Mapping The Road To Transformation

I recently wrote about the importance of designing a Digital Operating Model that works for you, rather than trying to mimic one of another organisation. I introduced five fundamental shifts required by all organisations to ‘go digital’ and highlighted the importance of understanding how these can be implemented in a way that works for a specific environment. In this follow-up article, I’ll explain the five shifts further and what you can do about them.

1. Make your business strategy your technology strategy and your technology strategy your business strategy

Businesses need to embrace ownership of systems rather than making them an IT problem. You can’t have a business strategy developed in isolation from technology and so shouldn’t have a separate technology strategy. Your operating model could reflect this shift using one or more of these operating model designs:

  • The strategy team structure combines people with business and technology capability.
  • The strategy development business process includes input, review, and sign-off from both business and technology teams.
  • Extending the workforce capability to include specific technology knowledge and skills.

2. Shrink the gap between your customers and everyone that plays a part in delivering services to your customers

Most traditional organisations have layers of people and process between the customer and the people who create change for those customers. As well as the curse of translation from customer to developer, this separation can also mean the developer’s big ideas don’t reach the customer for validation. So rather than a culture of testing the art of the possible with customers, customers are asked to stipulate what they want based on a limited understanding of what is possible. Some ways to close this gap within your operating model could include:

  • Put your DevOps teams into your customer-facing functions.
  • Have a System Delivery Lifecycle that mandates customer interaction at key points in the process. Ensure the delivery teams interact with the customer i.e. put your development teams into the customer journey mapping workshops.
  • Provide raw customer sentiment information to the development teams through products like BigEars and Sprout.

3. Be an insights-driven learning organisation

A digital organisation needs an operating model that adjusts to customer feedback and lessons learned. A key theme within digital organisations is the idea of trial, error and adjustment. To do this, a digital operating model needs three components:

  • A way to collect data and information including customer sentiment and performance metrics. Your operating model design needs to contain a combination of people, process and technology to collect timely data.
  • An engine that can analyse data and generate insights. Your operating model may use people and/or technology as your engine. Advancements in AI can speed this process up but capable people are still needed to help with interpretation.
  • A mechanism to respond to the insights. Insights may be found but having a flexible operating model to respond to them in a timely manner is the difficulty.Digital transition requires all three of these components to be firmly embedded into the operating model.

4. Use your channels strategically and operationally

No digital operating model is complete without a channel strategy and design. Good channels thinking should allow you to achieve both strategic objectives and operational demands. This means your digital operating model needs to include:

  • Channel mix – which channels will you use for which customers and which services/products?
  • Channel shift plan – how will you implement your channel mix strategy? Will you use a stick or carrot to get people to use the channels?
  • Channel operations approach – how will you align your operational processes to your channel approach? For example, how will you use people and technology to respond to the channel demand? Will you use AI technology in things like AWS Connect or Lex to dial-up additional call centre capacity on demand?

Organisations hardly ever consider the channel operations approach, which is a lost opportunity. Done well, you give yourself the ability to use your channels strategically as well as operationally.

5. Create a digital culture

This is the big one! All leading digital organisations have a noticeably different culture, including cultures based around putting the customer at the centre of what you do and always striving to add value for them. People often confuse start-up culture with a digital culture. Things like a fail-fast approach, hyper-innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit are definitely part of the start-up culture but not necessarily part of a good digital culture.

If the heart of a digital culture is putting your customers first, surely a digital organisation can also be cautious and risk averse if that’s what the customer wants? Even writing that seems strange – a digital organisation that is cautious and risk averse – but if you’re responsive to your customers’ needs at a risk level and a speed they’re comfortable with, then you can still call yourself digital.

The challenge organisations face is representing and reinforcing that digital culture within an operating model design that also reflects the other key shifts discussed in this post. However, the infinite nature of operating model design means it is possible, it just requires a bit of thought.

Find out more about our digital capabilities at Deloitte Digital New Zealand

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