Introduction to digital transformation: 4- How to do the transformation?
A structured approach through the customer touchpoints offers the best way to start your digital journey.
by Giandomenico Rivetti, Lars Dittmann
Modern business models are designed starting from customer needs. The objective is to be the perceived number one in the market. This strong perceived value proposition enables growth and profit as we laid out in the previous articles. This article describes how to start and lead the digital transformation for traditional companies.
Structured Dialog with Customers
The starting point is a structured dialog with the customers. We must understand the customer needs to define what is necessary to become the perceived number one in the market. The structure is given by the various touchpoints along the customer journey. In different businesses the customer journey varies, and the touchpoints are distinct. In this article we take the example of an engineered product type of business and elaborate on the following touchpoints: Products/Services, Sales and Marketing Functions, Project Management and After Sales Services. Various questions around the current set-up and digital potentials are to be assessed, for instance:
• What makes our core product number one in the customer perception?
• How good is our product and service quality?
• How mature is the overall quality assurance?
• Is the proposed value proposition common, clear, and simple?
• Is it in-line with the perceived value?
• What is the status of digital marketing instruments?
• Is an e-commerce platform for standard products in place?
• Is the connection between the customer and supplier project management seamless?
• Which processes are digitalized?
• Is a remote factory acceptance test in place?
• Again, what makes our Service number one in the customer perception?
• Is an e-commerce solution in place for spare parts?
• How easy is it to do business with us?
The structured dialog with the customer can be performed in different styles. The management must be aware that this exercise can be performed as a long and exhausting activity which we do not desire. This phenomenon is described as analysis paralysis. Leaders in digital transformation break through the paralysis. The right approach is an agile one: making small steps in close dialogue with the customers. Adapt constantly to changing customer needs and expectations. Step-by-step you are involving the entire organization with proper measures that are aligned to the purpose of the transformation and the success is reviewed by the team. That way the organization learns and gets better when tackling ever growing challenges.
The structured dialogue conducted in an agile fashion reveals the digital maturity level of your company. The digital maturity is visible through the implemented technology and information systems as well as the company culture. While the assessment of software and systems is easy, the company culture is more crucial, because it limits the size of your next step. The development of the company culture takes time. Digital mature companies run in a lean and agile way and can adopt quickly to changes on the customer side. The focus is always on adding the next piece to the final solution and that way being able to instantly get feedback from the customer. Quickness and fast feedback incorporation beat a long and exhausting vision to once own defined perfection.
The key to a successful transformation is the combination of a structured approach and the ability to further develop the company. The structured approach goes along the touchpoints with your customers. It is important to move in an agile fashion without getting caught in analysis paralysis.
Finally, the company culture is the key element for the sustainable implementation. It defines your digital maturity, and it can be developed through experiences, coaching and training. A transformation is not one big project but the start of a journey towards a more modern business model.
The Voice of The Expert – Laurent Gervais : What are examples of good tools to drive Agile processes in B2B?