With Acquia Engage London just around the corner, we took the opportunity to ask a selection of UK-based digital thought leaders one of the burning questions we’ll be discussing at the conference: Where does the real value lie in digital transformation?
Dr. Iain Brown (@IainLJBrown) is a principal data scientist at SAS and adjunct professor of marketing analytics at University of Southampton:
“We are now seeing digital transformation as not simply replacing analogue processes with digital ones, but discovering completely new insights from leveraging Big Data and AI.
“Whereas the focus of digital transformation is initially on the customer journey, about delighting customers and making sure they stay or return, there is a deeper organisational focus to transformation and the customer journey, and that is profitability.
“AI is being applied to automatically understand which customers and products, are profitable. Organisations can also use AI to find out more about the characteristics of their profitable products and customers. Designing more products that customers will be happy to pay for, and using digital to lower the costs of providing them. This benefits both the organisation and customer.”
Daryn Mason (@CXDaryn) is an independent speaker, writer and facilitator with 17 years of experience in CRM and CX:
“We’re now living in an age where ‘experience’ transcends product and price as the primary differentiator for consumers. We see it online as well as on our High Streets.
“Digital transformation provides an opportunity to re-focus on customers’ wants and needs. This might be to simply reduce the effort involved in buying commodity items - like Amazon Dash buttons or conversational user interfaces.
“Digital transformation is not an optional add-on for companies. A continuous culture of innovation and optimisation is now essential for survival. Those who are the most agile will create lifetime customer value and raise the bar for their competitors.”
“Many organisations are implementing digital technology with an intention of streamlining processes and saving money. But digital technology should not be viewed as a way of ‘cutting cost.’
“Using digital in this way is likely to have a detrimental effect on the customer experience. It is vital that digital strategy is developed specifically in line with the customer journey – to better enable the meeting (and exceeding) of customers’ needs and wants.
“Applying digital strategy in this way will not only improve customer perception, it will also make an organisation leaner, more efficient and better able to meet its commercial goals.”
“Digital transformation is easy said, hard achieved.
“It involves a change not only in technology form factors, but also in process and people. All three changes need to align to achieve the upsides of a transformation and transforming your approach can result in improvements to your top and bottom lines.
“Take, for example, moving to a new telephony cloud-based system, integrated with your cloud CRM. By providing personalised customer IVR (Interactive Voice Responses), greeting the customer by name - pulled from the CRM - and routing them according to their profile and sales value, or open tickets, can quickly improve customer experience KPIs and NPS scores.
“Treating digital transformation as an opportunity to improve is the key. Treating it purely as a technology replacement will often not deliver the desired business outcomes.”
Adam Gray (@agsocialmedia), author and social media strategist, co-founder of Digital Leadership Associates:
“Most organisations recognise that ‘digital’ is the new norm, yet somehow they seem to think that digital transformation is something they themselves don’t need to do to remain relevant. A shiny new website, or a social call centre does not equal digital transformation.
As many people before me have said, the value in digital transformation doesn’t lie in ROI - although there is of course a huge ROI benefit - it lies in whether your business will be here at all in five years’ time.”
“When thinking about the value of digital transformation, it’s easy to just think of it in terms of new products and services, and thus revenue streams, based on technology and data exploitation.
“There is also a need to improve customer experience - from the initial ‘product investigation’ touchpoints, through conversion, to retention, growth, and loyalty. This helps to “stick” customers to products and services.
“But a third element underpins these customer-facing elements. Without improving back-office operations, other investments are tantamount to sticking go-faster stripes on a horse and cart.”
Narcis Radoi (@NarcisRadoi) is an experienced digital strategist and producer:
“Given the nature of digital transformation, companies get value in different ways. While some are eager to increase internal productivity or take out pain points that make things complicated - like invoices being printed and entered manually in excel - others focus on making sure their clients are happy and increasing engagement.
“Every company I have seen go through digital transformation, however, has seen its trackability increase as well as its ability to measure ROI.”
Acquia Engage will take place in London 4-5 June and will feature presentations from Microsoft, Bayer, Hiscox, Baroness Brady of Knightsbridge (Karren Brady CBE) and Acquia CTO and Drupal founder, Dries Buytaert. You can still reserve your place online.