Get More Out of Your Digital Technology Investments

Feb 1, 2023
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Digital technologies continue to accelerate disruption and change. Even though companies recognize this disruption as a big risk they are unhappy with their digital technology investments. In this article, we highlight three things that can help you get the most out of your digital technology investments.

Consumer behaviours are rapidly evolving due to digital

It’s Thursday afternoon and as Sarah prepares to finish up work she picks up her phone to finish her online grocery order.  Later that evening it will be delivered to her door.  As she gets up and steps out of her home office the doorbell rings.  She isn’t surprised.  It’s her family’s daily meal kit.  Today its ginger vegetarian stir fry, something that has all the ingredients they need and will only take 20 minutes for them to prepare.

As they finish dinner as a family her mind shifts to the getaway that she and her husband have been thinking about for a while. Within 10 minutes of settling in on the couch she has booked a great lakeside bed and breakfast minutes from their favourite local winery using an app on her phone. In bed, she catches up on her audiobook and eventually submits to her favourite sleep app. Within minutes she is dreaming of their weekend winery getaway.

This story is an increasingly common one thanks to the evolution of digital technology that disruptors are making easy for the consumer to embrace. This change is only accelerating.

Digital disruption will continue to accelerate and create unpredictable patterns

Cell phones were adopted 20 times faster than landline telephones amongst U.S. households.  More recently, within 9 years of their existence Uber and Lyft had captured 70% of the business traveller market in the US and Airbnb was offering more listings than the top 5 major hotel brands combined.  There are numerous other examples and many more will emerge in new industries.

On the backs of this disruption and new digital infrastructure, the recent pandemic has accelerated the shift in consumer behaviour even further. Ecommerce adoption for example has accelerated by 4 to 6 years. Many behavioural changes being witnessed are here to stay for the long term as a recent IBM study of US consumers found.

Companies aren’t happy with their digital investments

This reality isn’t lost on companies and their management teams. In a 2017 study conducted by Dell, six in ten businesses revealed they are unable to meet their customers’ top demand and 73% confess digital transformation could be more widespread.  Digital disruption was cited as the #1 risk by executives in a 2018 survey.  Compounding the problem is the fact that most aren’t happy with their digital initiatives and 70% of digital transformation initiatives do not reach their goals.

Three key things to get right to make digital work for your business

There are ways in which companies can get more out of their digital investments.  Below we highlight three key ones with examples of how we have used them to help our clients.

Start with the problem. Not a solution.

How many times do we start with wanting to either create a direct-to-consumer channel or implement a new CRM? Instead, pause and ask two questions: “What customer problem are we looking to solve?” and “How can we solve this uniquely and compellingly?” Immerse yourself in the customer’s life to find the insights that you can then build your solution based on.

A large grocery retailer knew they had to create an eCommerce solution and needed to figure out how. The first task was discovering the unmet customer need – wanting convenience in the form of immediacy. Based on this insight and its vast store network, a plan was created to focus on establishing a network of pick-up locations that allowed customers to order and pick-up within 2 hours. A strategic plan, business case, and key initiatives roadmap followed.

The saying “Start with the problem. Not a solution.” can’t be emphasized enough. Understand the customer problem first. The solution and digital technologies needed to solve the problem will follow.

Change how you work with the technology

Once you’ve defined the problem you are solving you will need to change how you work.  If you are building a new digital sales channel you need to change business processes, the team, and their goals so that your customer experience is strong and you have the right resources in the right places to run the business efficiently.

A large consumer goods company with Canadian operations, launched a new product line and a new direct-to-consumer channel to sell the product. However, soon after the launch, a big problem became apparent. There wasn’t a cohesive returns process for the product. The company had become a retailer in addition to being a consumer brand and manufacturer. We helped them understand the gap, designed a new digital-centric returns process, selected the technology and helped implement the new digitized process.

Before you implement a new digital technology think about what your goals are and what processes you will need to be successful.

Implement technology change in a holistic manner

It comes down to execution in the end.  And good execution is more than making sure the technology you have chosen is implemented on time and within the budget.  It is much more than that and addresses key questions. How will you ensure that the implementation plan is adaptable? How does your team take ownership and become more engaged with the implementation? How will you drive success once the technology is implemented?

We recently published a customer success story of a consumer goods manufacturer in the beverage industry that needed to update its ageing CRM tool to meet its aggressive growth targets. Our approach was to use our business design, and project and change management expertise to ensure that not only was the new solution implemented successfully but also that the team was able to embrace it without skipping a beat.

When it comes to execution, think beyond the implementation of the technology. Make sure your team is part of and embraces the change.

While this is certainly not an exhaustive list it illustrates some of the keys to remember when implementing digital technology-related changes. Contact us to learn more about our expertise and how we could help you be more successful by harnessing the power of digital technologies.

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Farzad Khan

Founder & Principal
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