How to Plan for Customer-Driven Digital Transformation

26 Jul 2022

Digital transformation doesn’t mean what it used to.

The phrase was introduced in the 1950s, presaging how two new inventions – the microchip and semiconductor – would change the world.

Half a century later, in the late ’90s and early ’00s, digital transformation meant migrating from paper to computer-based processes.

Today, “digital transformation” refers to the role of integrated technology in improving operations and delivering more value to customers.

Digital transformation was about technology.

Now it’s about optimising the customer experience.

A customer-centric approach to digital transformation

Customer demands are the driving force behind digital transformation through:

  • Personalised experiences
  • Consistency
  • Authentic interactions
  • Customer experiences that blur the line between online and offline

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to digital transformation.

The right tools and techniques vary from one organisation to the next.

Focusing on customer experience management (CXM) helps brands to understand the gaps in their capabilities, always with the goal of delivering more valuable customer experiences.

By prioritising customer success and customer experience management, organisations are investing in customer lifetime value (CLV) instead of technology for technology’s sake.

The benefits compound over time, including higher profits, lower costs and more customer loyalty.

So how are these brands orientating their digital transformation strategies toward CXM?

How to plan for digital transformation in 5 steps

1.     Strategy

Begin by clearly defining the reasons for undertaking customer-centric digital transformation.

For example, a digital transformation strategy that seeks to understand customers better will look different to a strategy geared towards out-competing your industry’s disruptors.

Digital transformation strategies spill over from technology into people, processes and capabilities.

So it’s essential to understand the motivations for investing in digital transformation.

2.     People

Next, review the organisational structure in the context of the digital transformation strategy.

Teams structured around the customer are focused on positive customer experiences and CLV rather than profits and performance.

Some organisations require a perspective change to achieve this.

Looking outside-in is tricky.

But ultimately, it’s the key to customer success.

3.     Processes

Once the organisational structure reflects the customer’s best interests, it’s time to review internal processes.

As CXM consultants, we help our clients to mature their processes from functional and responsive to agile and proactive.

Mapping the journey to maturity – from customer experience management as a function to an organisational mindset that prioritises CXM – will inform the tools and training required to reach the desired state.

4.     Tools

Software is, somewhat ironically, a late-stage outcome in CXM-focused digital transformation strategies.

But it’s no less vital to the strategy’s success.

The right martech stack enables game-changing organisational capabilities like:

  • Multivariate testing
  • Single customer view
  • Customer segmentation
  • Personalisation at scale
  • Data-driven insight

5.     Training

The final stage in rolling out a digital transformation strategy combines steps 2, 3 and 4.

Training people to use the tools that support innovative processes means the long-term strategy will continue evolving.

Because CXM is not set-and-forget.

To get long-term value and grow your organisation, your team needs the capabilities to innovate, iterate and evolve.

That’s the key to big-picture CXM.

Taking digital transformation a step further

Customer experience is the impetus for digital transformation.

And digital transformation is changing customer experience management.

The more that brands improve their offering in response to customer demands, the more customers demand, which in turn induces marketing platform developers like Adobe to improve the capabilities of their tools.

Customer experience management is both a mindset and a set of techniques.

It’s a reason for, and an outcome of, digital transformation.

Ultimately, it’s a platform for organisational growth.


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