Where are companies at in their metamorphic digital transformation efforts?

This was the question Brian Solis set out to answer in his earlier research, The 2014 State of Digital Transformation. After two years, it was time to check-in on the digital transformation landscape again to learn how companies are changing, what challenges they’re facing now and what opportunities they’ve uncovered. The 2016 State of Digital Transformation includes key findings from that research, including the latest facts and figures on the top drivers, challenges and best practices of companies undergoing digital transformation.

Recently, I moderated a webinar where Brian presented key findings from his report and answered questions from digital strategists and marketing leaders responsible for driving digital transformation at their organizations (listen to the recording here). We couldn’t get to all of the questions that were sent in while we were on the line, so I interviewed Brian afterward to ensure no question was left behind. As these questions are likely similar to those you may have, we thought it best to provide the response on Prophet Thinking so all of our readers can benefit.

Your Questions on Digital Transformation Answered

1. Who is typically leading digital transformation at organizations?

According to our survey, digital transformation is largely led by the CMO (34%). Not far behind, though, is a digitally savvy generation of CEOs who, at 27%, recognize that it’s time to lead their companies into the 21st century (see page 11). This is a number that we expect to grow in the coming years.

2. How can I better understand how to measure/assess customers’ satisfaction along the customer journey?

When companies measure satisfaction they often use an array of existing metric systems (NPS to CSAT) or other homegrown KPIs to capture moments or transactions; but, these can’t gauge the overall customer experience.

If we consider CX to be the sum of all parts during a customer’s journey, then someone (a governing body) must be able to assess individual touchpoints and determine how those touchpoints add up collectively to whichever standard we are agreeing to measure. There are new types of metrics that can be introduced, but it starts with deciding what that benchmark standard should be. Shared experience value, happiness, and connectedness are metrics that matter and you’ll need a mechanism to capture how you measure on the standard for which you’re setting out to deliver. It’s a time for innovation on this front.

3. I find that many companies are still mired in old compensation models based on KPIs that don’t take digital efforts into account. Did you find that successful companies had changed compensation models as well?

There are a variety of interesting experiments in this regard, indeed, most operational elements are dated. This includes everything from process to measurement to reward and everything in between. Companies that are pushing innovation in this area are beginning to experiment with alternative management models which ask employees to work together toward different standards for innovating the processes they manage – this is changing review and reward mechanisms as a result.

For example, management is held accountable for bringing forward and implementing new ideas. Employees are responsible for discovering or considering new opportunities. This goes all the way up to the C-suite as a means of changing what a company values and how people work toward those desired outcomes.

4. Do you also experience that ‘innovation’ is ambiguous?

Most companies believe they are innovative simply because they are doing things they weren’t doing before or investing in new technology and bringing in new expertise to implement and manage it. But, my research shows that most companies are actually investing in iteration vs. innovation, and the differences between them are huge. I define iteration as doing the same things better. Innovation is doing new things that unlocks new value for your customers. Only one of those can lead to disruption, which is doing new things over time that make the old things obsolete.

5. What approach would you suggest for companies looking to create a digital customer experience strategy?

You should check out a report I published earlier this year, “How Businesses are Taking the OPPOSITE Approach to Digital Transformation.” In this report, I provide best practices that are guiding today’s successful organizations through their digital transformation efforts.

6. With over 3,000 solutions, the marketing technology landscape is a real nightmare. How do you navigate to find your way to the digital content management and distribution solutions?

Companies need to figure out their key objectives before trying to figure out the tools they need to support them. There are two resources I recommend checking out. My Altimeter colleague, Omar Akhtar published a report this year “Choosing the Tools for a Unified Content Strategy” which will help you navigate the intimidating landscape of content tools by creating clarity around your strategy, identifying gaps and requirements in your content operations, and providing a framework for rating tools that make the final cut.

Also, you should read an article I wrote with LinkedIn, “Attention is a Currency.” In the article we reveal that only 20% of companies are aligning content to the customer journey. People don’t want to just see content; they want content that will take them to the next step. This report helps you to see content differently: 63% of consumers that they may deflect brands due to irrelevant content, 41% say they would consider ending the relationship with a brand because of irrelevant content, 22% said they already have.

7. Can you give an example of a company that has completed a digital transformation and provide an example of how it has tangibly improved its business?

The 2014 State of Digital Transformation report offers many examples of companies who have successfully executed digital transformation to drive business impact.

8. How is digital transformation realized in big companies (more than 5000 employees)?

The Six Stages of Digital Transformation report is a great resource for you to review for more information about this. This report shares the six phases that serve as a digital maturity blueprint to guide purposeful and advantageous digital transformation.

9. Have you seen any effective reverse mentoring programs designed to bridge the gap?

I’ve seen many interesting programs on this front, and have witnessed first-hand GE’s reverse mentoring program. There are many articles written about it – I suggest this would be a great place to start. Here’s one you should check out.

Do you have more questions about digital transformation? Send your questions to us on Twitter to: Altimeter (@AltimeterGroup), Brian Solis (@BrianSolis) or Lindsay Malone (@LZOMalone). If you’re interested in learning how Altimeter can help you with your digital transformation initiatives, reach out to us here.


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