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Handling Curves While Accelerating Digital Transformation

Posted by on August 13, 2019

Digital Transformation

When the stakes are high, top race car drivers strike a balance between going as fast as they can and driving safely enough to see that checkered flag and cross the finish line ahead of the pack. They are skilled at working the wheel, gas, and brake pedals simultaneously, especially going through a curve. Speed matters.

In many ways, leaders charged with accelerating digital transformation in their businesses must do the same thing. Go too fast, spend too much, pick the wrong technology, and the process can go sideways. Go too slow, move too cautiously, and you lose competitive advantage against nimbler rivals.

As you digitize elements of your business, it may help to think of the challenge as striking a balance between three pillars necessary for a successful race to the top: automation, agility, and self-service.

Pillar #1: Automation in the Pole Position

A few years ago, companies were all-in on automating services as a way of reducing costs. Now we know that automation for efficiency alone is not enough.

Too much automation can also result in too little flexibility. A process can be automated, but in fact, the two can fight each other to a degree. I’m a big believer in the 80/20 rule: automate 80 percent of the process and empower people to do the rest.

Automation also needs to make sense for the consumers of a service, whether those consumers are customers or employees. Automating and integrating services and systems delivers smarter interactions, but companies must strike a balance between efficiency and delivering a satisfying experience.

As they digitize customer operations and employee experience, companies must also evaluate the current maturity level of their IT organization. What must be implemented and in what order—to not only get the support capabilities where it wants to be, but to take all parties along on the journey is critical. Change Management and enablement is vital to drive adoption of new services.

Pillar #2: Banking on Agility

Your business needs are constantly changing. Digital transformation means tapping into a whole new level of technology innovation.

Often there’s a shortage of knowledge to help make high-level goals a reality. We’ve all seen well-intentioned companies start a major project and then realize that the complexity of the technology being employed is greater than anticipated. The result: Projects that aren’t on time or on budget.

There’s another side to being agile: culture. Each generation of consumers brings different preferences for interactions and modes of communication. For Gen z, as an example, texting beats talking. Companies looking to serve or sell to these new consumers must put together services and communication modes that are relevant to them. That is the reason omni channel communication is critical to target and reach this audience segment.

Pillar #3: Lapping Self-Service

The advantage of new modern service management platforms is that they allow the customer or the internal employee to get answers on their own without necessarily talking or messaging with an agent. When a company integrates the customer data of a customer—from a CRM database, a backend ordering system, or other internal system, it can deliver a more intelligent experience—offering service within the context of what is known about each individual.

The more the platform you build allows consumers to self-serve and be content with the experience, the more you’ll reduce your own costs. Of course, you might not be able to be 100 percent self-service. Depending on the product sold or service offered, a mix of self-service and customer interaction may work best. The key to success is finding the right balance between the two.