Pete Hanlon is CTO of Moneypenny. Moneypenny handles outsourced phone calls, live chat and digital comms for thousands of companies globally
The future of work is changing, and it is changing for the better. Organisations are actively seeking out opportunities to improve how they operate and deliver value to their customers, and they are choosing to do this through embracing digital technologies.
Digital transformation is about leveraging technology to fundamentally change, yet it’s not just about technology, it’s also a fundamental shift in culture where you need to continually challenge how things are done and be open to change.
A clear vision.
The main thing to remember is that digital transformation isn’t about using the latest cool tech, it’s about using the power of technology where it makes sense to get the right business outcomes. Digital transformation touches all aspects of a business so engaging in this sort of work requires input from all areas of the business and leadership from the top. Where are you today? Where do you want to be tomorrow? And what you going to do to get there?
The main challenge in any digital transformation is taking people on the journey. You need to be clear on the outcomes of the transformation, how you will measure success but most importantly you need to double down on communication and training. I cannot stress enough that you can’t overcommunicate when you’re going through a process like this. There will be many people who feel uncomfortable and challenged by large scale change but in order to succeed they must be engaged. You need to be clear about how they fit into the future and constantly communicate why your changing things and support them through the journey.
Create a culture of innovation.
In cultivating an innovative, digital culture, it all comes down to your people. This means encouraging collaboration, multi-dimensional teams, idea generation and experimentation. To succeed and thrive, innovation needs a safe environment for your people to think independently, solve problems and be creative (within clear boundaries), giving them ownership, be listened to and valued and empowering them to make decisions and take action.
It is also about creating an environment where people are not afraid of failure, within reason of course, and most importantly learn from it in looking to the future.
Recognise the importance of your data.
Nine times out of ten you have the answers within your reach. As an organisation you gather data every second of the day yet hardly appreciate its value. Use it and harness its power to make informed decisions. When analysing our pre- and post-pandemic data, we discovered that despite a boom in the use of social media to contact businesses, the telephone remains the most important communication method for customers to connect with businesses. 43% of our businesses said phone calls were even more important during lockdown and this is backed up with our figures showing that call volumes were up by a third in the last quarter.
But we also leveraged data from listening to clients and the wider world, innovating with new and enhanced products and services that filled their requirements and needs. This allowed us to re-think our markets and enter new ones.
Focus on the customer.
Customer experience plays a critical role in digital transformation, and it requires a whole organisation approach. It is changing consumer habits, allowing people to access what they want, pretty much as soon as they want it. Embracing an ever more digital world means we need to rethink how we interact with our customers and for customer service it means being proactive in how you help your customers and offering a wide choice of channels to support them – social media, chats, forums, phone, email are all part of the mix. It is about being customer-centric, building experiences to meet their demands.
But it does not stand alone. It needs to be optimised in conjunction with your processes, improving the efficiency of workflows and leading to empowerment of your people and organisation, striking the right balance between work and life.
Understand and adopt early.
Having the right technology to power your digital transformation is fundamental. Understanding what you need, how to implement with current systems and the benefit to the organisation means that you are constantly on the lookout, always learning and always ready to react. A flexible, agile approach is the answer not simply for digital transformation but also for sustainable business success.
All companies can benefit from digital transformation. Clearly companies that haven’t been investing in technology will have the most to gain in efficiencies, but digital transformation is a constant. We see constant change in technology and constant change in markets and customer expectation and in order to keep up with that change companies need to challenge what they are doing and, in some cases, completely pivot and reimagine the services they provide.