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Nick Adams - 11.02.2018

A 7-Step DIY Discovery Process for True Digital Transformation - Part 1

As CIOs and CMOs continue to recognize the importance of integrating digital technology into all areas of their business, the concept of “Digital Transformation” has sprouted in popularity among businesses, especially those that haven’t needed to seriously consider their digital footprint before. Besides maintaining the physical front door to their business, traditional brick-and-mortar shops must also make sure their digital front door caters to the increasingly tech-savvy expectations of their customers.

While business leaders may be tempted to jump into siloed digital projects to fix specific needs lobbied for by individual departments, the most successful digital transformations utilize a more methodical approach. Beginning digital transformation with a Digital Discovery project allows businesses to fully identify and understand the opportunities for improvement and implement solutions that advance the entire business, not just a few departments with squeaky wheels. A successful Discovery process covers the breadth of the company’s digital challenges and produces a defined digital roadmap that sets the course for how strategy and technology will merge themselves into the company’s future for years to come.

Uncertain of how to conduct a Digital Transformation Discovery? Not to worry, plenty of expertise is available from Sagepath and we’re always happy to facilitate the process with our extensive experience in digital transformation.

The following is part one of a two-part article detailing a seven-step process you can use to kick off Discovery internally as a framework that can lead to true digital transformation.

Step 1: Kickoff with a Consensus
Kick things off by inviting stakeholders to an in-person working session to discuss digital transformation objectives, identify areas that need improvement, and select key performance metrics to track for measuring success. Fostering an open and objective discussion with each department seated at the table helps calibrate a consensus view of the business’s current state as an essential first step toward Digital Transformation.

Step 2: Conduct Private Stakeholder Interviews
With a consensus established, it’s time to dig deeper for specifics. A good first step is to host private discussions with individual stakeholders to gain a deeper understanding of their individual goals. Send questions to the stakeholders ahead of time so they have time to collect their thoughts and prepare any materials that may expedite a better discussion. When the conversation takes place, keep it casual so the interviewee can feel comfortable about expressing any ideas that were not captured during the initial group kickoff. Asking open-ended questions should generate additional insights from the interviewee, and in turn help strengthen your relationship with and understanding of the organization.

Step 3: Audit Internal Systems, Responsibilities and Technology
Next, conduct an internal system audit to gather and assess essential details of the people, processes and technology to find areas for streamlining and improvement. Where the stakeholder interviews shed light on how employees and systems operate internally, it’s equally important to gain an understanding through the lens of your customers and third-party players who may have an influence on the business. Understanding the end-customer’s goals can provide greater insight into the areas of focus during digital transformation. Actions may include:

  • Talking with past, present and potential customers to understand their motivations and expectations
  • Evaluating relationships with partners and their technical systems to outline key integration points
  • Analyzing digital SEO rankings to see when and how the brand appears in search results
  • Inspecting social media channels to understand how customers feel about and interact with the brand
  • Reading company and product reviews to ascertain the company’s relative standing against competitors

Understanding the goals of the people that interact with the business, both internally and externally, provides great insight into what is most important to focus on during Digital Transformation.

Process is the second lens through which to audit the business. Review the company’s organizational chart along with their internal procedures and process flows to identify areas where inter-team dynamics could be strengthened or synthesized through use of a common methodology or tool. How is information transmitted internally within departments, between departments, up the hierarchy chain, and, most importantly, to the customers? What is the customer experience flow when interacting with the client’s products/services? What are other competitors doing to improve their processes, and what is the industry expectation?

Digital Transformation cannot happen without fundamentally understanding the technology the client uses, both internally and externally. Assess the quality of the client’s internal tools and how they are used  (e.g. Content Management System (CMS), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Marketing Automation, Business Intelligence (BI) tool, Product Information Management (PIM), Continuous Data Protection (CDP), etc.) to determine if existing tools or processes can be updated or integrated for better efficiencies, or if it may be best to start fresh with a new toolset.

Finally, don’t forget about the end-customer — how are the company’s website, mobile app(s), in-store technology, or other digital touch points performing?

Don’t miss part two of our overview of the Discovery process, in which we’ll cover presenting Discovery findings, defining requirements, identifying solutions and creating a roadmap for implementation.