Currently a lot of organisations across the sectors face a confusing mix of options and challenges around digital enablement. Many just don’t know how to make sense of it in its entirety. Unfortunately, being ‘digital' is often perceived just as a poor, provincial substitute for launching one-off social media or big data initiatives.

Misplaced understanding of Digital’s potential

By now almost every organisation has started several digital initiatives and programmes – but very few can claim to be a digitally mature organisation. Digital abilities require embedding into organisation’s structures, governance, incentives, policies and practices etc. The only way to capture the broader canvas of digital impact is to look from the combined perspective of the customer, the business and the organisation.

Enrich existing customer experience digitally

The most visible digital initiatives in organisations revolve around abilities to provide better and timely services to customers. However, technology often stands in the way of delivering to the promised expectations (or exceeding it). Technology should work in the background as an enabler, especially when services are being pushed through multiple devices and channels. At their best digital capabilities provide a high touch and context rich experience that scale to enterprise level.

Enrich existing customer experience digitally
The maximum potential of digital could be realised by high-touch customer experience, delivered at scale.

Create new customer engagement opportunities

Digital engagement – say through social media – can create a community around consumers as well as initiate and monitor conversations with them. Most organisations don’t manage to integrate and leverage social media in their organisation – due to challenges around ownership of customers, channels, governance, KPI’s and ROI. A truly digital organisation has the agility and internal digital ‘buy-in’ to tailor or enhance services delivered to customers – based on feedback during those engagements.

Digital allows giving more control and responsibility to customers

In many sectors, digital abilities help customers feel more empowered and in control of the services from their providers. In healthcare patients can better understand their medication and health indicators on their mobile apps. Doctors and health centres can remotely monitor patient’s treatment. Utilities, telecommunication and content services all offer customers the ability to monitor the service and pay as you go.

Digital maturity: customers, business, organisation

The first pillar is the ability to empower customers with digital tools and services that enhance the customer experience. Customers are in control of when, how and where they acquire and consume services. A digital business is designed to have a limited physical presence and operate in digital form with customers and suppliers. A digital organisation tries to digitise processes and invests heavily in systems that improve cycle time, reduce cost and improve quality.

Deliver direct business value through digital-enabled processes

Advanced analytical capabilities can significantly improve operations in areas such as real-time pricing, customised promotions and offers and new, existing and defecting customers.  (Big) data and powerful analytics don’t automatically translate into a sophisticated digital customer relationship. By applying data insights to understand needs across the customer lifecycle, organisations can offer a relevant experience using digital services. This level of mass customisation is not economically viable in an analogue business.

Today there are more than 10 billion things connected to the internet - by 2020, that number will grow to 50 billion

Create a more dynamic and networked Organisation

Organisations whose core business is not digital-focused confuse it as just another sidekick of the marketing department. Digital abilities can enable organisations to become more dynamic and networked, rather than remaining linear and process-driven. Digital processes enable real-time information sharing and decision-making, with consistent view of the end-customer instilled in deep operations. A well-integrated, cross-functional digital strategy is also much more than ERP/CRM implementations; it enables active knowledge-sharing, and promotes collaboration and cross-silo visibility.

Let Digital relationships live to its full potential

In order to realise the full potential of their digital abilities, organisations need to differentiate between one-off digital interactions and the consistent, fully joined up digital customer relationship. This involves designing services and experiences around the customer lifecycle – with digital at its core. Digital initiatives must be integrated to business’s overarching objectives and organisational capabilities – rather than consigning to a one-off App or yearly digital marketing campaign.

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