise the latest product design methodologies.
Champion a customer-centric and user-focused view.
Stay up-to-date with the latest design technology and tools.
Ensure your product provides the best possible experience for users and customers.
Engineering’s role in digital transformation
Software engineers of all kinds will play an important role in enabling your digital transformation. However, here we will specifically consider engineers involved with developing the new digital business processes and products that your employees and customers will directly engage with.
These digital product engineers may combine front-end engineering with UX expertise, and will collaborate with designers, back-end engineers, product managers and wider digital transformation teams.
Engineers build digital products, processes tools and apps – based on the concepts, prototypes and user research of their designer colleagues.
They will be experts in coding the front-end of digital products, including the UI that users interact with, and the underlying interactions and flow that support the user journey. They will also understand how to integrate this with your core back-end systems and data – to enable productive outcomes and actionable insights.
Collaboration between designers and engineers
To get the most value from design and engineering teams, your consultancy can help them work together in collaboration on your digital transformation.
In a modern software development model, engineers will work collaboratively in small agile teams to deliver regular incremental product improvements.
Expert product designers can also work closely with engineering colleagues in integrated teams to enable end-to-end product delivery capabilities. They understand the fundamental principles and requirements of both design and engineering – so will never propose solutions that cannot be built.
Shared understanding between collaborative designers and engineers makes their team relationships and working processes more agile and efficient, so decisions and actions can be made quickly.
Another way to build strong design-engineering collaboration is through establishing a design system. This comprehensive tool-set of design standards, assets and resources empowers your organisation to manage design and UX engineering efficiently and consistently, with reusable components and clear guidelines.
The design system enables your teams to become more collaborative and create more consistent products. It also accelerates product development – saving money and time on your digital transformation.
Working with stakeholders across your organisation
Digital transformation will not advance if your designers and engineers do not engage with key leaders and decision-makers across your organisation.
A digital transformation consultancy can support your design and engineering team to communicate with your people about the challenges you will solve for customers, and how they will engage with your products and services. They will help your teams envision how to embrace new ways of working – and how your business will operate in the digital environment.
They can help you build vital consensus on your digital transformation among internal stakeholders across your organisation. This may include C-suite executives, departmental leaders, team managers, and the wider workforce. Your consultancy will help you ensure that your stakeholders become enthusiastic enablers of digital transformation, rather than resentful blockers to the process.
Creating experiences that delight users and customers
Expert digital product designers and engineers understand that, when it comes to providing great experiences, the demands on organisations are much higher today than ever before. They know that users expect high-quality, delightful experiences – whether they are customers or employees.
For this reason, the product team will work to help customers enjoy seamless multi-channel engagements with you that deliver on your brand promise. They will also help you give your employees the digital products, tools and processes they need to be more productive, reduce stress – and work from anywhere.
They will help you gain new clarity into the effectiveness of your organisation’s digital experiences – and the capability to continuously improve them.
Releasing digital products early and often
Digital design and engineering teams using agile methods will focus on quickly delivering working products that provide business value to your organisation and customers.
Rather than following a grand long-term plan with a final “big bang” product delivery, their ethos is to release early – and release often. They will prefer fast and frequent releases of functionality, with incremental improvements and continuous optimisation.
Delivering early and frequent releases provides user feedback earlier, so any required “course corrections” can be made sooner during development. Any problems become easier to identify and resolve in these smaller changesets.
Releasing regularly encourages the use of automation to replace repetitive manual tasks, as well as strict version control and configuration management. Large and potentially daunting projects can be split into a series of stages, each delivering specific valuable features. Code-level integrations are simpler, with no long-term development branches and merges required.
With this approach, your designers and engineers can rapidly equip employees and customers with powerful digital products that provide business value from the very first release – delivering on your vision of digital transformation faster.
Why is a customer-centric view important in digital transformation?
Discover why seeing the digital transformation from the customer’s viewpoint is vital for your organisation – and how a digital transformation consultancy can help improve your customer-centricity.
