As consumers shift further towards a multichannel approach – whether they are shopping, banking, socialising or even dating – businesses must embrace the digital transformation to futureproof their organisation. Recently the British Bankers’ Association reported that the use of bank branches fell 6% last year as customers embraced internet banking, which has grown 10% year-on-year. Across the board, 87% of companies feel the digital transformation is a competitive opportunity; yet to become true digital enterprises their user-experience must become central to their competitive offering. Bearing this in mind, there are three simple steps that businesses can follow as they strive to achieve this goal.
Step one: Create positive integrated user experiences
The first prerequisite to be successful in the era of multichannel marketplaces, is the ability to deliver a consistent and integrated user experience across all channels, both physical and digital. To reap the benefits of multichannel, companies must create platforms across various channels that deliver exceptional user experiences. In order to do so, they must first fully understand and appreciate the customer experience. This means that they need visibility of the buyer journey from start to finish, across all platforms and devices. Through visibility down to each individual customer transaction and interaction, companies can see where, when and why they are having difficulties and iron out any kinks to ensure they receive a seamless experience through whichever channel they are interacting with the business.
Step two: Stay agile and ahead of the competition
The second step is to implement a business model centred on technology. As such, there is a need to become as nimble as possible to enable quick reactions to market changes. Businesses will need to encourage development and operations teams to work closely together in order to accelerate time to market of new services and improve service or product quality. For this ‘DevOps’ model to be a success and enable business agility, companies must also promote the sharing of data, tools and expertise to elevate the customer experience. Business departments can no longer afford to operate independently, as employees need to work towards shared objectives. As development and operations teams work in tandem, companies will therefore also need the power to track technology issues across multiple departments. Those that successfully remove the walls between business and IT will be able to significantly improve the digital customer experience, become more agile and disruptive, and build steady revenue streams as a result.
Step three: Improve operational efficiency
Finally, as well as improving front-end services; technology should also be used to enhance operations through process digitalisation and performance management on the back-end systems that support them. This approach can streamline the supply chain and enable omnichannel businesses to deliver services and products with greater efficiency.
For example, J.B. Hunt, the US logistics company, uses GPS to gain better visibility of consignments and improve inventory effectiveness. As a result, the company benefits from advanced planning, scheduling and improved communications between employees and customers. In order for digitalised processes such as these to be successful, they must be fully streamlined and integrated with existing processes.
However, this process of digitalisation also exposes companies to the increased chance of a technical failure. When digitalised back-end processes crash they can drastically damage the end user’s experience. For example, if an order capture system collecting details of online purchases for shipment in a retailer’s warehouse goes down; it might only be immediately apparent to employees. However, the effects will soon be felt by customers when their orders are delayed, leaving them disenfranchised with the business. As a result, any problems must be resolved quickly, before the user experience is degraded, so complete visibility into the performance of every aspect of a digital business is essential to maintaining a seamless and consistent customer experience.
Complete the digital transformation
As we enter an increasingly digital age, digital transformation is a question of how and when, rather than if. To maximise the competitive advantage they stand to gain through embracing this shift, companies need to focus on creating positive integrated omnichannel experiences, remaining agile and improving operational efficiencies. To maximise efficiency and the ability to compete in digital marketplaces, technology should enhance all aspects of a business. As a result, visibility across all digital business processes and their impact on the customer experience is crucial. For businesses to succeed in the digital age, they must be digitally managed.
By Michael Allen, Solutions VP, Dynatrace