Transforming Digital Transformation

Time for something new concept

“Digital Transformation” has become an interesting buzzword that in its own right seems to be rapidly transforming. Not so long ago, replacing software systems with integrated, customer-facing digital systems, and putting digital more at the core of your business was simply a large-scale technology infrastructure program. But everything requires a buzzword, and perhaps “large-scale technology infrastructure programs” had become laden with everything needing to be “enterprise-scale” using large “systems integrators” in an eco-system where technology – not the Customer – was in the driver’s seat.

In an effort to show how projects could be structured to take advantage of agile delivery systems, Customers could be included in the process, and digital could potentially reduce longer term costs by providing services and products that could more quickly meet Customer needs, suddenly Digital Transformation of your organisation didn’t seem like such a bad idea.

But of course the moment you embark on a course that is more Customer-led, and less technology-led, you begin to realise that not everyone is ready for the digital revolution – or perhaps now inevitable evolution – and also that when you begin looking at journey mapping you inevitably touch on many systems and processes that aren’t Customer-facing – or digital – that in order to fit into the new ecosystem also require transformation.

Hence, the transformation of digital transformation.

Organisations that are looking to bust divisions, product teams, delivery processes, operations, IT, finance, brands and marketing out of their historic silos are now having to embark on more holistic transformation of their organisations. Some people call these “matrixed” organisations. In the ‘80’s we had CFT – or Cross-functional teams that served the purpose of working towards creating more horizontally designed organisations, working towards creating experiences and journeys for Customers that made sense – that felt thought out and integrated.

I think it’s an interesting time for those of us working in CX/UX to begin to apply our experiences and skills at bringing people together, designing artefacts that visualise complex systems, facilitate dialogue and workshops where people can co-create – whether this co-creation is for the improvement of working environments, internal systems, etc., or whether it is about designing and delivering better content and products “with” our Customers.

We are fully entering the age of Transformation that involves everyone from internal stakeholders to Customers and suppliers. It means designing Customer-engaged strategies, using matrixed and co-creative design. It is no longer about moving from technology-led to Customer-led and thinking only in terms of our products and services. In this new world, it is about re-designing and re-imagining our organisations to be fully integrated, horizontally driven, not just for our Customers, but “with” our Customers.

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