Strategy & Best Practices

Three Steps to Take Control of Digital Transformation in the “New Normal”

By Joshua Schnoll / April 23, 2020

Three Steps to Take Control of Digital Transformation in the New Normal

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a deep rift has split the business world in two. On one side, you have organizations that have made steady investments in digital technology. These companies have been able to make the fast, if not entirely comfortable, transition to remote business. On the other, you have companies that have deferred digital investments. Unfortunately, these companies are struggling with a host of serious problems, from significantly lower sales, to layoffs, to total shutdowns.

You probably don't have to look far to find examples from your own immediate circle. My wife, a teacher, works for a school that made early investments in a cloud-based educational management system. Her district was able to transition to distance learning quickly. In contrast, I have a friend, an employee at a company that provided in-person training seminars, who saw his company lay off nearly every employee and shut down.

Of course, hindsight is 20/20, and the past few months have made it painfully clear that having the digital technology to adapt to web-based sales, product delivery, and customer support was the right strategy. However, if your business has found itself on the wrong side of the digital rift, it’s not too late. Many companies are creating plans, refining processes, evaluating new technology, investigating new offerings, and more. The pressure to act is intense, but as firms look to make changes, here are three steps to guide your journey.

Step 1: Maintain the focus on your long-term strategic goals

With so much uncertainty, it’s natural to look at whatever challenges are right in front of you and try to solve them first. However, companies that have the most digital transformation success have clear, long-term strategic goals in mind. For a good example, consider Deutsche Telekom.

Years before the market was ready, Deutsche Telekom recognized an opportunity to sell cloud services to small-and-medium-sized businesses. The company identified several goals that would allow them to make the new business profitable: reduce time to market, lower the cost of sales, and become more agile. With these goals in mind, they invested in a flexible subscription commerce platform, as well as the sales, marketing, and business processes to support the technology. Today, Deutsche Telekom is one of Europe’s top providers of cloud services to SMBs in Europe.

Step 2: Double down on the customer experience

People may pay lip service to the importance of the customer experience, but now is the time to go all in and make your CX truly best-in-class. Think about the needs and motivations of both your internal and external customers. How can you simplify their experience and deliver value as easily as possible?

Here, ADP provides a roadmap. The HR technology provider recognized that HR professionals spend a massive amount of time each day manually transferring data from one application to another. ADP also realized that HR professionals did not have one place to find different applications that could help them with daily tasks.

To fix these issues, the company created the ADP Marketplace, a hub where customers could research, discover, purchase, and use applications with secure real-time data transfer. When creating its marketplace, ADP made it a point to put the customer first—from the design, to the self-serve tools, to the single identity that customers can use to access all of their applications—all combining to make the marketplace CX one of the best in the industry.

Step 3: Remember that organizational change is as important as technology

Changing legacy technology is rarely easy, but changing an established mindset can be far more difficult. That’s why it’s critical to acknowledge that any transformation effort requires significant organizational change. New roles will need to be created, old positions may change—or be eliminated altogether—and existing processes will need to be rethought. The key is to align the teams and people involved, and to have clear areas of responsibility.

Acting Now Is Worth It

Organizations that have gone through these steps are well-positioned to manage periods of disruption like the current one we face. One company that is doing just that is Vodafone. Last week, Simon Lee-Smith, Head of Cloud and Security for SMEs at Vodafone Group, detailed how the digital investments the company has made are helping to deliver vital services to millions of consumers and business customers worldwide. Nearly 100,000 Vodafone employees shifted to remote work virtually overnight, and the company has been able to offer no-cost remote work solutions.

Starting the process now will pay dividends today and far into the future. For more ideas and practical advice to inspire you to take control of your digital transformation, you can watch the full webinar here.