The events of 2020 have driven unplanned change for individuals and businesses alike. Whether it’s been altering business approach, introducing new products and services, or adjusting to working remotely, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced organisations to take stock and accelerate their digital transformation plans.

One thing this year has taught us is that relationships matter; human contact matters. And this is absolutely the case when it comes to digital transformation.

Your digital transformation plans will go nowhere without effective people engagement, both with internal stakeholders and customers.

Whatever the focus of your organisation’s digital transformation programme, it's imperative that you engage people before investing in technology in order to get the best results. Doing so will ensure that the digital transformation you undertake will be more efficiently implemented, have greater visibility, and be of more benefit to both your organisations and your customers.

Digital transformation is as much about people and mind-set as it is about technology.

Step 1: Involve your staff

The first step is to decide which parts of your business require digital transformation. Some will. Some won’t.

By assessing your organisation, laying out the current landscape in terms of technology and processes, and identifying any hurdles or problems, you'll be able to better understand and identify where digital transformation is needed the most.

This means you need to talk to people – all across the business.

An important point to remember is that those in charge of implementing the digital transformation project might not be the same people using the new technology or new processes day in, day out.

You must involve the departments and the individuals who'll be affected by the digital transformation, and do so from the start, and throughout, in order to understand their challenges, any obstacles, and to get them on-board with what the organisation is trying to do.

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Step 2: Involve your customers

Remember what we said at the start? Customers come first.

Directly involving your customers is a key step in uncovering the ways you must adapt to the new normal, and vital in transforming your business in ways that customers are provided with what they want and what they need.

You should ask customers directly how they’re feeling and what they need, and where they would like to see improvement. SaaS providers have been doing this for years, using portals to gather significant feedback on products from end-users to use to improve future upgrades or editions.

Step 3: Technology comes last

So, you know what your business needs, and what your customers want. Only now can you marry the two together, decide where to invest your time and effort, and review what technology you'll require to digitally re-shape your business in a way that meets the needs of your customers.

By questioning the people involved, internally and externally, and understanding what technology and processes are already in place, you can create a digital transformation strategy that leads you to choose the technology that aligns with your objectives and meeting customer needs.

Organisations that allow the technology to drive their plan and strategy – and this goes for marketing as much as it does digital transformation – end up losing sight of business goals and don't deliver for the customer.

Digital transformation in the world of marketing

For marketers, digital transformation could be anything from simplifying daily tasks through automation powered by AI to introducing personalisation across all channels.

Digital transformation in marketing in terms of maturity, we think, is just hitting the bottom of the curve on its way up and will become more mainstream over the next five years. Leader brands have made huge investments in improving their marketing technology stack by either replacing or integrating website, content management, CRM, marketing automation, tracking and analytics, all together – and stories of their initiatives and their success in terms of cost-savings and results have been all over the marketing press.

Over the next twelve months, we believe more brands in the small to medium enterprise space will see the benefit in moving their websites away from simple content management systems that aren't delivering for their business or for their customers, to powerful digital experience platforms that drive personalised online experiences, can merge seamlessly with their CRM system, call centre technology, give them marketing automation, email marketing, analytics, and social media management, and offer the potential for ecommerce as an add-on.

All-in-one digital experience platforms are financially no longer out of reach for even the smallest organisation. Platforms like Sitecore are affordable, powerful, and can help drive personalised, individual experiences that delight visitors, turning them from simple browsers into lifetime customers who return time and time again.

How we can help

Organisations that plan a digital transformation based on assessment of their current state and built on a strategy of delivering for customers, rather than one based on technology, increase their chances of success exponentially.

Our team of digital experience consultants are well versed in helping you understand your internal employee and technology landscape, question your customers, and then devising a digital transformation strategy, with associated technology, to help you achieve your marketing and business goals.

From user research and customer journey mapping, to digital product strategy and rapid prototyping, and everything in-between, we can help.