Is your organization focused on the right things to drive digital transformation? And I mean a deep, meaningful digital transformation — one where the embrace of digital fundamentally changes an aspect of your business model that results in growth and better profits.
Over the past two months, I filtered through hundreds of “top trends and predictions for 2016” which focused on topics like wearables, Internet of Things, and virtual reality. While these technologies are quickly rising over the horizon, they are NOT going to drive the digital transformation and sustained business impact in 2016 for most organizations.
Instead, I’m focused on the five major priorities listed below. I’ll be honest, they don’t necessarily sound new, fresh, and exciting! But if you don’t make headway on these five priorities, then you won’t be able to capitalize on the next five digital trends on the horizon. For this blog post, I’m going to go through the top five priorities first, and in the next post, address areas where most organizations should watch and prepare for now. [Slide deck of these trends are also available on Slideshare.]
One of the biggest problems with digital transformation is that it spans the entire organization. We’ve found that the key to aligning these disparate interests is to have a common understanding and approach to serving customers. So when internal conflicts emerge around strategy and tactics, you can turn to your customer experience priorities to help with the decision making process. And to build these customer experiences well, ground it in behavior-based customer data. Collecting and using that data will require a thoughtful approach to ethical data use. — Top priority: map out and actually use the digital customer journey for your organization. Related research: The Customer Experience Cloud, State of Digital Transformation, Ethical Data Use.
Our research also found that the biggest barrier to digital transformation is culture — and leadership drives culture. The percentage of engaged employees in US companies continues to be in the low 30’s, despite the introduction of enterprise social networks and collaboration tools like Slack (see below). And leadership remains mired in excuses not to use digital channels to extend their leadership, citing “lack of time” or that “it’s marketing’s job”. Employee advocacy is about to break through, as 45% of organizations have it as one of their top initiatives — but face concerns about giving too much control to employees. Top priority: determine how your culture will need to shift to support the customer experience. Related research: Strengthening Employee Engagement, The Engaged Leader.
To engage your customers, you’ll need content. While it’s a cliché to say that “every brand is a media company”, the actual fact is that most companies don’t have a coherent, cohesive content strategy. They may engage in content marketing where content is being created on put on different traditional, digital, and social channels, but it’s not clearly tied to business value. What’s desperately needed is a strategy that not only lays out content touchpoints across the customer journey, but also looks outside of marketing and communications for sources of expertise — areas like customer service, sales, product development, and human resources. Marry content creation with employee advocacy and you’ll get an explosive mix of social selling, employee-led customer service, and social recruitment. Top priority: a cohesive content strategy that addresses the content needs across the organization. Related research: Culture of Content, Content Marketing Performance.
As digital spreads throughout the organization, who “owns” digital strategy and transformation has become muddled. There’s a disconnect — while 82% of organizations wanted to integrate social and digital in 2015, only 36% had a plan. This isn’t easy — the three major places where digital lives today are in Marketing, Sales, and Service — and all three typically have different platforms, data, content, and metrics. I believe that the three C-Suite level players who need to be in lockstep with each other are the CMO, CIO, and the CHRO. Yes, human resources. Because digital transformation is at its core a people problem — and having the CHRO play a strategic role is essential to digital transformation success. Top priority: Break down digital silos, distribute digital throughout the organization and leadership. Related research: Customer Experience Cloud, 2015 State of Social Business, The Engaged Leader.
This priority is a little different, but primarily because it exemplifies in so many ways the challenge of digital transformation. My colleague, Ed Terpening, found that social ad spending has doubled over the past two years as channels like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn become increasingly effective at delivering reach and frequency. This puts social channels at the center of digital transformation — what role will it play in the customer experience? For example, as organic social engagement diminishes in effectiveness, will brands shift traditional community engagement in social channels to customer care, and use paid social instead for reach? Or will employee advocacy grow in effectiveness and obviate the need for paid social? And will paid social ads themselves be used to drive awareness at the top of the funnel — or drive commerce with offers? To answer this question, organizations will have to answer the four questions above — alignment on the customer journey, culture and leadership, content strategy, and a rationalized digital ecosystem. Think of it as the canary in the coal mine — if paid social is a silo or organizational mess, it’s likely your digital transformation is too. Top priority: Take a measured, cohesive approach to paid social’s place in the strategy — and budget. Related research: State of Social Business, Trends for 2016.
In my next post, I’ll focus on areas where areas where you need to watch and prepare in 2016 — but where most organizations won’t need to take immediate action on yet.
Charlene Li takes a look at what areas of digital transformation companies should invest in as the year begins.
The new areas of focus for Altimeter’s research team in the New Year.
A new book by Altimeter’s Brian Solis underscores the importance of great design and empathy in creating lasting customer experiences.
A new Altimeter report gives companies a roadmap for unifying their teams and technologies around building a unified customer experience across all brand interactions.
Altimeter’s latest benchmark study on how companies are using social media to further their business results.
Brian Solis speaks with Entrepreneur Magazine’s Jason Ankeny on the future of business.
I recently partnered with Genesys to explore the state and future of customer experience (CX).
When I published the first in a new series of reports exploring the state and future of Digital Transformation, it was almost the antithesis of a typical technology report.
Employees are disengaged at work, and organizations have been exploring how social and digital technologies can address this problem.
Every day, there’s seemingly yet another disruptive trend that emerges out of nowhere which affects consumer behavior and the future of everything along with it.
As we didn’t have time to answer all viewer questions after the 2014 State of Digital Transformation webinar, we’ve included our responses to the top inquiries here.
Altimeter’s recent research for its report, The 2014 State of Digital Transformation, uncovered that investing in new digital technologies (social, mobile, big data, cloud, etc.) doesn’t always equate to uniting those efforts around a common vision supported by an updated, integrated infrastructure.
In this one-hour webinar, Brian Solis shares research on how businesses explore digital transformation, including results from a 2014 survey of leading digital strategists.
Digital Darwinism is a fate that threatens most organizations in almost every industry. Because of this, businesses not only have to compete for today but also for the unforeseeable future.
I follow the Maker Movement as a consumer, analyst and also as a maker. What is the maker movement?
Pervasive technology fundamentally changes how people communicate, discover and connect. With smartphones and tablets serving as digital appendages, we focus on small screens throughout our day, every day and in all we do.
Today, I’m proud to announce the release of Altimeter Group’s second report on Digital Transformation. This new report is aimed at executives and digital strategists to help them (you) further understand the state of digital transformation as you plan your next steps and investments.
Silicon Valley is more than a place, it’s a movement. While many debate where the “next” Silicon Valley will gain prominence, the point that many onlookers miss is that innovation is at the heart of the crusade.
Thank you to everyone who joined us for Tuesday’s webinar on Digital Transformation. We had an excellent turnout from around the globe and received a lot of great questions throughout Brian’s presentation.
“Digital transformation” isn’t a trendy moniker to signify an increase in technology investment. It’s a renewed focus on the customer and the human side of business.