There is no doubt that because of the Pandemic, Organizations of all kinds have been forced to accelerate digital technology initiatives and to expedite their digital transformation journey.
With some many needs across the organization and (most likely) very lean budgets, it can be really difficult to determine which digital initiatives to invest on and what to do first.
To make the most impact and to obtain the highest ROI possible, digital transformation initiatives should be prioritized based on the following three main criteria:
Increasing revenues. Invest in digital technologies and initiatives that will help you driving more business. Improving areas like your Website, E-commerce capabilities, digital marketing strategies and implementation of digital multi-channel platforms, should be a priority. Perform a self-assessment of your current client facing digital channels to determine where to start. Enable analytics and gain understanding on what clients and prospects in your industry are looking for, and the expectations they have in digital interaction. Benchmarking is valid; if one of your competitors is excelling at digital client interaction, it is valid to benchmark adding your own flavor to get you going, and then gradually understanding what works best and what can be further improved.
Optimizing Costs. Review your current processes top to bottom and try to find opportunities for tasks that are good candidates to be automated. Repetitive tasks are a natural candidate for artificial intelligence, machine learning and robot process automation. Internal and external interactions and documentation processing can be hugely optimized with the latest natural language processing (NLP) tools. Robot Process Automation (RPA) is a great way to automate back office and some front office processes efficiently and safely. There are opportunities in every process and department if you know how to look for them. Involve your team in the process asking them what the biggest pains are in their day-to-day jobs. Evaluate if those tasks really need to be fully performed by a person. A very effective approach is to develop a hybrid process, where most of the task is performed by an automated routine based on ML or RPA (or both) and then a person checks and verifies results at the end. In time, you will find opportunities to automate the full process. In this fashion you will free-up resources for more important and higher impact business activities and will save costs in the long run.
Improving customer experience. Spare no effort in keeping your current customer base happy. Leveraging digital technologies, you can access insights about your customers otherwise rarely evident. Nowadays, your clients have an expectation of interacting digitally with your business (on top of other traditional channels) whenever they choose so. Improving the customer experience of your digital channels ensuring you exceed expectations, is a no-brainer investment. Deploying Customer insights platforms powered by AI will give you a better understanding and opportunity to meet your customers’ expectations, creating loyalty and long-term client relationships.
Once you have determined which initiatives to tackle first, maximize and measure the value of your digital transformation efforts. If not approaching development this way, adopt an agile approach not only to the software development side of the equation, but also in how you approach the overall digital initiatives lifecycle and success/failure perspective. Ensure you and your team incorporate and adopt a build-test-fail-pivot mindset to ensure you end up with the best outcome possible and to maximize your efforts and budgets.
Validate your initial assumptions and measure each initiative’s value and effort systematically. Evaluate and prioritize all your ideas through these parameters: increased revenues or market share, customer experience value and cost and resources savings.
Choosing what to digitize is tough with so many priorities. Consider also obtaining technology agnostic external advice (this is important to avoid getting biased or limited advice from vendor specific technology service offerings) which can provide perspective and a fresh pair of eyes, increasing the options at your disposal and helping you maximizing your investments in digital transformation initiatives.