Be Bold. Make the Change. Have a meaningful Impact.
A look at how companies of all shapes and sizes can implement or bolster their digital strategy to compete at the standard customers expect.
Digital is the new norm. We are in a world of touchpoints and interactions. Everything is measurable and usually quantifiable. All we want is to understand our customers, their needs and wants, what makes them tick and how to win their loyalty.
What’s more, business has changed over the past 15 years, with a definite shift toward the customer. We’ve started to understand that people want more than one-directional encounters with brands. They want something more. They want an experience.
And as these consumer expectations evolve, tried and tested business models are being put to shame by agile, digital start-ups. A steady revolution is sweeping across the corporate world and those that don’t catch wind are getting left behind.
This digital transformation isn’t something that just happened.
Companies must embody digital inside and out. There is no point in designing a frictionless and award-winning digital customer experience if internally the company is resistant to change or is slow to adopt new technologies.
Only 11% of firms execute digital well.
– Prepare Your Business For The Digital Future, Forrester.
One way to drive digital forward is by implementing a digital center of excellence strategy. This creates a basis for digital excellence across the organisation which makes delivering key experiences and innovating easier in the long run. It will also mean that there is less chance of being left behind as technology inevitably evolves.
What is a digital center of excellence?
Is it a process? Is it a physical space? Is it an aspiration?
In reality, it’s a healthy combination of all three.
It’s a strategy that’s implemented across the business in order to drive effective and efficient digital processes. It has internal implications, given the necessity for free data flow, but at its core is a want to improve the digital experience for all customers and all interactions with the brand.
Quite often the digital center of excellence will be run by a central team that is dedicated to leading the change and establishing precedents for different teams and departments across the organisation. For the strategy to be a success, it must be rooted in collaboration, communication and a dedication to innovate.
Digital is the number one way people interact with your brand and it’s represented at almost every point of the customer journey. In fact, more and more user journeys are digital-only. As a brand, you need to be optimising across this journey. You need to be looking at the sum of all parts, but to do that you must have a strategy in place. This is when a digital center of excellence comes into its own.
When you think of companies like Airbnb, Spotify, Amazon, or Uber, what do they all have in common? Seamless, frictionless and pleasurable customer experiences, and they are winning market share.
This is now what customers expect. If someone experiences a pain point when interacting with your brand, you’ve already lost.
Given how fragmented the customer journey is and the huge multitude of owned and non-owned touchpoints, it can be really hard to get it right. Things get even more complicated when your bring offline experiences into the mix.
This isn’t to say that if your brand transcends online and offline that you can’t win at digital. The key is to identify the opportunities for optimisation and to avoid shoehorning digital into an interaction.
Always design with the customer in mind.
Regardless of what stage your company is at or which model you decide to go with, there are three core elements involved in a digital center of excellence:
The combination and balance of these will ensure this strategy succeeds.
Digital Center of Excellence Considerations:
Before embarking on this project or progressing a process already in place, consider these questions and use the answers to shape your strategy to your specific needs and requirements.
- What’s the ultimate goal?
- How mature is the business?
- What level of data literacy exists within my organisation?
- What degree of customer-first processes are in place?
- Who are the key stakeholders?
- What’s the most effective way to initiate this strategy?
- How open to change is the business?
- Do we know what competitors are doing?
- What are the industry benchmarks?
- What will success look like?
Having a digital mindset as a company is no longer a nice to have, it’s an absolute imperative. Your customers expect the highest standards and are the lifeblood of your organisation, so do everything you can to foster their loyalty. Being digital inside and out will help you achieve success while also preparing for the future and the inevitable change that’s to come.