Transformation demands cultural change

Tactics for lasting and successful transformation

An article by Alex Barker 29-11-2018

Has everyone lost interest in “digital transformation”? What does this term even mean anymore?

People often think it is about technology. Or big data. Or product design.

People often think that it is optional. Or that it’s temporary (“check out our digital transformation project everyone!”). Or, indeed, that it is a silver bullet.

But really, it is about digital being a catalyst for change.

It is about transforming organisational culture.

If you build it, they might come. But, probably not.

A lot of companies have been guilty of hoping that a piece of tech is a silver bullet and the answer to their digital transformation woes. For example, in the healthcare market (where many of Edo’s clients work) there are over 300,000 mHealth apps, with over 5 million downloads per day. The quality of these apps varies massively. That’s because a lot of companies are investing in the UI of a tool - the visual design, the branding, the layout - but not in the primary research to find out what their customers actually need. They’re investing more in interaction over empathy.

Equally, internally they are investing in products, but not in the governance to make those products work and what it takes to make them a success.

Diagram of Digital Product versus Governance

Considering that many see the creation of these digital products and the uptake of them by their customers as “Digital Transformation” is it really surprising that, according to Forbes, 84% of transformation projects fail?

In this Forbes piece, Michael Gale summarises his view on the reasons for this failure:

“...you can do a strategy once, you can borrow the technology once. But if you can't get the sum of the parts to be greater than the cost you're going to fail and I think a large part of that 84% that fail it’s because they're not prepared to change behavior. They think they can have strategy and technology and it just doesn't get them there fast enough or in a good enough way."

Enter User Centred Transformation (UCT)

To us, “digital” transformation is a buzzword (buzzphrase) that is neither helpful nor realistic. Yes, an organisation should be constantly looking to innovate, adapt to the market and - indeed - transform. But digital is merely a catalyst for this change. Real transformation is centred around adapting your business to what your customers need, say, want, do, and how they interact with your brand. This is how you build loyal, happy, engaged customers who invest in your organisation.

So, out with digital transformation, and in with User Centred Transformation.

What is User Centred Transformation?

Successful User Centred Transformation is made up of three components:

The first is Experience. This is made up of the “standard” parts that people often consider when scoping their transformation journey - insight, creativity, technology, brand and content.

The next component is Capability. This is the investment (or lack thereof) in governance I mentioned above. This consists of literacy, ability, process and resources. The investment needed to make the ‘Experience’ component worthwhile and successful.

The final component is Culture. This is critical - it is the foundation on which User Centred Transformation sits. Without the right culture, organisations can not successfully change. So it is only by impacting the organisation’s culture and truly embedding a focus on customer experience that your organisation will be fit for the future. The culture component is made up of leadership, strategy, innovation, agility and autonomy.

UCT Venn DiagramUCT Venn Diagram 2

Tactics for change

Let’s start off by avoiding a “transformation project” altogether. Instead, let’s make “Transformation” an ongoing commitment to be agile, to innovate and most importantly to put the customer at the heart of business decisions. This is sometimes tricky without maintained enthusiasm from the executive team. They’re often excited and enthusiastic to start with, but their enthusiasm diminishes over time as they realise the “transformation” needed is large scale, costly change that may take some time.

We recommend trying something different. A deep understanding of what your customers need, and want, will ensure that you adapt your service offering and develop new products wholly based on this. But then, break it down into what we call ‘pathfinders’; fast-paced sprints working up new ideas, testing them with your audience and iterating.

What do these ‘pathfinders’ look like?

By beginning with internal discovery (research with staff and team inside organisations) and/or external discovery (research with audiences and customers) a transformation roadmap can be crafted, consisting of a series of pathfinder projects.

Discovery identifies areas of opportunity or need. Pathfinder projects use design thinking and methodologies to rapidly develop propositions and/or services to meet those areas and deliver tangible results.

Pathfinders can take various forms - whatever is right for your customers, and your business. It can be user research, customer experience maps, product development or prototyping. With a large healthcare provider for example, we worked together to:

  • Provide better support for the bereaved. We developed an online community - a dedicated space for people to talk about their experiences of bereavement. This enables the organisation to support more people during a difficult time and adapt their content strategy and service model around the conversations they see happening.

  • Optimise staff and visitor experiences within care homes. The installation of a new sign in process in care centres, and training for staff on how to better understand and use the data. This has resulted in a significantly improved staff and visitor experience through an optimised sign in process. In addition to this, the organisation has been able to build their data and have a wider and more engaged data pool for marketing efforts.

  • Create new revenue streams. We worked across internal teams to identify a new product to generate revenue. This was then co-created with both users and internal teams to craft a product that would really resonate with users and drive revenue for the organisation.

Next steps

With our Measurement Matrix, you can benchmark how embedded customer centricity currently is within your organisation’s culture. It will identify your roadmap for putting the customer at the heart of your transformation journey. It takes just 5 minutes to fill out and once complete, you’ll receive a bespoke report within 48 hours from an Edo transformation specialist.

Don’t look at your customers’ experience in isolation of the capabilities you have to deliver it. Transformation is cultural.

If you’re interested in our Transformation demands cultural change as an internal workshop for you and your team, please get in touch.

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