While there are various ways to approach and consider your organisation’s digital transformation, the most important is to view it through a customer-centric lens.
Digital transformation is focused on your customer’s needs, regardless of whether the project is primarily targeting the internal systems, processes or employee productivity.
Let’s consider a number of ways in which a customer-centric approach is vital in digital transformation – and how working with a digital transformation agency can help you put the customer first.
Providing products and services that customers actually want
A common pitfall of digital transformation is to see it as just a way to deliver your organisation’s existing products and services more efficiently. While it can certainly do so, the true potential of digital transformation is to enable you to reimagine your offering – based on an improved understanding of customer needs and preferences.
In their respective markets, Netflix, Spotify and Amazon redefined video, music and retail for a digital era. This was driven by a total focus on giving the customer what they want – based on intelligent use of data about customer behaviour to provide personalised services and recommendations.
In the automotive industry, Tesla’s disruptive business model is built on a real-time understanding of customer behaviours and preferences – enabled by connected sensors and systems in its vehicles feeding data back to the company’s analytics systems.
Your organisation can apply similar methods to evolve your digital transformation and products around the customer. Working with a digital transformation consultancy, you can use customer interviews, focus groups and surveys to guide your initial vision. Customer testing and feedback sessions can further steer transformation around customer needs.
Providing the real-time customised and dynamic services that customers expect also requires advanced technologies for analytics and intelligent algorithms – with an infrastructure that makes the right data available where and when you need it. You need to be able to map and understand complex non-linear customer journeys and buying patterns.
By consolidating and democratising data across your organisation to generate actionable insights, you can be ready to give your customer exactly what they want – at the right time.
Thinking beyond process and technology improvements
When embarking on digital transformation, it’s easy to end up reinventing the wheel – by simply digitising your existing business processes. At the other extreme, some organisations get so carried away by the technical possibilities that they build a state-of-the-art solution – without checking if customers actually need it. These problems come from thinking in a business-focused way.
To be customer-centric in the digital age, you should think of your organisation as a part of the customer’s digital ecosystem. Your consultancy can help to flip the viewpoint around and understand that it has competitors too.
With this role reversal, your organisation can start to think in terms of how they can provide more benefit to the customer – and become an increasingly important and valued part of the customer’s world.
Creating a delightful customer experience
It’s increasingly accepted in business thinking that the most important factor for customers in their perception of you is the quality of the experience you provide to them. Improving the customer experience (CX) is therefore rightly becoming a central consideration for digital transformation.
Today, customers are challenging your organisation to give them an outstanding experience in all their interactions with you – and your consultancy can help you meet this challenge.
Great customer experience is not simply about providing good customer service. It’s also more than the user experience (UX) in an individual app or website. It's about providing a consistent, seamless and personalised experience at the right time – across all the touchpoints the customer has with you.
Your digital transformation consultancy can help you ensure great CX – by enabling data integration across customer service, sales, marketing, operations, logistics, and all the other facets of your business they engage with.
Customer-centric digital transformation in action
Here’s a real-world example of how one organisation implemented customer-centric digital transformation with the help of an expert partner.
Recently, global satellite communications business Inmarsat worked with digital transformation consultancy Elsewhen on a project to create new customer value with data analytics technology. The company is a leading provider of data connectivity to maritime, aviation and other industries – keeping its customers’ fleets and operations connected, anytime, anywhere around the world.
Inmarsat wanted to give maritime fleet owners more customer insights into the performance of their satellite communications. The company strives to keep improving its services to customers through digital transformation – and providing better insights into the connectivity they receive is one way to achieve this.
Previously, if a customer wanted to understand the connectivity performance for its vessels, Inmarsat would have to manually create a report from its various data logs, requiring cost, time and effort.
Giving customers a self-service digital platform
Inmarsat engaged the digital consultancy to create and deliver a new self-service analytics platform – to help customers understand the performance of the services they use. The consultancy’s design and engineering team worked in synchronisation with Inmarsat’s team. They planned a timeline of development sprints based on agile methodology to achieve the required project milestones efficiently.
