Enablement is a term we’ve seen and heard of a lot in the past 18 months. In fact, it’s become a MarTech ‘buzzword’ that the majority of technology vendors are keen to promote as part of their solutions.
However, what does enablement actually mean when it comes to formulating your digital strategy? And what exactly should a digital enablement strategy look like to achieve accelerated ROI around your digital platform? First thing’s first, by definition, what is enablement?
"...the authority or means to perform an action, in order to execute an operation or process...".
When applied in the context of a digital enablement strategy, this involves managing the change, communications and upskilling required to ensure all business units can effectively deliver the business value required on a digital platform. This can be for any CMS, CIM, CRM, commerce etc. technologies.
Many organisations are immediately taken in by enterprise solutions showcasing their market leading innovations, and the powerful array of features in the sales pitches - seemingly solving all the current and some future pain points their business faces. Fantastic! All problems will be solved! In fact, this can be the first hurdle at which many businesses stumble. Having the right technology is only the beginning of digital transformation within your organisation. As more and more organisations are becoming increasingly global and decentralised, a digital enablement strategy will help amalgamate the operational knowledge, best practices and governance of a technology platform.
The 6 Phases of a digital enablement strategy are identified in the diagram below:
So let's break these down and establish what exactly each phase means for your organisation
Phase 1: Technology Adoption
The key to success of a digital transformation programme is the adoption of the new technology within the organisation. When introducing a quality, stable platform, it is essential that the business is able to utilise the capabilities in order to meet business needs, and scale. Having these new capabilities provides the opportunity to fulfil the BAU requirements of the business. The core business unit leads - marketing, data and content teams - executing these BAU tasks are encouraged to begin educating themselves on the new platform as early as possible, or at least before implementation is complete. This could come in the form of sandbox environments and/or showcase sites, vendor/partner capability demonstrations, and playing a key role in the UAT stage of a project. The objective is to establish that the new platform can fulfill all the current high-level business needs.
Phase 2: Onboarding
Now the new platform is implemented - it’s time to use it. This involves getting the buy-in from all business unit teams, who can often be met with some resistance. The core message that needs to be communicated here is that this is not just a new technology, this also means that there are new ways of working. When onboarding teams to a new digital platform, it is vital that any new business units clearly understand the business objectives and new capabilities, in order to ensure they will be able to align with the target operating model. This can be attained by executing induction workshops/programmes or facilitating ad-hoc support clinics.
Phase 3: Operational Alignment
This could arguably be the most crucial phase. Now the various teams can use the platform’s tools and capabilities, it’s time to start using these tools properly! What do I mean by this? An organisation will adhere to some form of governance strategy or operating model, and this will be true for its digital platform as well. Certain tasks are carried out by certain people. These often go through varying degrees of processes, approvals, or involvement from other stakeholders.
Take, for example, a large, multi-market, multi brand organisation. When deploying a new marketing campaign in a single market, this must conform to the brand identity approvers standards in the global marketing team. Similarly, analytical data of the performance of said campaign should not be available to other markets, or indeed brands, but rather managed by the global data and marketing teams for that particular brand. It’s this kind of governance that provides a clear and simple way to clarify roles, responsibilities, accountabilities and decision rights, so business units can focus their efforts more effectively.
Phase 4: Training & Support
Phase 5: Communication Strategy
In order to ensure that an organisation is delivering the right messages to the right audiences when implementing a new digital platform, there needs to be clear and standardised communication channels within the business. Knowing the audience is key. Effectively guiding an organisation through introducing the platform involves understanding the varying stakeholders, their degree of involvement in the new platform, and the level of personalised detail they require regarding information on how it may affect them and subsequent teams. This also helps ensure stakeholders are informed & engaged with the introduction of the platform, and the ongoing communication around it.
Phase 6: Optimisation & ROI
Now for the best part - what is the ROI? A good enablement programme will reduce the time and cost required to adopt a new technology, as well as the total operational support required from vendors and/or partners. It will also reduce dependency on IT teams to perform BAU tasks. From implementation, an effective digital enablement strategy can reduce support on average, by up to a third!
Furthermore, the knowledge and skill set of all business units significantly increases as a result, as they can now utilise their suite of capabilities on the platform.
Why do you need a digital enablement strategy?
Without an enablement strategy, your digital transformation will not succeed. The risk clearly outweighs the reward. This holistic approach will enable your organisation to champion digital excellence, empower your teams, and achieve greater agility to ultimately scale your business faster.
Coming soon… the launch of our Sitecore Enablement Hub - watch this space!
09 January 2020Josie Klafkowska
06 July 2017Leigh Gammons
17 May 2017Kieron McCann
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