What is Digital Transformation? The ‘transformation’ part of Digital Transformation implies a ‘from’ and a ‘to’. Where are we transforming from? What are we transforming to?
The problem we first solved for in tech was access. As a business you were required to make your services accessible online. Banking. Retail. Travel. In making services available online some offering enhancements were available and some competition changed. For example, aggregation sites like HipMonk for travel became composite providers, enabling customer to choose best fit to their preferences.
Mobile access brought on even more changes in access by making services available wherever the consumer might be at the moment they think of accessing a product or brand. We were satisfied by the basic enhancements to access compared to what was available previously.
Age of Digital Transformation
Things have shifted, and marketing departments around the world have captured this shift in the phrase ‘digital transformation’. “Become more digital!” they shout, except when they’re wrestling their expense report system, or some other internal process that’s digital but has not yet been transformed.
So, what does it mean to transform a digital experience?
Simple: Digital Transformation is an expression meant to capture the change in the vector of competition from ‘access’ to ‘experience’.
Digital Transformation is about transforming your organization to focus on the experience your ‘stakeholders’ have when dealing with you. As IDC says, Digital Transformation is about becoming ‘customer first’. I prefer ‘stakeholder first’ because that’s the kind of antagonist that I am.
Yeah, this isn’t just about customers. It’s also about employees, partners… everyone that your business touches is going to inform their opinion of your products by the experience they have doing business with you.
You compete for customers, so that’s an obvious outlet for experiential digitization. But, you also compete for employees. And partners. If you deliver a poor experience to employees or partners, they too will find some other company to do business with.
A problem of scale
When you shift the metric of value to experience you end up with a problem of scale.
On one hand, an experience is the juxtaposition of three elements:
- moment in the journey, and
- job to be done.
Pick a persona, find a moment on the customer journey where there’s unnecessary friction, and deeply understand the job that persona is hiring you to do. Then, go out and craft a great experience.
You’re going to solve this problem for a lot of persona, a lot of moments on the journey, and probably for a lot of different jobs that you uncover.
That’s a lot of experiences companies need to create. Unfortunately, these aren’t the only multipliers.
Unlike in the past, you’re also going to have to do it for a lot of different platforms.
The platform informs the experience
The platform is no longer neutral.
In the Windows era of computing, no matter what software you were creating, in the end you could be pretty sure that the customer was running it on a Windows computer.
iOS is not like Android. A Watch is not like a TV (neither of which have a browser).
Why then are apps being developed for each of these platforms as if they were mostly identical?
Write once, run anywhere only makes sense when anywhere is roughly the same platform. But when anywhere could be a 4” screen or a 10” screen, or when ‘anywhere’ has no browser to display a link in a
notification email, you really need to rethink the experience that you’re delivering.
This is a really hard thing for large companies to get their heads around.
It’s going to change the cost equation for the production of software. It has to. And, that means we have to innovate around the software production process.
We can’t simply scale the way we have before – more software equals more developers. That’s a linear model that doesn’t scale especially as we desire to fine-tune experiences for narrower audiences (personas) than ever before. This, by the way, is the opportunity as well – to really empathize with a persona in order to deliver a highly targeted experience that builds trust by the fact that the customer feels completely understood.
Imagine if we depended upon Apple to write every app for the iPhone? it would be really hard for Apple to bring all the developers they’d need in-house. And, should they have tried to do it all, we wouldn’t have a lot of the apps that we’ve come to depend on today.
I would love to teach my children financial responsibility by sitting in the living room, around the TV, and talking them through budgeting. Of course, my banking app doesn’t work – it’s browser based. Yay responsive design, right?
I would love to get notifications, true notifications, from my bank or investing account on my watch. I get emails. Sent at night when the batch process runs instead of in (near) real-time. With links to login via a browser. #FAIL.
Why do enterprises think they can create all the experiences their customers desire in-house, when even Apple and Google cannot?
A new vector for competition
Now that access is table stakes, customer experience has become a new vector for competition.
Development driven by customer experience is going to require changes in the organization that go beyond the tools used to write software. It’s going to require a changed perspective.
While customer experience is really about strategy – where a company competes and how they win – delivering the customer experience is increasingly done through software. CA has exactly the tools you need to make the changes required to the production of software when your business is rewritten by software:
- Agile methodologies inform the process of ideation; including custom metrics that help you understand how your doing when it comes to customer experience.
- DevOps automates as much of the production as possible; any time there’s manual intervention required someone is going to think it takes too long. And, with the right automated governance processes in place anyone can write software using your infrastructure (accessible through APIs) and the world becomes your developer community.
- Security as part of the infrastructure ensures that software is secure as written, even when it’s not written with security in mind. It’s incredibly hard to secure software even when you’re writing it all yourself (or even when you think you’re writing it all yourself). It’s much more difficult when it comes to securing software that someone else has written on your behalf.
As I was preparing for a conference I’m speaking at today, I wrote an earlier post on this topic titled: 3 Customer Experience Failures that also links over to my conference slides.