The consultancy identified what relevant data existed and where. The team created a new API enabling the platform to access the data it needs for analytics. They also consulted with Inmarsat’s customers to identify which insights would provide the most value.
Alongside this, they designed a range of dashboard visualisations to turn this data into clear insights for customers. They used rapid prototyping to evolve a design solution that would meet customer needs and preferences – and provide the best customer experience.
Delivering better customer experience and value
The consultancy delivered a powerful new digital platform that achieved the client’s demanding objectives. Both Inmarsat and its customers were able to see value fast from the deployment of the new solution.
Creating a modern platform and API for visualising connectivity data is enabling Inmarsat to unlock new value for its customers. The anticipated benefit for its customers is that it decreases their need for manual connectivity queries, and will increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and revenue.
How can digital transformation services deliver best-in-class enterprise CX?
Learn why improving customer experience is central to digital transformation – and how an expert consultancy can help you.
Delivering an outstanding customer experience (CX) is increasingly recognised as being vital for any organisation – and should therefore be at the heart of all your digital transformation initiatives.
CX is now seen as a key competitive differentiator for your business. With digital transformation, you can help your customers enjoy seamless multi-channel engagements with you that deliver on your brand promise.
Digital transformation enables your organisation to drive CX improvement and stay competitive in a fast-changing market. This can involve enabling changes to your operations, data and technology infrastructure and customer touchpoints.
When it comes to providing great experiences, the expectations on your business are much higher today than ever before. In B2B and enterprise organisations, this applies to your customers and your employees. They expect high-quality, delightful experiences – whether they are doing business with you or working for you.
If you provide a sub-optimal and disconnected experience, your customers will soon become dissatisfied – and turn to your competitors that better meet their needs with a more seamless and frictionless CX.
The challenges of providing a great CX mean that many organisations choose to work with an expert partner – such as a specialist digital transformation consultancy. Let’s explore some of the ways that a consultancy can help you achieve best-in-class CX.
Focusing on the customer and their needs
Your organisation’s digital transformation must be based on how it enables you to better meet the needs of your customers. For a B2B organisation, this can mean your external business customers. But it can also include your internal customers – employees that use the digital workplace tools and processes you provide.
Your consultancy can help you improve CX by focusing on your customer’s needs – adapting your offerings and touchpoints accordingly. You can view the customer journey with new clarity, to see where things may be going wrong – and take action to improve the experience.
Understanding the needs of customers and users can be challenging. Your consultancy can help you build a clear picture of these needs, through quantitative and qualitative research, interviews and surveys of users and customers.
The consultancy may begin with a period of immersion in the user or customer environment to observe their needs, challenges and pain points at first-hand. They give you valuable outside perspective on the real needs, helping you see with a user-focused and customer-centric lens.
They will collect, collate and analyse data and feedback from these customer engagements, synthesising them into actionable insights that will inform your CX development.
On a continuing basis, digital technology and improved data access can give you a clear understanding of your customers across their full life cycle. Monitoring and understanding each step in the customer journey gives you a better view of any problems – and the insights to make continuous improvements to your CX.
Driving for best-in-class CX rather than corner-cutting
The journey to outstanding CX will not be the easiest or lowest in cost – but it will deliver the greatest return on investment. Your consultancy can help you understand and communicate the benefits of going the extra mile in your digital transformation.
To provide exceptional customer experience, your organisation may need a shared technology stack built around microservices and APIs. This enables you to provide seamless customer experiences – which can integrate your digital and physical services with an omnichannel contact platform for automated voice, chat, and email management.
You may face challenges of securing enough funding to ensure the success of CX transformation in your organisation. Traditional funding models don’t work well in digital transformation projects. These models usually focus on achieving a specific business case, based on assumptions about how quickly the organisation will realise a return on investment (ROI). But these assumptions often turn out to be wrong for multi-year digital transformation projects, which will start with many unknowns.
