Should Your Digital Transformation Partner Be a Tech Guru?

August 07, 2020

Enterprises across the globe are changing the way they operate in fundamental ways by generating new revenue streams from digital products or reinventing the customer experience and core value propositions.

A digital transformation should be viewed as a strategic effort led by the CEO, not just as a technology modernization project, but as much more than that. It’s about finding new ways to create competitive advantages, delivering experiences over features, disrupting your own current value engines and replacing them with new business models made possible by new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI).  This requires a human-centric approach that balances business goals, technology capabilities and stakeholder and user needs. Since it takes a village to transform a business, an optimal team integrates internal resources with external digital transformation partners that will provide a balanced combination of business, design and technology perspectives. This view is well-aligned with design thinking principles.

Business Perspective

Understanding business goals and objectives, designing sustainable business models, measuring business impact, and determining business viability will require the following:

  • Business Leaders– Executive sponsorship, business leadership and subject matter expertise are unequivocally critical for any major business transformation. CxOs and leaders from business units need to be vested and committed to be catalysts for change.
  • Industry Experts- Internal or external resources with industry and domain expertise can offer fresh perspectives on the competitive landscape, recent trends and market analysis. Business and domain consultants will be key in conducting market research, ROI analysis and to design the new business models, revenues and KPIs for new product and service offerings.

Human and Design Perspective

Grounding business goals and strategies in user needs for new solutions, products and services will be the key goal of the design group. Consider the following people-centric roles in your team:

  • Customer Experience Crafters– Service and user experience designers are the crucial link between the business vision and customer needs. They interview and bond with the customers, understanding their human needs, wants, limitations, and desires. They design storybooks for customer journeys around new product and service offerings. They will make sure that every great big idea is addressing the right problems and that they are delivered as delightful and compelling experiences for customers and users.
  • Changemakers– A business transformation will affect people in your organization in multiple ways: from altering daily routines to fundamentally changing the way people work. Some will manage the transition better than others. Change management professionals can work with your business leaders to understand the needs of your employees and make sure they are properly equipped to manage each stage of the transition.
  • Real users– Real-live customers can be the best digital transformation partners. Organizations committed to human-centric design often include end customers throughout the transformation process. They will be the actual voice of the customer when formulating ideas, evaluating vendors and products, designing solutions and beta testing a product.

Technical Perspective

The tech team will execute the vision and create digital solutions that are innovative and also feasible to implement.

  • Tech Gurus– There can be no digital transformation without digital experts. Technology partners fuse creativity and engineering discipline and focus on execution and delivery. They have experience implementing emerging technologies such as AI, Internet of Things (IoT) and virtual reality (VR) and understand the potential and limitations of each. They inject feasibility into the digital innovation ideas and services and employ agile development best practices to deliver quality products.
  • Insightful Data Whizs– In today’s knowledge economy, insights providers focus on harnessing the power of your data to extract novel observations and gain a new understanding of your customers, your business, your industry or the world. AI is enabling companies to shift their focus from selling unique products to injecting extraordinary wisdom into their offerings. Establishing information goals and a data strategy to support it will play a pivotal role in the results of your business transformation.
Digital Transformation Partners

Figure 1: Digital Transformation Partners’ capabilities aligned with Design Thinking framework.

Who Will Lead the Transformation?

Welcome innovators! Many companies hire external partners to lead the collaboration between the business, design, and technology teams.  They can help people see emerging future trends, balancing the three perspectives and facilitating conversations so that the best insights, ideas and decisions are not dominated by any one point of view.

  • Creative Innovators-Innovation consultants who have worked with leaders in a wide range of industries will be a great asset to introduce new thinking to business problems and to build an innovation culture within the transformation team. They offer great facilitation techniques to foster creativity, spark curiosity, move the teams to push the boundaries on what is feasible and inspire everyone to THINK BIG. Innovation consultants will prove to be great assets to your digital transformation partner network.

Can Innovators Also Be Tech Gurus?

Human problems are often disguised as technology problems. This has led tech gurus to evolve to become innovators.

Wovenware’s deep expertise in building custom AI and software engineering solutions is in high demand by many business leaders looking to innovate in their organizations. When we are contacted by a CIO who wants to implement AI solutions, we take a design driven approach to understand the underlying business problems and customer pain points before undertaking any technical work. Being able to work at the intersection of business, design and technology is key to leading successful strategic projects. Dedicating enough time dive deep into empathizing with people, understanding business impact and designing new sustainable business models, experiences and solutions are critical for any digital transformation.

Selecting Digital Transformation Partners

An effective digital transformation team will likely require the collaboration among many people with different perspectives and skills. Choose your partners with the same standards you set when hiring new employees. They must have the right skill-set and experience, but they must also share common values and fit the business culture. Unless you are set on partnering with one of the top five consulting giants, you will likely be joining forces with multiple companies that have niche specialties. When evaluating digital transformation partners, you should follow these basic guidelines:

  • Prioritize business culture compatibility
    Success is driven by a cohesive team of talented human beings who can work well together and build a trusting relationship. Engage in multiple conversations with your vendor, pay them a visit and get to know their people. Would you permanently hire them? If your gut answer is no, they may not be the right partner for you regardless of the sophisticated experience they may have.
  • Value all related experience
    Digital transformations generally involve innovative business models and emerging technologies. Don’t set out to search for vendors that only have previous experience with specific technologies or business models in your domain. You should equally value related experiences and proven results with other business transformations, understanding your partners will work alongside you to experiment, test and learn in order to break new ground.
  • Always check references
    When checking references, you will find that other business leaders are very empathetic to your situation and the importance of the journey you are about to undertake. You will likely get very honest opinions about the strengths and weaknesses of a vendor, so do not pass on a valuable opportunity. You can validate your gut feeling or identify some red flags to consider.

Wovenware helps businesses navigate the complexity of digital transformation by discovering challenges and insights, identifying strategic opportunities, designing new services and ideas and delivering software and AI solutions. We employ multidisciplinary teams of innovation consultants, industry experts, service and customer experience designers, software engineers and data scientists to drive business transformations.

 

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