Smooth Sailing in Digital Transformation Requires an Empowered Crew

Posted by on September 06, 2019

There’s nothing like sailing on the open water: just your vessel, the wind, waves, and the crew. A successful sail depends on several factors such as weather, currents, and craft specifications. Sailors have access to multiple data points, but that data only becomes valuable when they combine the right information to make the right decisions at the right time. And the best adventure is when this decision information is easily available to a crew who knows what they are doing and are glad to be on board.

Businesses face a similar dilemma. Inundated with data, they must make sense of it all to support real-time decisions. Digital transformation—applying and integrating digital technology to solve problems and streamline processes—will put data to work across your organization. When done right, it will benefit your organization, your customers, and your employees. But interestingly, sometimes the biggest customer benefits can be reaped by focusing on the employee side—the crew side—of the equation.

Invest in Platforms That Create Seamless Experiences

We have boats because people want to travel across water. We have businesses because there is always someone who needs something, and someone else who will provide it. That timeless principle holds true, but technology has revolutionized the process of the exchange.

Consider Uber—the largest taxi service in the world, and yet Uber does not own a single vehicle. How do they succeed? They use a platform to connect a rider (requestor) with a driver (provider) for a ride to a specific destination (service). In fact, Uber is not a taxi company, it is a service provider connecting clients to services.

Uber is a service platform, which combs through data from different sources to supply customers with locations, vehicle and driver information, and billing rates. Clients use this platform to make easy decisions on how to get from Point A to Point B. Uber, Airbnb, and many others disrupted their industry by simplifying and automating the customer-supplier relationship.

As they strategize for success, most businesses explore how to automate and streamline their interactions with customers. They create apps and develop websites where customers can buy, customize, and offer feedback on products and services.

Yet, those same companies often leave their employees working on legacy systems—or in newer systems that rely on data stored in older ones. For these two technologies to work together—seamlessly, delivering an immersive, end-to-end experience—requires a platform architecture that integrates modern with legacy and the rest of the ecosystem. Companies willing to invest in such a platform will discover that digital can be a transformation for not only customer experience but also for employee productivity.

Empower People Who Serve Your Customers

In fact, the same models can be applied to an organization’s internal processes—like IT, HR, Finance, Legal or Facilities support. With manual, legacy, or disconnected systems, a simple request, such as a hardware repair or an employee transition, can generate multiple emails, forms to complete, phone calls, and more. These processes can be tedious, time-consuming, and morale lowering.

But what if a comprehensive platform allowed a consumerized interaction, automated the request, made its progress visible to all the parties involved, and was integrated to all the required back-end business systems? Suddenly, employee service delivers positive results in time saved and goodwill—which are passed on to customers in the form of great service and even increased productivity by happy-to-be-there, appreciated employees.

Data Is an Asset—If You Use It Correctly

Digital transformation is not just about changing technology; it is about strategy and leadership and new ways of thinking, no matter the industry. Technology is only the means by which it is delivered. Still, data has emerged as a key source of value creation and its intelligent usage is essential for success.

While sailing, data about weather, currents, boat performance, and personal observations, in isolation, is almost useless. These siloed information sources only become the difference between success and failure when you intelligently aggregate them to delineate the optimal route to reach your objective in the shortest time.

Similarly, in the technology space, data sources, KPIs, and other information from individual departments or technology layers in the ecosystem only become relevant when you understand them in the context of a business service. It is critical to consider some simple but comprehensive analytical capabilities providing reports, trends, and most importantly, actionable insights to optimize your end-to-end business services and related processes.

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