Your consultancy can help you find an agile and iterative approach to your funding strategy. This can include starting small, with a phased approach to target quick-win transformation projects that prove their CX value to your organisation’s leadership. It may involve connecting you with external funding partners in a venture capital approach. They can also help you build a portfolio of funding from multiple departments or business units across your organisation, with a shared ROI that becomes easier to prove.
You may discover that people in your organisation want to cut corners on the process of CX transformation. Under pressure to deliver change, managers will often seek shortcuts that enable them to do this within constrained timescales and already squeezed budgets.
Your consultancy will help people across your organisation see the drawbacks of corner-cutting in terms of business risk and tech debt. They can demonstrate how making the small extra effort to follow best practice will pay you back over time.
Meeting customer expectations with consumer-grade experiences
When it comes to CX, all organisations need to learn from the power of the latest consumer-grade digital experiences that we are all familiar with outside of the workplace. Your consultancy will help you to always remember that business people are consumers too – and will always expect consumer-grade CX.
Companies providing business-to-business (B2B) products and services may believe that ‘consumerisation’ does not apply to them. The same could be imagined about the internal technology tools that organisations use to support their own people.
But the key thing to recall is that in both these situations, you are delivering experiences to humans –all of whom are also consumers, with the same demanding expectations as any other person.
That’s why consumerisation is vitally relevant for today’s enterprise CX. In this context, consumerisation is the reorientation of product and service designs to focus on the end-user as an individual consumer. This is in contrast with traditional organisation-oriented offerings – where the personal user experience was not given much attention.
Today, business customers will rightly expect all their providers to offer the same quality of digital experience as they would enjoy in their personal life as a consumer.
Moving the technology focus beyond processes and vendors
When embarking on CX transformation, it’s easy to end up reinventing the wheel – by simply digitising your existing business processes. At the other extreme, some organisations get so carried away by the technology possibilities offered by various vendors that they rush to build a state-of-the-art solution – without checking if customers actually need or want it. These problems come from thinking purely in a business-centric way.
Your consultancy can help you approach CX transformation from a customer-centric perspective – by flipping the viewpoint around. Rather than seeing the customer as a user of your business process or technology, you should think of your organisation as just one potential part in the customer’s digital ecosystem. This ecosystem contains not only your direct business rivals, but also countless other entities competing for the customer’s time and attention.
With this role-reversal, your organisation can start to think in terms of how they can provide more CX benefits to the customer – and become an increasingly important and valued part of the customer’s world.
Implementing change that the organisation is willing to embrace
If your organisation and stakeholders are not fully on-board with your CX transformation, you will struggle to make headway.
You may face a lack of commitment from across the organisation to the required changes. Without this commitment from all necessary participants and stakeholders, your digital transformation efforts will be hard to advance – and may fail to get off the ground at all.
Your consultancy can help you gain commitment and buy-in from across the organisation. This must start from the top down – by winning the backing of C-level executives.
The data, processes and infrastructure needed for your CX transformation will reside in multiple domains across the organisation, so gaining stakeholder confidence and alignment is essential. Stakeholders can also contribute valuable specialist strengths from their functional areas, such as project management, financial planning and resourcing.
Your consultant will help you understand what motivates your stakeholders, and what they want from CX transformation. They will also understand the importance of involving stakeholders as early as possible in the process to gain their initial buy-in. Stakeholders will value the chance to have a say in the CX transformation discussion.
Using the right methods and tools for the job
An expert consultancy will apply proven methodologies to identifying customer needs and improving CX– such as the Jobs To Be Done (JTBD) framework. In this system, customer needs are analysed in terms of ‘jobs’ – the objectives or outcomes that a customer wants to achieve. You can then identify the customer needs associated with each objective, and consider how best to meet those needs. This is in contrast to the traditional business approach of starting with your existing products and services – and trying to make customers want them.
Your consultancy can help you segment customers as job executor, benefactor or purchaser to meet their differing needs. They will also help you identify the different types of customer needs – not only core functional needs, but also emotional and financial needs.
This approach enables the consultant to help you identify which needs of your customers are currently unmet – and potentially to find new customers with unmet needs that you are well positioned to serve in future.
