By definition, digital transformation is the process of integrating digital technology into the operations of the business (technologies like data science, AI, machine learning and more). When done right, digital transformation allows companies to reinvent the customer experience and improve the economics and capabilities of the business. But how do you begin? What are the considerations when embarking upon digital transformation? This guide covers factors to consider as well as steps to take during this journey.
Eight Factors to Consider
1) Focus on Customer Outcomes
In our opinion, everything starts with the customer. As Jeff Bezos said, “You want to be customer obsessed, not competitor obsessed. If you are competitor obsessed you see everyone behind you and you slow down a bit. But customers pull you along.” At Catalyst, we look at competitive software as part of our Unified UX Methodology; we emphasize working outside-in, from a user’s frame of reference. Our Human Factor Engineers apply User-Centered Methodologies to create breakthrough design. Much of this, from a design perspective, is done by gaining a deep understanding of the user, their problems and usage.
2) Deliver Connected Experiences That Customers Value
Because companies in many industries are changing the way customers interact with their service, every business needs to be on top of its game. You need to deliver great experiences that map to the customers’ changing expectations and even anticipate future needs.
One way to start the process is through journey mapping. At Catalyst UX, we also use Task Modeling and Optimization as a simple and effective way of getting to the bottom of what users want to accomplish and for finding how you can make that more efficient.
Once you grasp the user journey, you can consider applying technology to augment your product or service. For example, The North Face uses IBM Watson to help wilderness trekkers find the perfect gear for their next trip.
3) Empower Employees With Tools and Insights
Your frontline employees are also key, as they interface with your customers. If employees are equipped with effective tools and processes, they can deliver a timely and more robust customer experience. For example, Catalyst UX is leveraging AI to help medical and life sciences companies optimize the productivity and efficiency of complex instruments—while requiring less training for users.
4) Simplify Production and Processes With Software and Algorithms
Digital innovators use technology to automate, streamline or eliminate inefficient processes. As with Artificial Intelligence (mentioned above), predictive analytics is changing the way companies use data in their decision-making by serving up predictive recommendations at just the right time. One of our own clients—a fuel management and distribution company—uses this technology not only to schedule deliveries but also to generate HAZMAT-approved routes for drivers.
5) Redesign. Reinvent.
As part of the journey, be open to reinventing the way business or operations are done versus just redesigning. For example, you may find that there is a business process that, while commonplace, can now be embedded in the design—thus transforming the business itself. For example, with a Tesla car, you don’t need to go to the mechanic for select servicing. And, as with smartphones, Tesla owners receive frequent operating system upgrades defining and unlocking new capabilities, such as level-2 self-driving features.
6) Digitally Enhance Products or Services
You can augment products and services with sensors, software, algorithms and networks to improve the service. For example, our client PDI uses predictive analytics to help convenience store operators understand when and how much gas should be ordered and what HAZMAT-approved routes should be taken for delivery.
7) Integrate Customer-Facing Processes With Back-Office Functions
In IDC’s report on Digital Transformation, they cite integrating the customer-facing processes with the back-office functions. Why? Because optimizing the customer experience and service delivery is critical to winning and keeping business. But how do you do this with design? Catalyst UX worked on software that reduced mortgage data collection by allowing the user to authorize our client to gather access to information from bank accounts, the IRS, and payroll without filling out forms. This improved the customer experience and reduced throughput time.
8) Don’t Just Unify Communications. Embed Communications.*
Of course you need a Unified UX. But just as important is incorporating the proper communications into design and business processes. In fact, according to IDC, 91% of companies feel that embedding communications into processes and applications is important. For example, airplane mechanics working in hangars could use Google Voice to document repairs versus keying in information. Embedding communications into the design can help improve employee productivity and collaboration, and can potentially deliver a better product and better customer experience.
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Catalyst UX works with hundreds of clients on designing for digital transformation. Are you updating your software in the next three to six months? Schedule a meeting for a FREE UX design assessment.