Carving a definitive disruptive path through the digital landscape

8th February 2017

Steve Shakespeare outlines the steps for organisations who do not wish to be constantly playing catch-up in our digital world.

Digital transformation is not a new topic. It’s something we’ve been talking about for some time. This is because, in tomorrow’s economy, every sector is a tech sector and it’s those that seize the opportunity and deliver efficiencies, improve customer experiences and better outcomes who will break away from the pack. Understanding this, the UK government has confirmed £4.7 billion of funding for the development of new technologies to make the UK a digital leader.

But in an increasingly uncertain world, where new digital skills and requirements are emerging at break-neck speed, knowing which steps to take and in which order can be a challenge for organisations who do not wish to be constantly playing catch-up.

Being future-proofed requires an understanding of what consumers want today and tomorrow – omni-channel interactions, connected devices, impeccable customer service, instant responses, self-service and engaging user experiences. Organisations must also build their ecosystem, to not only meet these evolving demands, but also connect and integrate into others. But it is the ability to predict and react to these demands that is crucial; those who do this well will come out on top.

Consider the General Register Office of Northern Ireland. The organisation itself is hundreds of years old but its new digital ancestry service, which was created as part of the wider NI Direct programme for government, has allowed it to evolve its service and connect to a new global audience. Already they are generating over 15,000 orders per month and 100 orders per hour from searches spanning over nine million records and generating new revenue stream of over £5 million. Meanwhile, transport firm FirstGroup, has developed an innovative way to bring together customer data and operational information to help reduce delays, improve the passenger experience and enhance customer satisfaction. With a single customer view, FirstGroup has helped improve resolution times in its customer service centres, while their operational alerts system is putting up-to-the-minute information in the hands of employees and customers.

To carve your definitive disruptive path through this digital landscape, we recommend the following key steps:

Define the art of the possible

While it’s often an isolated business case which triggers investment in digital transformation, it’s important to take a step back to see the bigger strategic picture. Involve different business and IT stakeholders in the planning process.Identify the new opportunities available to your business and then consider how you can evolve your digital platform to deliver the required outcomes. Reviewing your digital maturity assessment and building a formal roadmap is vital before you take any steps forward.

Invest in strategic and value-adding partnerships

Partners play a clear role in significant transformation programmes such as these, helping to define the art of the possible, validate the business case and fill skills gaps. The best partners offer more than just technology though, helping an organisation to shape its digital journey around its specific needs but then also offering strategic advice, reliable solutions and technical support at every step of the journey. All of which is essential if you are to disrupt your own market and build the right digital platform on which to grow your business.

Create a more compelling experience

Making use of big data with comprehensive analytics is the foundation of any strong and unique digital offering. Tying together all of your relevant information to create a single view of your customer interactions will not only improve the end-user experience, but also unlock data to enable better informed business decisions and uncover new revenue making opportunities. Use this information alongside user demand analysis and research to deliver a far richer digital experience for your customers

Build a richer digital journey to exceed customer expectations

While most organisations’ digital experiences are in-line with others in their industry, almost everyone is behind the expectations of their customers. The most successful organisations are those who take the initiative to disrupt the status quo to exceed customer demands.They prioritise customer experience and make it part of their strategic mindset, as well as their day-to-day mantra. Investment in the latest UX and design principles, customisable software and user-centred applications to deliver integrated and efficient multi-channel digital services is key to setting the new bar.

Commit to consistency and continuous improvement

Investing in innovation is only worth doing if you’re able to ensure that business-as-usual operations can continue. Ensure your business critical applications continue to perform and deliver by placing them in reliable and secure managed services. At the same time, it’s also important to continuously improve to drive further efficiencies, monitor user behaviours etc. Digital disruption isn’t a single project, it’s an ever- evolving strategic journey that the entire c-suite should collaborate on. The need to be more creative, more disruptive and faster will only increase as time goes on.

Digital disruption has become – and will continue to be the new normal. According to Forrester by 2020 all businesses will either become a digital predator or prey. To avoid becoming the latter, organisations must find new ways to deliver value for the end-to-end customer experiences they offer. With just three years until that date, and with UK digital industries growing 32% faster than the wider economy, now is most certainly the time to start carving that definitive disruptive path before you are left behind.

Steve Shakespeare, Executive Director, Civica Digital

Steve Shakespeare, Executive Director at Civica