They will also use a range of digital tools to develop and design the best CX for your organisation, such as:
Figma – an asynchronous design collaboration platform with powerful plug-ins, and an integrated online whiteboard, FigJam.
Miro – another tool for visual online collaboration.
Notion – an online workspace that provides a great way to build a store of knowledge around a problem area or design challenge to solve.
Dovetail – a customer research knowledge platform, ideal for capturing user insights, and spotting themes and patterns in user research.
Maze – a collaborative product research platform, useful in gathering user feedback quickly to help guide concept creation.
New powerful tools are emerging all the time, so your consultancy will stay abreast of the latest potential additions to their tool-set – in order to keep your CX evolving and improving.
Why should digital transformation services be delivered in an Agile context?
Explore the reasons why Agile software development methods should be central to your organisation’s digital transformation.
Digital transformation of your organisation is a deeply complex, challenging and dynamic activity – so how do you deliver it successfully?
An expert digital transformation consultancy can help you make things run as smoothly as possible, by applying an increasingly prevalent project management methodology – Agile software development.
Delivering transformation by Agile methods
Most digital transformation delivery processes today are run using this Agile methodology. Agile focuses on improving delivery of software – such as digital products and services – through the collaborative work of self-organising and cross-functional teams.
Agile is an iterative approach to software delivery where teams build digital products incrementally – releasing improved versions with each step, rather than working to deliver one final finished version.
Agile’s original focus was on teams of software engineers – but today, product designers and other digital specialists also work highly effectively as integrated members of Agile product delivery teams.
An Agile team – and the engineers and designers within it – will have the following priorities and values
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
Working products over comprehensive documentation.
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.
Responding to change over following a rigid predefined plan.
In other words, an Agile team will work responsively, collaboratively, pragmatically – and with focus on user and customer needs.
Scrum is a popular framework used in agile delivery, in which a project team will have meetings to share their progress and agree what they need to achieve in upcoming sprints for the next release of the product.
Engineers and designers undertake key digital transformation activities within Agile product delivery teams, as they move through regular work cycles or sprints. As well as software development, coding and testing, this will include various design activities – such as concept design for product features and releases, design of elements for the next sprint, design support to engineers for the current sprint, and validation of work on previous sprints.
But what are some of the reasons why digital transformation services should be delivered in an Agile way?
Recognising that no other approach can deliver better results
Many of the potential problems with building software come from the traditional development process. In a conventional linear “waterfall” process, the design and UX team do the bulk of their work first in discovery and design phases. This work is then passed to engineers for development in a one-time handoff – after which revisions to the design become very difficult. Handoff misunderstandings and mistakes are a key reason why many digital products developed using this conventional model fail to meet their objectives.
In a waterfall model, it takes a long time to develop a software product, and it is hard to adapt to changes in requirements – and this is no longer feasible in today’s fast-moving business and customer environments.
The Agile model of software development has been widely adopted in recent years to address these issues. In the Agile methodology, engineers and designers work in small and nimble teams, breaking development into a series of short sprints that deliver incremental advances and improvements. This gives teams the ability to adapt and pivot to changing circumstances and emerging factors. The goal is to quickly and efficiently deliver a working product – rather than cling to an inflexible pre-formed plan.
A digital product design consultancy can help you integrate designers into your Agile development teams. This means that designers and engineers work closely together throughout the product creation process. The problems that can come with a single major handoff are avoided, as handoffs become an ongoing series of small and incremental collaborations. Bringing design and engineering together prevents many typical handoff issues, as you form one strong agile team with a deep shared vision.
Embracing the complexity of digital transformation
Leading technology-enabled organisations have now fully accepted that building the software needed for digital transformation will always be too complex for traditional approaches. They accept that – and they don't fight it.
Demand for accelerated development of advanced software is increasingly the norm. In this respect, Agile delivery helps you meet both customer and business needs.
By adopting Agile methodology, you can gain competitive advantage in a fast-moving business environment. Companies that use Agile development practices can meet growing customer expectations and innovate with new technology, bringing best-in-class digital solutions to market.
