Demystifying Digital Transformation
Is your business undergoing a “digital transformation”? What does that mean to you?
The 2016 State of Digital Transformation Report from Altimeter defines digital transformation as:
The realignment of or investment in new technology, business models, and processes to drive value for customers and employees and more effectively compete in an ever-changing digital economy.
CIO.com describes it as:
The use of cloud, mobile, analytics and other emerging technologies to stimulate business growth.
To me, digital transformation means:
Embracing new processes and digital technologies to provide a better customer experience.
“Digital transformation” still means different things to different people. When it comes to this topic, we can get on the same page by relating it to emerging trends we’re seeing in business and technology.
Digital Transformation Trends
Let’s break “digital transformation” down into six directives based on current trends.
1. Let Customer Experience drive decisions.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen a trend of monitoring complete user flows instead of single pages. This is because more teams are leaning on user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX) to drive digital conversions and revenue. As such, more businesses are devoting resources to monitoring the speed and reliability of key pieces of the customer journey. Design CX with performance in mind. Use performance data to improve customer experiences.
2. Align technology with key business results.
While CX should drive decisions, it must be tied to key business results. We must know exactly what metrics matter to our business. We must put technology in place to support those key results.
Therefore, when evaluating vendors, avoid feature-to-feature comparisons. Consider how the technology will support key results. Do you need to reduce the render time of your web app to drive more conversions? Great! Look for a tool to provide actionable insights and recommendations. If your technology monitors the problem, but doesn’t help you improve it, it doesn’t align with your business needs.
3. Break down internal silos
Traditionally, large organizations have operated with many siloed teams. Those teams haven’t always collaborate directly. They would have relied on the direction of management to achieve common business goals.
Digital transformation breaks down those silos. While teams work more closely together, managers become facilitators instead of directors. As such, we’re seeing more teams collaborating directly and sharing cross-functional initiatives. Now more than ever, technology platforms must be accessible for both business and DevOps users. Multiple departments need to review and share the same data. Look for software platforms that deliver powerful, technical solutions with easy-to-use, shareable reports.
4. Enable remote workforces.
Employees want to work remotely. As a result, employers are adapting to accommodate. We’re seeing companies like Air-watch offering Enterprise-grade security for personal devices. Enterprise organizations are adopting cloud-based chat, video, and collaboration services that used to be considered only for startups or small teams.
Keep in mind remote work only works if a team’s tools are fast and reliable. Include performance as a criteria when evaluating tools to enable remote workforces.
5. Manage APIs.
Application program interfaces (APIs) help us pass data back and forth between disparate systems. Companies may have internal APIs or rely on third-party APIs for critical components of their business. As we use more APIs, we become more dependent on them.
Have a plan for monitoring APIs in action. Confirm that availability and functionality both meet agreed upon service license agreements (SLAs).
6. Innovate faster.
Teams undergoing digital transformation must innovate faster with confidence. From testing and implementing new tools, to pushing new code and releases, the rule is, “Move fast and don’t break things.”
Look for software that’s easy to get up-and-running. Also, incorporate lightweight automations. Use ChatOps to expedite responses. Try Continuous Integration (CI) services to automate testing and prevent defective code from going into delivery. Finally, don’t forget to introduce quality testing earlier in your development process so you can innovate faster with less risk.
Now that we have an idea of some trends and practices that relate to digital transformation, let’s step back to the high-level stats:
- CIOs spend 18% of their budgets in support of digitalization, and analysts expect budgets for digital transformation to increase to 28% in the next two years.
- According to the Altimeter report, 55% percent of those responsible for digital transformation cite “evolving customer behaviors and preferences” as their primary catalyst.
- Only half of the companies studied in the Altimeter report indicated that they have mapped out customer journeys.
People invest significantly in digital transformation efforts with confidence that it will deliver improved customer experience. Yet, not everyone knows exactly what customer experience they want to deliver.
We could claim that CIOs “have the cart before the horse” with digital transformation before CX. However, I’m not 100% sure that’s the case. Are we investing in digital transformation without defining the CX we want to deliver? Or, are we recognizing digital transformation happening around us and realizing that it drives great CX?
To learn more about Rigor’s web performance products and how they can help your digital transformation,