“Our love of technology is only rivaled by our fear of change,” Allie Eskelsen, UX Designer at Nestlé Purina North America, said at this year’s Acquia Engage. The young developer has worked at Nestlé Purina for less than three years, and in that time, has successfully overhauled all of the multibillion-dollar company’s web properties – including Friskies, Purina ONE, Fancy Feast, and Beneful – using Acquia Cloud Site Factory. “I grew up in the digital age,” said the 2015 college graduate. “I’m a millennial. All these things that come naturally to me are so scary to the people around me.” Although the move to Site Factory may have seemed obvious to a digital native like Eskelsen, she said for a company like Nestlé Purina, which is rooted in tradition and legacy technology, it was a challenging undertaking. Eskelsen distilled her experience into seven tips to help digital leaders overcome the fear of change and pioneer a successful digital transformation in legacy organizations.
Step 1: Identify the Problem
Define the problem and come up with a clear objective and high-level plan for solving it. For Eskelsen, the problem was the complicated digital sprawl marked by more than 65 separately managed Nestlé Purina websites. The individual management of the properties resulted in inconsistent user experience, redundant marketing costs, security compliance issues, and slow launch times. Each site launch would take 12-18 months. Right from the start, the objective was clear: to create an exceptional and consistent consumer-centric experience across all of Nestle Purina’s brand websites.
Step 2: Start at the Top
The project was immediately met with resistance. What will this cost us? When will we see results? This won’t get approved. What are templates? Who will manage this? The brands will not be on board. What about our agencies? What about our existing sites? Brands need to be their own brands. The team knew it needed more buy-in for the project, and decided to start at the top of Nestlé Purina. Eskelsen’s No. 1 tip for pitching enterprise execs is lead with results. Her team knew the project wasn’t going to show immediate, quantifiable return on investment, so they emphasized long-term benefits of the investment to Nestlé Purina’s chief marketing officer.
Step 3: Remove Barriers
Buy-in from top executives doesn’t remove all roadblocks – digital transformation is a long road, that demands collaboration with multiple stakeholders. Roadblocks should be expected. Eskelsen said digital leaders need to be disruptive and scrappy. Well-established enterprise companies are often marked by out-of-date management structure and legacy technology. Eskelsen credited her team for its tenacity, expecting and working through any challenges they met along the way.