With an Agile mindset, your organisation can learn from setbacks. Your teams can embrace complexity, adapt to market changes, drive iterative improvements, strengthen collaborative working – and accelerate delivery of value for customers and the business. Agile helps you positively transform team culture, encourage innovation, and overcome productivity blockages to product delivery.
Seeing beyond the dangerous illusion of long-term control
Modern digital organisations recognise that the illusion of a detailed long-term project plan is dangerous.
It’s natural to think that maintaining strong control based on a predefined plan with fully defined details will achieve better project results.
When faced with an underperforming team or failing process, a typical business reaction is to start "micromanaging". It’s assumed that a sufficiently detailed plan and cost estimate for a project will ensure successful delivery.
But this is not the case for modern software development – and it is not the right way to deliver ongoing customer and business value from digital transformation.
Remember, the real objective of digital transformation efforts is not to “follow the plan” – but to deliver value with every step.
Choosing flexible agility over inflexible rigidity
Leading organisations also see that it is impossible to plan everything in detail for something so complex as digital transformation. It's better to be able to respond fast to circumstances as they emerge. Any plan is just a means to achieve an objective – but if the plan starts leading you in the wrong direction, you need to change it – and fast.
Agile methodology helps development teams embrace and adapt to the inevitable changes they will face – in order to keep moving closer to the real objectives of digital transformation.
By embracing change and having the right Agile team, you can deliver software that provides the value and usability to build powerful user experiences and stronger customer relationships.
Rather than struggling to manage a grand plan, Agile delivery is about breaking down projects into smaller and more manageable parts that are largely self-contained – allowing for change at every stage.
Agile delivery is not about having no plan at all. Rather, it's about making a more efficient plan that is flexible and dynamic enough to adapt to changing factors – and keep your team on course for the true objectives.
Focusing on real customer value over arbitrary deadlines
Working in an Agile way allows teams to concentrate on delighting customers – and not just meeting deadlines set without good reason.
A focus on meeting deadlines and timelines is a central part of the traditional business world. Teams and individual employees are expected to deliver an agreed output by a promised date.
However, working to a predefined scope, set budget and fixed deadline is not a good way to drive effective digital transformation or deliver successful digital products and services – in other words, good outcomes.
Agile delivery can help your organisation move beyond a conventional “output focus” to a more value-driven “outcome focus”. To innovate, teams need purpose and motivation – not the constraint of hard deadlines.
Digital transformation projects are complex and prone to change. Setting deadlines can be a natural attempt to bring some sense of concrete certainty to the process. Hitting the target date becomes a project goal. The focus shifts to delivering an output, not a good outcome – and the ability to respond to change is seriously reduced.
Agile development helps you focus on outcomes by improving team engagement. When your team’s engagement level increases, motivation and performance follow. Agile delivery builds team engagement by promoting autonomy, encouraging mastery of skills, and creating shared purpose.
Rather than accepting deadlines from stakeholders, an Agile team will focus on solving the specific need – and getting the stakeholder involved in that process. Instead of deadlines for digital transformation, an Agile-thinking organisation will set meaningful objectives. They will use evidence to guide the journey to desirable goals – focusing effort on delivering better outcomes for the business and its customers.
Attracting the best talent to your team
To successfully deliver digital transformation, your organisation needs the right skilled people. The truth is that these talented people want to work in a modern Agile team environment – not antiquated waterfall-based projects.
Agile teams are self-organised and self-managed – with greater autonomy over their own decisions and actions. This makes them highly motivated to deliver better results in development projects. Any problems, blockers or issues are identified and discussed in daily scrum sessions – to aid swift resolution and ensure streamlined product development.
The Agile working environment is also more enjoyable for team members than traditional project approaches. People can discuss the best actions to advance the project, and have the autonomy to make and act on their own decisions.
Your people will find that an Agile team is a much more inspiring and rewarding work environment – since it encourages their active participation and collaboration in delivering better outcomes from digital transformation.