By Leigh Segall, CMO of Smart Communications

For nearly every innovation-centric organization, digital transformation was a top-trending buzzword in 2018 and while many get excited about the endless possibilities that come with digital transformation, the process can seem daunting when the necessary steps appear as long as your holiday shopping list. It’s important to understand that digital transformation isn’t about demolishing all your current technologies and starting from scratch. Instead, it’s a time to reflect on past behaviors and processes. Organizations that get this right not only focus on the construction of a new strategy that responds to ever-changing customer needs; they also build their strategies as continuous journeys and not one-time events

As we head into a new year, here are some ways to take a proactive approach toward digital transformation.

Make a List and Check it Twice

First, you’ll want to identify a list of action items to begin your digital transformation journey. Starting with a few target capabilities will jump-start your innovation process. This list will become your “digital roadmap,” highlighting small-scale digital initiatives that give you an easy, manageable place to start. Once you’ve gained a comprehensive understanding of what needs to be accomplished and which projects are already in play, include a cost-benefit analysis on how these steps will allow your organization to gain market share, increase loyalty, and beat out the competition.

Conduct a Capabilities Audit

Having trouble identifying digital gaps within your organization? Conduct a capabilities audit to establish a 360-degree view into the effectiveness of existing tools and procedures. Which applications are siloed? How much visibility do you have into the conversations happening with customers from across your enterprise? What are some common customer experience challenges? Where do you stand in the industry against your competitors? Taking proper time to understand and appreciate your business needs will lead to tangible insights that will further drive the success of your digital transformation efforts.

Establish Customer Experience Councils

As the role of customer support functions evolves to cover more communication channels and disciplines, the quality of your customer experience (CX) should encompass a full range of support and service to those who need it. A CX Council provides an open forum that allows team members to discuss what’s working and what’s not. These discussions help determine the ultimate digital vision for next year. Make sure to include a variety of key stakeholders across various functions, including IT, Customer Service, Marketing, Sales and Operations. Review initial priorities with a lens toward leveraging this Council to continue building future iterations of both the strategy and the action plan. By building this function as a cross-departmental committee, you’ll not only generate better ideas and buy-in; you’ll also demonstrate to the business the value of treating digital transformation as a continuous area of focus.

Take a Customer-First Strategy Approach

If you’re struggling with the “how to” element of your digital transformation strategy, you’re in good company! While we rarely hear from a company that hasn’t listed digital transformation as a key priority, it’s just as rare for us to speak with organizational leaders that believe their work here is done! As you plan for 2019, recognize that defining digital transformation in the context of what your customers seek and expect is key. So too is building a manageable action plan that helps you migrate – step by step – toward better processes to meet those needs. If you’re interested in hearing more about how leading companies across industries are getting this right, contact us! We’ll include you in a couple upcoming events designed to showcase great work around the world.

Ready to jump-start your digital transformation journey in 2019? Contact us today and one of our experienced communications experts will be in touch to discuss your needs.

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