For success with digital be transformational

Businesses are striving to increase customer value and generate growth in the digital sphere. But sometimes the quickest way is to step back and make a plan, according to growth-focused management consultancy Prophet

More than a persistent buzzword, digital transformation continues to be on the top of the C-suite and boardroom agenda.

In fact, 88 per cent of companies are in the midst of such a transformation, according to a survey by Prophet’s analyst arm, Altimeter Group. The problem is that when pressed only 25 per cent say they know why.

Though many businesses have invested in digital for more than a decade, they often have little to show for their investment and are paralysed by the array of options in front of them.

“We frequently find that companies have reached a point where they can’t keep track of all their new channels and initiatives, and what they’re delivering,” says Paul English, Prophet’s European head of digital transformation. “It’s at that point we take a step back, assess the current state and move from there.”

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Prophet’s head of growth Fred Geyer adds: “There is no cookie-cutter approach. Different companies are at different points on the digital maturity model. The road to success begins by understanding where exactly they are and then identifying where they want to go.”

Mr Geyer is referring to the digital maturity model developed by Altimeter Group that serves as a basis for Prophet’s Digital Transformation Diagnostic, a quick assessment of the current state that ends with a road map of opportunities. With its digital maturity road map in hand, a company can structure its transformation. Momentum is built through a rapid launch of quick improvements and the introduction of relatively easy-to-achieve new programmes.

“In the UK and EU, there’s frequently an aversion to ‘big bang’ digital transformation,” says Mr English. “Clients are more interested in transformative results at a number of points across the enterprise, justifying increased investment.”

At the centre of every digital transformation is the need to build the right culture, with leadership from the chief executive, and to equip employees with the tools they need. Around it are four building blocks – bringing in and developing talent, improving processes, using the right tools, and carefully building teams.

Effective digital transformation is characterised by self-awareness, clear vision, careful structure and execution, collaboration, and proper measurement

Companies that thoughtfully and enthusiastically embrace transformation are achieving in-market impact. Domestic appliance giant Electrolux began by examining where it stood in comparison to the industry and where it needed to be. This led to groundbreaking innovation in social media, in-store experience and ownership, supported by extensive learning programmes for employees.

“Electrolux is a company that has embraced digital transformation at the C-Suite level, has worked hard to make it succeed and is now seeing bottom-line results,” says Mr Geyer, who leads the Prophet team that have worked with Electrolux at each step in their digital journey.

Among Prophet‘s other digital transformation clients is Cisco, one of the first businesses to go beyond its success in using social media as a marketing tool. The company is making the successful transition towards social business, where new tools are used to drive the sales team, improve customer service and increase employee collaboration.

“Effective digital transformation is characterised by self-awareness, clear vision, careful structure and execution, collaboration, and proper measurement,” says Mr Geyer. “Getting it right requires focused work, and offers businesses the ability to massively increase customer value and loyalty.”

Mr English concludes: “Above all, successful growth-focused digital transformation initiatives will almost always start with the customer and they’ll never put the technology before that.”

For more information please visit www.prophet.com or call +44 207 836 5885

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