I recently stumbled upon an interesting study by Altimeter Group regarding the state of Digital and Digital Transformation. It is a high level and a rather generic research, however, a few interesting and useful elements can be found there.
Digital transformation may mean many things to many people so Altimeter introduced a common sense definition (that appeals to me):
The re-alignement of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital consumers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle.
I think it is simple and straightforward and it incorporates all keywords of importance like ‘technology’, ‘business models’, ‘touchpoint’ and ‘customer experience’. So I would even summarise the definition into:
Tune and boost your technology and business model to improve all customer touchpoints and provide superior experience.
Nevertheless, this is not the essence of my post. Altimeter introduced also 3 key element of digital transformation.
In this post I want to focus on the most important element: customer experience. This concept is obviously related to another important concept of customer journey. Businesses must embrace and map their customer journey including physical and digital touchpoints. Understanding customer behaviour and the way they interact with businesses and brands are keys not only from the customer intimacy perspective but also helps find improvements and shortcuts that new disruptive technologies enable! This is true customer-centric innovation. It is surprising how many businesses misunderstand their customers’ journeys and often enforce solutions that are counterintuitive or counterproductive. How many times you did an webshop purchase and the webshop told you that a parcel delivery company will ship it to you. Then you had to check with insanely long code for delivery, etc. (sometimes it is easier but this is a generic example). But your purchase was from a particular store and until you have it in your hands, still this store is ‘responsible’ – this is part of the experience. Rings a bell? What if this webshop took responsibility, did the tracking for you, inform you timely, made sure you get the product in your hands. Am I dreaming? This is just a very simple example but businesses worry too much about their top and bottom lines at the cost of the customer experience (and this in turn hurts their top and bottom line so it is a vicious cycle).
Certainly, it takes time and effort to analyse and accommodate customer journey. It also takes courage and investment. So it employs lot of technology (mobile, software, IoT, Big Data, Analytics, CRM, ERP, LBS, AI, augmented reality etc.) and development effort to get it right. Yet companies should not be betting on their own capabilities only. They must partner and seek help. They must not outsource their customer journey but they can and should partner for customer journey design, advise and most importantly, implementation. Speed is the name of the game and the winners will grab the market fast. And let the best help you.
Altimeter write as well: Digital transformation depends on a seamless, holistic journey between physical, digital, and mobile – both internally and externally.
Finally, there is this popular concept/buzzword now of ‘born digital’. This is how the world is being perceived now by new generation and it needs to be reflected in all customer journey. Forget the heritage, think digital.
Recently I told my 9 year-old daughter: can you imagine there was once world without mobile phones, iPads and Internet? No way dad, they’ve been here forever, she replied.
What do you think?
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