Get the most of the 21st century roaring twenties
At the start of 2020, 50% of companies were thinking about digitising the customer experience and initiating plans to do so. Today, 80% of companies feel that the roaring twenties of the 21st century will be a matter of winning or getting dumped. They indicate they need to move into digitisation now and that they need to move fast, very fast. And they know a simple upgrade will not do.
Authors: Günther Lemmens & Sonja Noben
Digital acceleration is a business ownership
Business interest is to win the roaring twenties digitisation battle. This means taking the lead in digital customer experiences across multiple channels used by these customers.
The Information technology (IT) department interest is keeping their complex system landscape up and running. Robustness and stability being their credo.
While this seems to be a deadlock situation, it must not be one Günther Lemmens
A DDP is the key to success
While this seems to be a deadlock situation, it must not be one. Companies really can accelerate their digital transformation, driven from the business side, by focusing on ambitious business outcomes and making a competitive difference. A fundamental condition is to create the correct data and digital platform (DDP) that enables a decoupled course for business.
Many companies have created their digital footprint using a channel-by-channel approach complementary to existing and successful physical channels. Each of these channels is characterised by having its own set of data extracted and replicated from databases of the company’s legacy systems.
The advantage is being able to create a digital offering fast. The disadvantages are multiple: when a customer switches from one channel to another, the customer experiences are different as channels of the same company do not use the same data. Also, channels are not aware of each other’s transactions. This is all linked to channel-specific data extractions and local transaction management.
Free your data
To accelerate, you need to create one single and usually cloud-based data layer that supports your multiple channels. This data layer must be based on a business-driven data reference architecture where data entities are extracted once from the company’s core systems using API’s and then use consistently across all channels.
Additionally, when you implement this data layer in the cloud, this creates the opportunity to start combining external (big) data with your internal data. Cloud infrastructure is key as it supplies a scalable, power-when-needed and agile platform. You can leverage the cloud for the Artificial Intelligence required to do a multi-factor correlation of that external with internal data. As a result, your data platform can create new functional possibilities that increase the customer experience, building customer delight.
Activate your data
Complementary, companies need to take a holistic and digital approach to their customer channels. Stop developing channel-by-channel, but take a customer-centric approach that starts from the customer experience itself. Develop your channels so that they supply the customer with a seamless transactional experience that allows switching from one channel to another without any data or transactional disruption.
Business and IT remain in harmony
This approach has a great side-benefit. It allows IT to plan and execute lifecycle management and IT transformations on core systems. DDP-driven digital business initiatives that lower IT risk are therefore not impacted.
At the same time, thanks to the growing DDP, the business can take a largely independent digital transformation course accelerating digital strategy. Agile multidisciplinary teams aligned with customer journeys can now work more efficient on new use cases, creating with speed frequently new value in short agile cycles.
No magic without proper magicians
You need to build new core capabilities combined in Bionic agile teams. A company’s workforce usually is a reflection of the history of that organisation. The skills and competences developed and maintained fit will the supporting and evolving core systems. However, to create a DDP, new and very different skills and competencies are required. Companies striving to free their data with a DDP need to invest in four new core digital capabilities:
- Data architects: that focus on the definition of data reference architectures.
- Data engineers: that collect both internal and external data to feed the data architectures.
- DevOps engineers: a new breed of engineers that focus on User eXperience (UX), customer-centric design, and DevSecOps mode.
- Data / AI scientists: that can combine the data to create new business insights and opportunities.
These new core capabilities are to be blend together with business experts in agile, multidisciplinary teams. These Bionic teams understand what value customers seek and how smooth omnichannel business processes can realise that value.
If you want to reap the data benefits that lie ahead in the roaring twenties of the 21st century, make the following four moves:
- Build new capabilities: upskill your business workforce and recruit technology, data and mathematic wizards.
- Apply Agile delivery methods: Create agile Bionic teams, slice digital initiatives and frequently deploy new value to your customers.
- Decouple business from IT strategy: Embed the data layer in a cloud environment, supplement with digital capabilities to create a Data and Digital Platform.
- Be the Che Guevera for your data: Define a business outcome-driven data architecture and liberate your data from your core systems.
DigitalScaler has the experience and expertise to help your company to accelerate your growth. We define and lead with you the right customer-centric digitalisation and business agility strategies for your company to compete and thrive in the digital world.