Turning digital transformation from lip service to reality

Digital Transformation. We’ve all heard the term. But how do you get your organisation truly onboard, and make your digital transformation a journey to success, rather than simply paying lip service? 

Qrious was privileged to host John Mackenney, Digital Transformation Lead at Adobe APAC, for an executive breakfast where he spoke about what digital transformation actually means and how New Zealand organisations can get started on their journey.

We also heard from Lena Jenkins, Data Powered Customer Engagement Lead at Qrious, who was one of only five delegates to attend the Adobe Summit in Las Vegas. Contrary to the saying “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” she shared some of the highlights from the Summit as well as some interesting case studies.


1. Get the C-Suite on board 

Digital transformation, John argued, is no longer just the domain of the CIO. In modern organisations, digital transformation touches every part of the business. The entire C-Suite, and even the board of directors, are central to its success. But they all have different priorities. And they probably won’t agree on the right way to become “transformed”.

One solution to bringing the C-Suite on board is to have each member sponsor a different stage of the customer journey. Adobe applied this to their own business, with the CMO, for example, leading on the “Discover” phase of the journey to drive customer acquisition, while the CTO ensures that the ‘Use’ stage is seamless. 


2. Get your data strategy in place

At the Adobe Summit Lena discovered a common theme amongst the organisations that had undergone a successful digital transformation: a strong data strategy.

Today, data proliferation is both an opportunity, and a major challenge. Data is either siloed or incomplete (or both). An exciting announcement from the Summit was the pending release of Adobe’s Experience Platform. It’s an open platform with a real-time data pipeline, central storage, machine learning and reporting capabilities.

3M (who do more than just post-it notes) used this platform as part of their audience data management strategy. Within it they were able to aggregate, correlate and warehouse all their data as well as report and model it - achieving the elusive customer 360.

Through the platform all their teams also have access to the same data set and are able to use it to improve and personalise the customer experience at every touchpoint.


3. Democratise your data to align to CX

Enabling your teams to access and use the data is a critical aspect of a successful digital transformation. 

As well as breaking down the silos between data platforms, data democratisation helps break down the silos between different departments, driving aligned performance across the organisation, and delivering a more consistent customer experience.

Adobe’s data-driven operating model is a great example. The foundation for this is a five-stage customer journey framework: Discover, Try, Buy, Use and Renew. Each stage has their own KPI relating to customer interaction. And, as John mentioned, each stage has a C-Level owner, as well as a VP-level owner for the metrics at each stage.

To keep track of these metrics, Adobe created dashboards providing a single source of truth which teams across the business can use to test and make improvements to their stage of the journey.


4. Start small, then scale

Digital transformation can feel like an impossible challenge, and it can be hard to know where to begin. John argued that the smartest way to move the dial towards digital transformation is to look for a distinct piece of the business that is easy to test independently.

Rigorously test it. Iteratively develop it. Regularly report on it. That way, you can prove the value of this new way of working and keep the C-Suite engaged and supportive of your efforts.

Lena’s example from the National Bank of Australia demonstrated this.

They’ve used Adobe Campaign to create a Next Best Conversation programme. Using an iterative approach, they developed an analytical model to rank mandatory and predictive conversations based on actions that would indicate the need for a conversation. 

Starting with a team of 40 small business bankers they’ve since scaled this to 3,500 bankers and are looking to expand this further. The result? A 100% uplift in opportunities, and a 100% uplift in revenue.


5. Get the right people involved

But, as Lena said, all of this is academic without the right people involved.

“You can have the best technology in the world, but if you don’t have the right people – or dare I say the right partner - to extract the most business value from the technology, it’s a waste of money.”

And the right people can be hard to find.

While we often think of this as a challenge unique to New Zealand, it’s actually something experienced globally. 

To be effective in data-driven customer engagement - including marketing automation, digital experience, or personalisation – you need people with a mix of marketing, CX and technical skills. And it’s not critical that a candidate knows a specific tool. Tools can be taught. Rather, you want to look for candidates who have the aptitude and attitude for delivering exceptional customer experiences.

Add to this, New Zealand is small. We only have a limited number of experts to go around. So, it’s OK to use partners to build and grow your internal practice. In fact, it’s something we encourage.


Where have you seen digital transformation work well (or not)? And what do you think were the keys to success? We’d love to hear your thoughts. 

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