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Keeping people at the heart of digital transformation

Spectrum series: The key considerations for digital transformation in a deeply disrupted market | Part two| Exploring how businesses can utilise human-centred design to identify and validate  the right challenges or problems when embarking on digital projects or transformations.  
Mark Teasdale
This is a four-part series that dives into the post-COVID world we find ourselves in, examining how organisations embrace digital transformation and navigate through the psychological and economic impact we face.
  • Part one: Setting the scene of COVID-induced digital transformation
  • Part two: Keeping people at the heart of digital transformations
  • Part three: Instilling a growth-focused digital transformation mindset
  • Part four: Building proactive Enterprise IT environments

This series was produced by Mark Teasdale, Mal Stephens, and Michael Howard. Download the full series here or through the form below.

An overwhelming majority of businesses putting people first

Diving straight into solving a problem (solutioning) before understanding why or if you should be investing in that approach can lead to severely ineffective solutions. Understanding the underlying issues and emotions you want to address is pivotal, which is a process that begins first and foremost with people. 

71% of over 200 Australian & New Zealand CIOs polled at ADAPT’s CIO Edge conference in 2019 identified ‘immersive customer experience’ as a ‘very important’ current priority. Another poll revealed CIO’s top priorities for the year ahead were cybersecurity (due to the potential brand damage caused in the eyes of customers) and workplace & customer-facing digital transformation 

The expectations of both internal and external users are of paramount importance to the enterprise IT organisation. 

We have identified four key areas that impact your ability to solve the right problem: 

  • Customer insights from existing data sources 
  • Unifying data to drive decisions 
  • Adopting a platform and ecosystem mindset 
  • User research to gather qualitative data
     

Meeting customer needs requires insight 

 
Understanding and delivering on user expectation is essential to business viability because of rapidly changing technology, global competition and periodic start-up disruption.The combination of these three aforementioned factors have the following two impacts:  
  • Users are conditioned to ever-increasing expectations of speed and ease of task or transaction completion 
  • Users are continually enticed by other opportunities, churning from existing service experiences 

The first step in uncovering these insights is looking in your existing data sets. Businesses tend to have significant data available to them; the challenge is to know how to extract meaning out of it.  

“Learn from customers. Adapt and develop new products and services based on customer experiences. Leverage data and analytics to capture, index, analyse and make informed decisions, all in a 24-hour mobile, (Human Experience) HX focused and collaborative world.” A summary of the 2019 ADAPT Digital Edge takeaways, Berry (2019).  

NOTE: COVID-19 has deeply impacted consumer behaviour and outlook. It is, therefore, vital businesses understand how the pandemic has affected their customer base or risk wide-scale churn. 


Unified data driving decisions

Having a strong evidence base of user preferences is strategically essential when you are looking to solve the right problem. Usable real-time telemetry on customer and internal user behaviour is paramount in providing this evidence base. Still, this capability is typically poorly developed in most Australian & New Zealand enterprises. The reason for this is due to disparate data sources, fragmented toolsets and competing priorities.  

Encouragingly, CIOs are exploring different avenues to enable data-driven decision making within their enterprises. Further to this, there is a broad growing investment in machine learning options, with 71% of CIOs identifying this as their top investment priority last year (Hind, 2019). 

In addition, we have recently seen an increase in customers looking into how they can enhance their API strategies to integrate data points and facilitate a more comprehensive, extensible user experience for both internal and external users.Enhancing API strategies not only enables organisations to extract even more value out of their existing digital investments but also providethe foundation for a complete view of the customer.  


Adopting a platform and ecosystem mindset
 

Inflexible IT systems hold enterprise organisations back from responding to market forces within reasonable timeframe. 43% of the 245 technology leaders polled at last year’s CIO Edge conference said that their existing IT infrastructure was not capable of handling increased data growth(Philipson, Boon & Hind, 2019). Half of the same audience also said they have too much data to analyse properly or use effectivelyWith the right mindset, risks concerning the effective utilisation of data insights can be mitigated. 

A modular architecture that exposes data services to relevant business units and technology teams better enableorganisations to gradually maximise new data sources caused by a growing digital toolset. This mindset increases the transparency and relevance of dataflows, particularly when it comes to making decisions regarding user experience. This approach is also an enabler of value chain innovation, as secure, readily-accessible dataflows can be shared with partners to create new value propositions for customers and define new market categories. 

By prioritising data points based on the combination of their business value and their accessibility, a modular architecture with a distribution focus can start small and gradually build on the frequency and volume of data made available to different audiences. Larger implementations of modular architecture can occur but risk ending up in an even messier crude oil-like state than when they began, as mentioned by Jade’s Director of Technology Eduard Liebenberger. Once in place, the architecture unlocks insight and prediction capabilities through enterprise cloud computing toolsets or specialist third-party add-ons. Most importantly, senior leaders can be enabled to make decisions based on relevant, timely information that considers internal and external usage preferences and patterns. 

“The standout characteristic in this new corporate era is the capability of the dominant digital players in exploiting their data to enhance the customer experiences in dealing with them.” (Hind, 2019). 


U
ser research to gather qualitative data

The pursuit of greater data control and insight is typically more relevant to existing applications and infrastructure. When it comes to new product and service initiatives, a consistent approach to qualitative user research of stakeholders and target users is crucial to de-risk, minimise investment cost and help to ensure the viability of IT organisation innovations. Earlier, we talked about unifying data; this often gives you the ‘what’ customers want insight, qualitative research gives you the ‘why’.  

“It is critical to engage with users (employees and customers) before implementing approaches & deploying technologies” (ADAPT, 2020). 

Adopting an evidence-based, design-led approach will give your new product or service concepts a better chance at succeeding. With regards to the four key areas mentioned in this article, we have helped clients: 

  • Identify and validate internal and external customer pain-points 
  • Dispel biased assumptions about possible solutions 
  • Align key stakeholders for a phased approach to product build and launch 
  • Build and test prototypes, commercial pilots and MVPs 


Are you solving the right problem? 

As you’re either considering or undertaking your digital transformation, do not underestimate the value in ensuring you’re solving the right problem. The key to doing this is keeping people at the heart of your decision-making processesUse customer insights to identify opportunities. Become a data-driven business. Adopt a platform and ecosystem mindset that connects people. Let user (people) research be the foundation of your organisation. Your customers, employees, and shareholders will thank you for it.  

Want to read a copy of the series in its entirety? Download full digital transformation report here or complete the form below. Otherwise, stay tuned for the next installment.



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