Optimising digital assets through the Digital Factory
The Digital Factory Dinner took place on 26 April 2018 at The Gherkin. It was held in partnership with Acquia and aimed to answer the question of how to deliver great digital experiences in 2018.
Acquia focuses on how to help customers build great digital experiences that are efficient, as well as cost effective. They were, therefore, well suited to discuss the best strategies to implement a successful digital experience that benefits both the business and the customer.
Topics of discussion included:
- How is the delivery of great digital experiences becoming more complex?
- What is the key to competitive advantage when brands are all consistently aiming to ‘wow’ with digital experiences?
- What governance challenges are presented in a global, multi-brand environment?
- What is the best approach to reduce complexity and standardise processes across multiple brands, sites and campaigns?
Fear of Failure
According to Forbes, 84% of digital transformation initiatives fail. One reason for this is the employees; both in terms of the IT team’s competencies and the general computer proficiency required from non-IT staff. It’s hard to find the right people, with the right skillset, to effectively implement digital transformation.
A second reason is that traditionally, customer data is siloed. Access to shared data is a key tool to help companies bring in new consumers, as well as effectively compete.
So, what approaches are needed to ensure that your digital transformation is in the 16% that succeed?
Digital transformation aims to improve the user experience; counter-intuitively, companies must look inwards to achieve outwardly great service.
It’s surprisingly difficult to get your company on board with new digital initiatives. Although employees of non-digital companies understand that they need digital, many don’t understand why. But why is important - digital strategies incur big costs, with more long-term gains than short-term; digital teams are faced with the task of constantly proving their value and purpose.
One of our attendees at the dinner mentioned that a constant struggle for her digital team was proving their value to their colleagues on a day-to-day basis.
As digital integrates itself to a greater extent with the inner workings of an organisation, the power it exerts will become more political, and upset more people. Great communication is needed to bring employees to peace with the change.
Power of Simplicity
Simplify your procedures as much as possible. Often, the process becomes so complex that it’s possible to lose sight of what a user experience initiative is meant to achieve.
Additionally, it’s common for teams to find themselves under pressure to achieve tangible outcomes in a short period of time. This leads to teams rushing their digital transformations and under delivering, which is bad not only for the organisation, but also for the consumer.
One strategy of Acquia’s is to crawl, not walk, when starting digital transformations. Digital transformations today will be the foundations for more tomorrow; it’s important to get them right. Others advocate a race to exploit new opportunities - to ‘move fast and break things.’ The right approach will surely depend on the culture of individual organisations.
Although it is important to benefit from the increasing advantages of new technologies, you must also ensure that the strategies that you’re implementing now have the ability to scale in the future. It’s important to get the procedures right now because future strategy will be built upon this foundation.
Getting to the ‘Wow!’
Having non-complex, scaleable digital transformation strategies is key to achieving a great user experience; but what should the user experience aim to achieve?
Ideally, a successful user experience journey would ‘wow’ the consumer by being consistent, trusted, and reliable. For example, from the perspective of the banking industry, achieving that wow factor is as easy as going back to the basics.
A consumer being able to make payments, view their statements, and transfer money at any given moment they choose is a successful user journey. But this could differ from what the consumer views as a wow factor. For them, it may be doing all of the above, but via facial recognition. So how do you achieve a solid middle ground?
Frictionless User Experience
In order for the business and consumer to get the most out of new digital strategies, you must remove the pain points and make the customer journey as seamless as possible.
If I have a problem with my phone provider that I discuss over the phone, and then must go into the store to solve it, I shouldn’t have to repeat what I said over the phone in store. Employees in store should be prepared to make the experience easy and efficient.
Uber can be considered a success in delivering this frictionless user experience as they remove the pain points apparent in the black taxi service. When I book an Uber I can do it from anywhere; I don’t need to walk outside a tube stop, where I’ll have a better chance of hailing a taxi. I’ll know exactly when the car is arriving and a good estimate of how much it will cost. And the added bonus? It’s much cheaper than a cab. Much to the chagrin of the taxi industry, Uber has been a success because of this effortless user journey.
While there are some factors of Uber’s business model that could be reviewed (such as pay rates for drivers), there’s no doubt that the success of these disruptors has encouraged competition and improved a user’s experience by providing the same service for a lower cost.
Uber has highlighted some of the costs of black taxis, whilst Airbnb has disrupted the hotel market. Consumer’s wouldn’t choose to go over to Uber and Airbnb if black taxis and hotels still offered the most competitive rates.
It’s clear these tech ‘unicorns’ are changing the market, so how will the traditional models adapt? Newcomers and legacy companies alike have the potential to create a great user experience if they approach their data and strategy in the right way.
First and foremost is identifying what the customer wants and needs, and guiding your journey from there.
 Rogers, B. (2016). Why 84% of Companies Fail at Digital Transformation. Forbes, [online]. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucerogers/2016/01/07/why-84-of-companies-fail-at-digital-transformation/#36c17702397b. [Accessed 27 April, 2018].