Digital transformation may be the trending term de jour, but it’s also fraught with complications due to its breadth of scope. What exactly are we digitally transforming? The backend? The customer-facing frontend? Does everything get the digital treatment, or just part of a company’s operations?
The reality is that digital transformation comes with some significant preconceptions. For example, companies have poured a disproportionate amount of resources into digitizing their back-office thinking that’s what digital transformation means. Others believe it takes years to undertake. Still others believe it requires putting other business initiatives on hold. And everyone is waiting for their IT department to take the lead.
As a result of these digital transformation myths, businesses are failing to maximize their digital investments. In this blog post, we’ll try to unravel the myths that prevent businesses from achieving the results they’re looking for.
The Top 4 Myths About Digital Transformation
Many of today’s companies are savvy enough to know that digital transformation is key, and even undertaken some digital transformation efforts. But many of them become disillusioned when they see that the results just aren’t happening. Instead of giving up on digital transformation, businesses should begin busting the myths that are holding them back from reaching their full potential.
Here are a couple of the digital transformation falsehoods that lead businesses in the wrong direction:
1. Digital-First Means Backend-First
When businesses start to think about digital transformation, they often imagine upgrading core software such as CRMs and backend systems. They often overlook the customer-facing side of digital.
But there are problems with putting all one’s eggs in the backend basket. For one, it’s expensive and time-consuming. Overhauling the backend often seriously disrupts a business, and not in a good way! Second, focusing solely on backend innovations overlooks the customer experience, since customers don’t know (or care) about what goes on in those systems. Meanwhile, they remain subjected to a cumbersome frontend, which hurts key metrics like NPS, sales, and churn.
2. It Takes Years to Do
As mentioned, digitizing the backend is frequently time-consuming. It requires overhauling systems, code, and procedures that have been in place for years, and in some cases even decades. On the other hand, upgrading the customer-facing frontend can be a relatively quick and painless undertaking.
3. It’s a Business Blocker
Companies needn’t worry that adopting new technology means putting business on hold. Most frontend technologies sync seamlessly with existing systems. And the process of doing so tends to be quick, especially if it’s easy to train employees to use.
4. It’s a Job For IT/CTO/consultants
Many businesses wait for other departments or outside consultants to digitally transform the organization. But digital transformation is a team effort — not a solo project. While one stakeholder or department may champion the cause, there are usually multiple stakeholders involved. And everyone, from the CEO to frontline employees, should understand the value of the digital transformation effort their organization is pursuing — and get involved with the selection of and use of new technologies. It’s far better than waiting around for others, and getting stuck with an irrelevant portal that is never used.
Trends That Are Exposing These Myths
The good news is that the common myths surrounding digital transformation have started to fall apart. That’s in large part due to the following trends:
1. The Ubiquity of SaaS
The growth of SaaS, or software-as-a-service companies has helped companies realize that digital transformation needn’t be cumbersome and time-consuming, or require extensive IT involvement. SaaS products often require little to no coding to implement, integrate seamlessly with existing systems, and are easy to scale as demand for the service ebbs and flows.
2. The Prevalence of APIs
Most digital software these days comes with APIs that hook into other third-party applications and portals. This means that there is no need for companies to overhaul their existing core systems (unless they want to, of course). Businesses can simply plug in technology that makes their core systems better.
3. The Coronavirus Pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic accelerated digital transformation trends, pushing companies to quickly adopt customer-facing technology. If prior to the crisis, companies felt that digitization was a nice-to-have, the coronavirus showed the danger of relying on legacy channels and face-to-face business. Even now that the pandemic seems to be on its way out, customer demand for convenient, remote, and digital services remains high.
Why Digital Completion is Even Better Than Digital Transformation
Digital transformation efforts often failed to have the desired results in the past due to false beliefs. Yet with the rise of SaaS, plentiful APIs, and unprecedented consumer demand for digital in light of the coronavirus, there are more opportunities than ever to digitize in a way that has a real impact.
Throwing more money and effort into improving the backend isn’t going to do it. Nor is adopting point solutions, such as eSignatures that leave the customer journey as fragmented and choppy as before.
Unlike the digital transformation efforts of yesteryear, digital completion:
1. Unifies the Full Customer Journey
What companies today need is a comprehensive solution that has the power to streamline and accelerate customer journeys from start to finish. Instead of adopting yet another tool, we need an approach that unifies all tools, procedures, and workflows into a single intuitive journey that gets customers to the finish line, whether it’s a serving request or sales opportunity.
2. Puts the Customer First
Today’s business environment calls for a focus on eliminating every obstacle that stands in the way of customers completing the tasks they begin. A focus on a different approach to digital transformation that’s future-proof and capable of eliminating barriers to productivity. A focus on shrinking the gap between what customers expect, and what businesses deliver. A focus on reaching the standards set by Amazon.com.
Is Your Business Digitally Complete?
It’s time for digital transformation to take a completely new focus on digitizing and integrating technologies into customer-facing interactions.
It’s time for a smarter approach to digital. It’s time for digital completion.