Everything but the tech

Posted by James Scott
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People Networking

Why buying good tech is only one piece of the jigsaw of digital maturity...

So many organisations aren’t achieving their full digital potential. But what’s holding them back? Often the factors that stand in the way of success aren’t connected with technology selection, implementation or even experience design. In fact, many are instead a result of operational or governance problems. Read on for our views on the non-technological factors that hold organisations back from their goal of digital maturity.  

Beware Of Silos

Internal silos in organisations create unhealthy competition and misunderstandings resulting in poor digital experiences and unsuitable products and service design. Marketing teams without overarching governance in this area have a tendency to spin up websites and apps on myriad platforms. This creates even more inefficiency in terms of maintainability overheads and reduces the ability to personalise experiences across different customer touchpoints. We’ve helped a number of clients restructure their digital teams and develop the optimal strategy for internal communications to achieve harmony across multichannel campaigns and digital operations.

Customer First

We’ve been living in the age of the customer for a while now, yet we still hear people talking about ‘digital first’ and ‘mobile first’ strategies. ‘Customer first’ should be the strategy; channel initiatives are tactical. It simply isn't the case that your customer wants to pay so little for your products and services that you might face bankruptcy. They want value. Finding out what value looks like by engaging audiences to capture their viewpoints is the smart way to do it if your pockets aren’t quite deep enough to work in a truly agile manner.

Involve The Right People, At The Right Time

So how do you make provision to put the customer first? Recent research we’ve conducted has highlighted the importance of product owners becoming part of the process.

There’s no point designing a shiny new experience to try and sell products that no one wants or values.

You need to create a customer experience committee, bringing together IT, marcomms and those responsible for product and service design to build propositions around customer needs and value. Setting metrics and success criteria upfront is also essential to demonstrate clear ROI.

Be Agile, Where Possible

Few organisations have the budget and internal structures to cope with the demands of feedback loops required to sustain a meaningful momentum. Team structures, roles, responsibilities and governance processes are the foundations that need to be taken seriously before investing heavily in transformation projects. By all means, take an agile approach to resourcing and give yourselves the freedom to pivot and reassign tasks as you discover where people’s strengths are, but at least understand which stakeholders need to be engaged. You’ll also want to discuss and agree what the ideal points of interaction would be.

Deliver Home Truths Via A Trojan Horse

A common misconception is that everyone in the business has an opinion on digital but doesn’t want to make the time to be involved. However, by commissioning user engagement in the right way, you can present evidence that will wake your most stubborn stakeholders up to the fact that users are having a hard time. Perhaps it’s because your site is organised according to historic departmental structures with labels that aren’t necessarily meaningful to the outside world? 

It Doesn't Have To Mean Redundancies

There’s a lot of fear - particularly aggravated by a current swathe of pundits musing on the impact of AI - that people’s jobs will be at risk if digital solutions are fully optimised. But we’ve often found that when digital solutions offer better self-service options to users, employees get to refocus their energies on tasks that demonstrate even more value to customers, and therefore, the business as a whole.

Instil, Discipline And Police It

When it comes to content management, one of the hardest decisions in any project is deciding how much flexibility to build into the solution. Too much, and the site can quickly look messy; too little, and internal stakeholders get frustrated that their ideas can’t be realised quickly enough. Thankfully, workflow, access rights and permissions options can all be tailored so that the right people have the flexibility to make more significant changes, while others must work within tighter parameters.

We create a set of criteria that must be met before a piece of content can be justified to ensure content isn’t published without a clear purpose. With RICS, we set rules about listing events so that they couldn’t be published without a date, location or price. By the time event hits the website, it would be in a more tangible state for users to commit to, while the product owners and marketing teams were able to follow up to secure dates, location and pricing structures earlier. This new discipline increased conversion on face-to-face training by nearly 300% along with increasing revenue and AOV by around 40%. 

In Summary

If you don’t address issues with internal structures processes and wider forms of digital governance, no investment in technology systems alone will solve the problems you’re facing or create the reach and opportunities you desire. 

It’s not always glamorous, but delivering great results is.


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At Netcel, we look beyong the technology and work with clients to transform their people systems and processes. We're pretty good at the tech-side too. To work more efficiently and get the best out of your digital investments, leave us a message or call us on 020 3743 0100.

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