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Digital Transformation: the Science of Staying Relevant

Were in the midst of a technological revolution that’s forever changing how we connect, live and work. Digital has fundamentally changed consumer expectations. Everyone expects an Amazon or Disney experience today. If your brand doesn’t embrace a digitally elegant and remarkable client experience (CX) you face losing a significant portion of your market to competing companies that do. It often requires radical transformation to secure a place in our ever-more connected world.

While some legacy enterprises have successfully transformed, for many, finding their digital footing is a struggle. Here are 5 main challenges:

1. Don’t Deeply Understand Their Clients

Identifying critical ways to add value to your clients life is the #1 focus of creating an elegant digital experience. It requires an intimate understanding of who your clients are, what they need, fear and want. Many companies don’t have a holistic understanding of their clients, and if they do, often they don’t segment them properly in the marketing process. While most conduct research, its often focused on specific metrics that don’t generate a real picture. Solve both of these problems and you have the foundational insights that will skyrocket your transformation success.

2. Resist Change

Many companies aren’t agile and can’t quickly change. They systematize the status quo and limit innovation to reduce risk. This is a major competitive disadvantage in todays rapidly evolving digital world.

Sometimes, resistance to change arises at an individual level because people view it in terms of their own career, comfort level, or security. Even if they think transformation is in the best interest of the company, they may instinctively resist because it impacts them directly.

How can you prepare?

Digital transformation isn’t for the faint of heart. Clear communication is key, so anticipate and prepare for some rough sailing. Stand behind your leadership team as they work to drive change. And strive to create a culture of innovation that publicly rewards the people in your company who display the mindset and behaviors needed at every level.

“DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IS’T FOR THE FAINT OF HEART.”

3. Fear Failure

Digital transformation is about finding new ways to interact with your clients and provide the value they’re looking for. It comes with one big caveat: You will experience failure along the way. Failure stings, but its a hallmark of every successful endeavor. For those who embrace failure as a learning opportunity, it inspires innovation and fuels rapid growth.

How can you mentally prepare yourself? Work on your own mindset about failure. It helps to think of it as an investment portfolio. It has ups and downs, but over the long term, its periodically adjusted and increases in value. My personal ͚failure portfolio is extensive, and you couldn’t pay to get the valuable lessons its given me. My motto, fail fast, fail cheap. Learn from it.

4. Not Agile

Digitally agile companies take the insights they gain from their clients and explore, pilot, and then scale ways to offer more value. Speed is important because it allows them to quickly build on what works, and change what isnt working in weeks instead of months. However, there are two main roadblocks to agility:

Technology is the first roadblock. Its slow and costly to go from idea to implementation without a modern technology stack. Those who wish to transform should consider tech an indispensable part of their company’s future. Outsourced cloud environments which securely allow rapid experimentation while you improve the internal legacy infrastructure can help ease transformation disruption.

Decision-making is another roadblock. You aren’t moving fast enough if your company has to go through multiple presentations and months of committee meetings to approve funding for new initiatives. While managing spend is essential for any well-managed business, if your process (not a lack of capital) gets in the way of digital transformation, rethink it. Empower your team to make ground-level decisions to seize the momentum needed to keep up with the digital world. If you don’t trust your team, find out why, then fix it. Compliance, legal, brand or other well-intentioned roadblocks can take decision-making from weeks to quarters, so build policy to fast-track whats needed for digital initiatives.

5. Non-Collaborative Culture

Creating a seamless digital client experience demands brilliant collaboration. It requires teamwork between business strategy, marketing, IT, operations, customer service, product development, the executive team and nearly every other part of your organization. It’s a must to have the CEO actively on board to fuel digital transformation.

At first, all these challenges can seem impossible to navigate. That’s why its important to select digital managers and vendors who are both inspiring and collaborative. Support them by setting company-wide expectations toward a unified client experience.

Wrap-up

Digital transformation is a critical component of a strong brand. Successfully implementing it gives you a competitive advantage that sets you apart from those still struggling to get there. Today, it’s not enough to add trendy digital toys while the core business remains unchanged. Your customers are evolving and the world is too. The company of the future rides on the wave of change. Will you be there?

Kelly Ashton Bradley masterminds marketing transformations that build brands, engage people, fuel loyalty and drive profitable revenue growth. www.kellyashtonbradley.com

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