Focusing on the digital problems of today doesn’t prepare you for tomorrow.
As a digital technology consultancy we’re often asked to help clients with the replacement of their existing digital experience platform. Perhaps the old platform is out of support and needs an upgrade, or maybe the whole technology stack is simply too ancient to go any further and an entirely new set of tech is required.
Even though the licencing alone might cost several million dollars, you’d be surprised how often these migrations are described as ‘a simple technology refresh’ or an ‘IT lift and shift’ project. Very often these projects are driven off a business case built on compliance and cost reduction outcomes. While cost and compliance are perfectly valid aspects of funding a technology change, it should always ring alarm bells if that’s all the business case is built on.
Customer experience is too important to be defined by tech alone. Years of experience has taught us that technology projects are doomed to failure if they aren’t accompanied by detailed plans for a new target operating model, optimised for getting the most out of the tech.
Quite often our clients are surprised when we ask about their business strategy when all they want to do is implement what they perceive as a straight forward technology refresh.
The thing is, if you are transitioning from legacy to new technology, there will always be operating model implications. The choice is whether you want to merely become proficient at operating your tech, or whether you want to really use it to change the game.
The world of digital is evolving at a furious pace, and if you are only looking to tackle the problems of today, you’re unlikely to be ready for how things will look in 12 months time. The truth is, if you are merely aiming for proficiency, you are probably setting yourself up to be disrupted by someone else sooner or later.
A few years ago, when digital was just about the tech that ran a web site, it was okay for digital technology investment to sit in a silo, but increasingly digital is becoming the core capability required to execute business strategy. This means digital rarely sits in a neat little box. Invariably there are a multitude of integrations with the wider business ecosystem. Any digital investment needs to be contextualised by asking fundamental business questions like:
- Will you achieve growth by acquiring new customers or growing revenue from existing customers?
- Are you trying to boost brand awareness or brand preference to achieve your goals?
- Are you aiming to directly reduce costs or improve return on investment?
- What does success look like, and how do you plan to measure progress?
These might seem a long way from the work required to implement a technology refresh, but the answers to these questions can dramatically shape the prioritisation and scope of the digital capabilities needed to be successful.
They also provide context to develop the longer term roadmap that charts out the capabilities required from a technology perspective, and more importantly, the new target operating model that you will need to execute your business strategy:
And there’s another extremely compelling reason for digital technology leaders to take the time to work through the full planning lifecycle before getting to work on implementing the new technical solution. By demonstrating clear linkage of your technology investment to execution of business strategy, proven through clear success measurement, it becomes easier to get buy-in for your digital programme from business stakeholders. It moves your digital investment from being an isolated effort that will need to be reluctantly repeated again somewhere down the track, to being a necessary step in a wider programme of digital transformation.
Together with our partners at Sitecore and Nimbus Ninety, we’re hosting a breakfast for digital leaders on 27th September that will explore this lifecycle planning approach to lasting digital change. The session will focus on how this step-by-step process aligns experience with capability. Our facilitators will guide you through the steps to define strategy, build experience, identify the required capabilities and measure success.
Thumbnail photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels