Implementing & adopting technology to enable digital transformation

by Abhik Sengupta

While technology can be a great enabler for growth amidst digital transformation, it comes with implementation and adoption challenges that could hinder progress towards customer-centricity. How can businesses navigate the complexity of legacy data, infrastructure and people constraints to deliver intuitive technology solutions to employees and customers?

At our recent Enterprise Growth Transformation summit, we explored five key shifts that enterprises typically navigate as they transform. The first is reorganising the business around the changing customer, followed by integrating and digitising marketing, sales and service and transforming mindsets and capabilities. In this blog post, we explore the fourth shift – implementing and adopting new technology to enable transformational growth.



Implementation & adoption challenges

Increasingly tech-savvy customers demand a consistent experience from enterprises, irrespective of the channel they connect in. However, today’s organisations are often hindered by a complex web of technology and systems, preventing them from providing the quality and consistency of experience their customers expect. Conversely, business leaders are often not equipped to make technology trade-offs, and scars from previous “silver bullet” implementations lead to a degree of scepticism, or even outright cynicism, about how new platforms will impact employee experience. 
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Business and IT working together

Businesses and IT need to partner to address these implementation and adoption challenges. Business leaders need to be tech savvy and take accountability for technology decisions and IT need to act like business owners, while simultaneously building a technical architecture that enables innovation and evolution.

Blackdot has identified a six-step approach to manage both implementation and adoption challenges.

IMPLEMENTATION

1. Build a single digital backbone across all channels

Ensure that your employees have the same data, functionality and user experience as your face-to-face interactions are consistent with customer digital self-service.
 
2. Choose platforms, not systems

Your systems of engagement are crucial to enable an omni-channel experience.It is important to choose a platform that is future-fit, rather than a technology or system that is fit for purpose today. Having a strong ecosystem will allow you to innovate and move faster in the future.
 
3. Build an integration layer to decouple systems of innovation / experience from systems of record

You want to be able to make rapid changes at the front-end, but back-end systems might hold you back due to complexity and compliance. An integration layer is required to decouple the front-end systems of innovation from back-end systems of record.

ADOPTION

4. Make the business accountable for technology decisions

Technology decisions need to be led by the business, in the context of business imperatives, so you need to find the right calibre of business leader who is tech savvy and supportive of digital innovation to make these decisions and are accountable for the implementation.
 

5. Converge the DNA of IT and the business

Business and IT have to partner to address implementation and adoption challenges. As a result, both sides need to have an aptitude and understanding for the other and speak a common language.
 

6. Solve real frontline problems early

As we have highlighted previously in this series , sequencing the technology implementation to solve real frontline problems early, will give employees the proof points they need to get behind the change.

The role of technology in enterprise transformation

Every transformation is different and is dependent on a myriad of external and internal factors, such as buyer evolution, digital disruption, changes in technology, competitor actions, regulatory pressures, management capacity, organisational capability and internal complexity.  The best transformation path will depend on where your business currently sits in its maturity process.

Technology implementation and adoption is particularly relevant to organisations that identify with Pathway 1, 2 or 3 in the Blackdot Operational Maturity/Business Imperative (OMBI) framework.
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Pathway 1 – Disciplined Start

Organisations in Pathway 1 are typically in the early stages of transformation, with a low business imperative and low operational maturity. The main challenge they face is how to kickstart transformation initiatives.  A common practice for many organisations in this pathway is to embark a series of agile “fail-fast” pilots designed to prove to the business that there is tangible value in this different way of working. If fail-fast pilots do not deliver material commercial return or benefit, they often lose the ability to continue into subsequent pilots because they have not demonstrated significant value to really capture the business’ attention. We believe there is a faster way to success – planning “win-fast” pilots that pursue a more material business outcome. 

From a technology perspective, the most important priority in pathway 1 is to build a detailed future state capability blueprint and supporting technology architecture to guide technology choices and tradeoffs made along the way.

Pathway 2 – Rapid Operational Reinvention

Organisations in Pathway 2 have a high business imperative arising from an internal or external challenge.  It may be a change of leadership, or the rise of disruptive competitive or even elevated regulatory scrutiny.  It may even come bottom up as frontline staff recognise the evolving customer need.  As a result, the organisation is highly motivated to transform, but sometimes doesn’t have the right enablers in place to make the transformation proceed at at speed.

This is where following the implementation steps above can be highly beneficial.  Setting up the right technology architecture and choosing robust future fit platforms can unleash existing organisational momentum and enable the transformation to proceed further and faster.

Pathway 3 - Organisational Reset

In Pathway 3 the challenge is winning back frontline trust and belief.  From a technology perspective, this is largely an adoption, rather than implementation, challenge, as we learn to drive the proverbial Ferrari that is stuck in the garage.

Our best practice approach is to drill down into the employee experience and address the biggest pain points first. The frontline will appreciate that their problems are being addressed and they will start to realise value from the platform. By improving the employee experience, you can unlock a better customer experience.  Concurrently it is important to use the transformation program as a means to uplift the capabilities of existing business and technology staff and selectively recruit new staff where the capability cannot be grown internally.
 
What’s next?

While the end game in enterprise transformation is compelling, it’s often compromised by short-termism, distractions and changing priorities. In our next blog, we explore the fifth and final shift – embedding and continuous improvement.

Find out more

For a more comprehensive view of how to achieve customer-centric transformation through the five key shifts of Customer Strategy, Customer Process, People & Capability, Technology, and Execution Excellence, please download our Enterprise Growth Transformation white paper.