Arguably, one of the most overused technology buzz-phrases is “digital transformation.” It means many things to many people, and often the so-dubbed project doesn't result in anything transformative. So we advise IT leaders frequently on a.) what qualifies as a digital transformation; b.) how to make sure a transformation actually happens; ie, how to get there, both from an organizational and technological perspective.
Learn more about digital transformation from the Nemertes Research report here.
First, what qualifies as digital transformation? Three key steps:
1.) The innovative application of technology. It could be a new technology or one that already exists within an organization. The key is how it's applied.
2.) The application of said technology improves or creates a process, product, or experience.
3.) The improvement or creation ultimately drives value. Value drivers typically are measurable and include increasing revenue, decreasing costs, improving customer experience, bolstering employee productivity, or attracting and retaining talented employees.
Second, how can you make sure the transformation happens? There are several success factors, including good leadership, appropriate budget, staff expertise, technology selection, analytics, solid project management, and agile development are among some of the factors we have tracked in our research. In fact, we segmented a “success group” in our 2016-17 Digital Transformation and IT Futures research and evaluated what the success group did differently than the non-success group.
Although successful companies adopt numerous technologies, one behavior was consistent: Successful companies invest more heavily on foundational technologies, including Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC), WAN services, and infrastructure. They make sure they have built a strong foundation to enable transformation to happen.
Among all the technologies, successful companies invest in UCC 72% more than those in the unsuccessful group. The reasons are obvious: A solid communication and collaboration ecosystem enables employees to make quick decisions, become more competitive, serve customers better, attract new employees. For example, if remote employees must make a design decision on a new product, a combination of video, web conferencing, team collaboration, or audio conferencing will enable them to make a quick decision. This not only reduces travel costs, it gets an innovative product to market sooner—beating the competition and increasing revenue.
Companies can extend webchat or video technology to customers to bolster the service they receive. For example, a financial-services firm can use WebRTC to share presence information of key account liaisons to give employees quick answers. This may raise customer satisfaction scores, impressing Wall Street and boosting stock prices.
Similarly, contact centers may use analytics to detect key words in conversations that indicate a disgruntled customer, or one that is about to buy something. That can guide an agent to say the right things to please the customer or close a sale.
Well-designed mobile communications apps may attract young employees who view a company's technology strategy as a core benefit of the job. At the same time, existing employees may stay longer, reducing turnover and the associated costs. The benefits of collaboration to transforming a company are endless. That's why it's imperative that these real-time apps work properly. I have researched this space for years, and all too often, IT professionals think they can effectively manage UCC with platform tools. However, app performance and operational costs drop substantially when they use specialty performance management tools.
My next blog will review the specific improvements in operational costs when performance management tools are in use. But the bottom line:
• Digital Transformation is real. If you're not transforming your organization, your competitors are—and you'll be left behind.
• Successful companies know a top-performing UCC ecosystem is crucial for success.
• Keeping UCC at A-1 performance requires performance management tools.