Companies have been pursuing digital transformation initiatives with great interest over the years, driven by a willingness to let technology lead change across every facet of the organization. And yet, technology itself is only a foundational tool with which company leaders can affect and influence change. What matters most is how it impacts a company’s most important audiences: its employees and its customers.
We don’t just build technology for technology’s sake. Rather, we use it as a lever to improve a user’s experience with our company – those moments that impact perception, motivation and trust through the course of an employee or customer journey. And in times of great adversity like the Covid-19 pandemic, digital transformation can be an empowering force for organizational success. Whether your focus is on simplifying day-to-day workflows for employees or delighting customers with a great service experience, you must find new ways to innovate as you move down the digital transformation lifecycle.
ServiceNow recently interviewed several customers to see how they navigated this turbulent business environment. Here we reveal four key insights from the virtual conference Knowledge 2020 Digital Experience.
- Optimize Your Path Through the Digital Transformation Lifecycle
Digital transformation can be a liberating experience during a crisis, as it serves to remove “friction points” between employees, customers and partners when it’s needed the most. Tough times provide an ideal opportunity to innovate, and technology is the perfect lever to smooth over friction among common business processes. Your goal should be to roll out technology to customers and employees in a way that simplifies usability, empowers productivity and speeds the adoption of digital tools.
For employees, one of the key success factors lies in your ability to deliver a consumerized experience in the workplace, such as streamlining how to find relevant policies online and how to best utilize digital tools to be more collaborative. For customers, you must strive to provide consistency across the user experience, and not only online. Every moment of interaction should be stitched together with a common thread – from clear and concise product packaging and delivery to proactive communications and convenient online support.
- Create a Personal and Satisfying Digital Experience
Effective digital transformation encompasses more than technology adoption. It also addresses the emotional aspects of the customer and employee journey. Workers follow a long and arduous path through employment, from recruitment and onboarding to ramping up professionally, optimizing contribution, transitioning through career development and undergoing a graceful offboarding when the time comes. At every point in this journey, employees desire things like fairness, productivity, relevance, engagement, purpose and growth. Digital transformation can empower all of these things and make the employee experience one they will always appreciate.
Similarly, your customers have personal desires that need to be met. They want to feel closer to your sales, marketing and support teams. They want to feel curious, committed and delighted with your products and your approach, and they want full visibility into the process. That generates customer loyalty, and the digitization of their journey is the key ingredient.
And remember that it’s all about building a connected customer experience. As Richard Branson says, “If you take care of your employees, they’ll take care of your customers.”
- Recognize IT’s Growing Strategic Role
Information technology isn’t just about being a utility or “keeping the lights on.” It’s a strategic, enabling function that powers digital transformation and delivers real value to customers and employees. IT teams must work hand in hand with business operations to plan where, when and how to deploy things like productivity and collaboration tools so they have peak impact on the workforce.
IT must also be seen as more than just a vehicle to achieve digital transformation; it can also lead the effort. IT’s strategic role includes educating the c-suite, illustrating the value of solutions and demonstrating clear ROI. Your insights should be featured early and often in the digital transformation conversation.
- Technology Preparedness Keeps You Agile
The wave of an unpredictable crisis like Covid-19 can be overwhelming, but good digital preparedness is a potent enabler, making it easier for you to execute effectively and avoid shooting in the dark when answers are not always immediately apparent. It’s a process: from your day-one response to deploying the right digital tools, recovering from disruption and driving positive long-term change.
Good preparation paid off for these companies in an ability to be more agile. Even when having to change course with various business processes such as eliminating in-person meetings or handling a spike in customer support needs, they were able to innovate and adapt to maintain a robust employee and customer experience. Making technology actionable helped to connect workflows and ensure business continuity when it really counted.
Conclusion: Sometimes It Takes a Crisis
Sometimes it takes a crisis situation to reveal the true importance of digital transformation. For these companies, it was exhilarating to see planning and collaboration come together to yield rapid execution, faster decision making and a universally consumerized digital experience. The most successful and resilient companies are the ones who are not only able to digitize their business workflows in times of crisis, but who rise to the occasion to craft innovative customer experiences that define a commitment to the audiences that matter most.