CEOs should drive the digital vision and strategy in mature organisations, according to a Forrester Consulting study. The study also reveals a digital vision led by the goal of providing the best possible experience for customers forms the foundation of business transformation at successful companies.
The survey of 410 senior business and technology executives found that 41 percent of organisations with a mature digital strategy identified their CEO as setting the overall digital vision and strategy. For mature businesses, the top digital transformation drivers focus on improving the customer’s experience, increasing the speed of innovation, and improving time to market. In contrast, the drivers for less mature businesses focus mainly on profitability improvements and cost reduction.
The March 2016 commissioned Forrester study, Leading Digital Business Transformation was conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of SugarCRM and Squiz to determine how organisations with a mature digital strategy define and manage their "digital business transformation", which executive roles drive digital strategy, and how these firms are tackling the organisational and cultural challenges presented by business transformation. The majority of businesses are on track with this journey, with 94 percent of digitally mature businesses planning to address the threat of digital disruption by transforming systems and processes.
Although the CEO drives the digital vision and strategy, customer experience is the “North Star” for the journey, according to the study. More than three-quarters (77 percent) of mature digital firms have clearly defined the experience they intend to create for their customers, demonstrating the benefits of having a strong customer focus.
“Customers’ expectations of service and experience are increasing across the board, and every business is under pressure to improve their game. Silos of teams and data create discontinuous and disjointed experiences for the customer, and will limit an organization’s success unless these silos are addressed. A modern CRM program provides a platform for all customer-facing staff to share information and work collaboratively across all communication channels, both digital and human channels, to provide the best possible experience,” says Larry Augustin, SugarCRM CEO.
To win in the age of the customer, digital businesses understand that they need to be customer-obsessed. According to Forrester, success means investing in constantly evolving customer experiences and understanding that digital technologies have become fundamental to deliver delightful experiences to the customer.
“Today’s digitally-native customers are challenging the conventions of business IT, because they demand a seamless experience from their technology. The businesses that put the customer at the heart of their strategy in design, intuition and convenience will be the winners,” says John-Paul Syriatowicz, Group CEO of Squiz.
“However, with nearly every organisation today working towards a digital frontier of meaningful customer experiences across all channels, it’s vital that your business stands out. As mentioned in the Forrester study, a strong digital vision led by the CEO is essential, as the CEO will lead the whole company on that digital transformation journey,” Syriatowicz says.
Transforming a company into a digital business is hard and slow and requires significant shifts in organisational thinking and behavior. Siloed organisations, processes, and systems intensify the operational challenge and prevent the delivery of end-to-end experiences that exceed customer expectations. This is further amplified by different business functions competing to “own” digital. The mature businesses in the survey recognise this and are twice as likely to raise it as their most significant barrier to effective digital transformation in their organisation, compared to less mature businesses.
Digital is typically only associated with delivering a superior customer experience. In order to become digital, organisations also need to leverage digital to enhance employee engagement and drive operational excellence, it notes in the study.
The report continues, saying “Fuel the digital-first mindset in your firm by educating, training, and inspiring employees … Customer journey maps and business capability models can help prioritise scarce resources and better understand how to bring value to customers. Digital leaders should begin to break down functional silos by assigning staff to customer teams pulled from across the organisation. Build a hyper connected leadership team by using shared goals and customer-oriented success metrics for all.”