In both the private and the public sectors there’s a healthy interest in properly and effectively embracing digital transformation in order to reap the very real benefits that this approach brings.
Listening to and reading about what is being said about digital transformation, it’s very apparent that there isn’t a clear definition and understanding of this important and truly business transformative strategy.
We have been championing and leading the proper adoption and deployment of this methodology over the past decade so we believe we have a thorough understanding of this, which has been well honed through practical deployment with our customers in the social housing, healthcare and broader commercial sectors.
Let’s be clear – digital transformation isn’t about user-friendly or great-looking websites, setting up some social media channels or integrating some of the key enterprise systems. Though all of these do form a part of the bigger picture which needs to be kept in mind, in order to effectively deploy and gain the most from digital transformation.
What is our definition of digital transformation?
Digital transformation is a ‘whole organisation approach’ and a way of life that places the tenant at the very heart of the business and concentrates on making all aspects of the customer’s interaction simple, clear, fast and as cost effective as possible. This means a tenant-first culture, supported by joined-up processes and integrated technology systems across the whole organisation. Simply put, digital transformation is all about people (our customers and the team within our own business) collaborating to create fruitful and amazing experiences that engage and wow the customers, ensuring continuous delivery of better business outcomes for them, leading to real competitive advantage for the business.
This means everyone within the organisation needs to be involved by adopting and applying a ‘whole of the business’ approach and mindset to customer interactions and service delivery. This needs to be supported by digital tools and methodologies that actively support a deliberate move away from operating in silos. Services need to be reusable and interconnected, supported by platforms that can be leveraged and shared by everyone across the whole business in the quest to give the customer the best and most joined-up experience.
One of the founding principles here at VerseOne is to focus on what we affectionately call the ‘3Ps’:
Process – This is ensuring the existence of joined-up processes across the whole business, with exceptional customer engagement and experience at the forefront of everyone’s minds. This will lead to efficient and cost-effective service delivery which again everyone needs to understand and practice. Issues such as usability, user experience, service design and other customer transformative experiences and flow of customer-critical interactions throughout the business need clearly to be thought through, streamlined and communicated internally and externally.
People – This is intended to highlight that all stakeholders within the organisation need to be bought in, engaged and involved and actively lead by example. Digital transformation would only deliver real benefits if a ‘whole business’ approach is adopted. This means everyone within the business having deep understanding of the customers and being trained, empowered and passionate about handling customers, their needs and issues.
Platform – This is where most people focus on when thinking about implementing a digital transformation strategy. While this is an important component, to get the most from the overall strategy the other ‘2Ps’ would also need firmly to be in place. Here the focus should be all about the right technology platform(s) to underpin the digital transformation agenda, facilitating a true interconnection of all vital areas of the business (front- and back-office and third-party organisations) in order to provide a seamless, rapid and fruitful experience for customers. With the lines between the physical and digital becoming ever more blurred and meshed into one, customers expect to be able to move seamlessly between different channels and simply have access to the right content anytime and on any device.
So the key message is that to gain the many real benefits of digital transformation, a well thought out and tailored strategy needs to be devised. It has to be recognised that the strongest drivers of change in today’s digital landscape are customers’ rapidly evolving expectations and behaviours. Only by keeping pace with these can the battle for engagement, loyalty and relevance be won, ultimately creating an effective competitive advantage and thus a real RoI for implementing digital transformation.
In short, you need to ensure your digital strategy aligns with your business goals, and as importantly to the needs of your tenants and staff, all underpinned by powerful and interconnected technology platforms that meet your present and future needs.
Alan Neilson is the founder and executive chairman of VerseOne.