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Most Businesses Have it Wrong, Transition vs Transformation

Every day we help Customers move their data, business processes and operations into the Cloud. And we are surprised, and disappointed quite frankly, at how many initially come to us saying “we have gone through a digital transformation”. Really all they have done is move their email system from on premise servers, into the Cloud. Or centralized their data storage into a Cloud solution. In these cases, the businesses have simply used new technology to replicate an existing system or process. That is not Digital Transformation, that is Digital Transition.

Digital transformation is fundamentally different. Digital transformation is when a business takes advantage of the technology available to change, improve and streamline their business. Not purely replicate an existing system or process. For example, digital transition is moving your internal communication systems like email and chat to a more modern cloud-based solution, while keeping the same organizational structure of teams. Digital transformation is leveraging current collaboration tools and systems to bring together teams of people across departments or physical locations to work collectively and virtually, removing the need to hire someone in the same physical location to fill a role. You open up your pool of qualified candidates to anyone across the country, not just within a 100 km radius. That is a fundamental transformation. There are three core areas of a business that digital transformation can impact, Customer Experience, Internal Operations and Business Model. I am going to focus on Customer Experience. A digital transformation of your Customer Experience does not mean redesigning your website to make it look nicer, but rather something like;

  • Leveraging online chat with live customer service agents and chat bots who can help customers 24/7/

  • Deploying an online web portal which allows customers to place orders, pay bills or open and view support tickets and self serve their needs.

  • Rolling out a mobile app where customers can consume or interact with your product or service, anywhere at anytime.

I know this example is very much overused, but the idea of phoning a cab company to request a car is laughable for most people. Just use an app to place the request, see how far away the car is and pay. That is the digital transformation of how a cab customer experience has evolved and improved. Think about a great experience you had recently interacting with another businesses. What enabled that great experience? How did it make you feel? Two years ago when I needed the cable company to come to my home I got a 6-hour appointment window and had to wait around the whole time for the Technician to arrive. That experience was much different recently. Now a 2-hour window and I got a text message on the appointment day with a link to see who the Technician was and where he was. It felt like a more personal service experience and I could plan my day better. Now think about the experience your customers have interacting with you. Do they have to phone you to book an appointment? Do they send emails requesting updates on support tickets? Do you Mail invoices and receive payment by checks? These are all areas where technology can improve the customer experience while also changing how you operate. If your competitors transform before you, will your Customers hang around doing business with you the “old way” or will they come to expect a modern customer experience and look to others to provide it? Even the local family owned taxi companies now have apps that allow them to look and feel like Uber. The hard reality is, adapt or die off. Digital transformation can be hard because change is hard. There are lots of reasons not to change. “I don’t know what the options are.” “It’s probably too expensive.” “It all sounds so complicated and confusing.” If this is how you feel, give us a call. We can have a chat and discuss ideas and options, and provide guidance on how you can prevent your Customers migrating away. Instead let's work on having your Competitors Customer migrate to you.