Digital transformation in a state of confusion

A recent survey of content strategists shows that companies are struggling to transform in the digital era and that traditional IT silos may be to blame.

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Not long ago, content was considered the exclusive domain of the marketing department. The keepers of the brand decided which social media metrics and other key pieces of information were most valuable and how they would advance the department’s specific objectives.

New research from Altimeter shows a shift in that model, and while brand managers and their IT counterparts still have a role to play, most companies have adopted a more unified content strategy that supports the objectives of the entire organization.

Almost half of those surveyed said they’re using call centre records and customer relationship management (CRM) systems data to deliver a more unified customer experience.

Though challenges remain in unifying customer data from multiple sources, most organizations are using some form of data to inform their content creation strategies. But there’s confusion as to how data sources can best be used to enhance the customer experience, according to the report The 2016 State of Digital Transformation.

Everyone agrees that actionable intelligence is the Holy Grail of digital companies, but leaders and strategists are at loggerheads when it comes to identifying which content sources have a measurable impact on the business.

“Access to multiple sources of data is an especially difficult challenge since it involves not only the cooperation of several departments, but integrating different data platforms in order to ingest, standardize and analyze data, and make it actionable,” notes the report.

Still, they’re moving forward with initiatives to transform the organization, and at the top of the agenda is innovation, followed by modernizing the IT infrastructure and improving operational agility. These efforts are having a positive impact overall, with almost 40 per cent of companies noting an increase in market share and a positive impact on employee morale.

Digital business transformation is sometimes called the ultimate challenge in change management because it impacts every aspect of a company — from its operational processes to its competitive positioning and even its supply chain.

“Business leaders must constantly challenge their organizations to ensure this change can unlock productivity gains and significant competitive advantage all while delivering exceptional customer experience,” reports CIO magazine.

A 2015 study by Forrester Research shows that businesses are on the path to digital transformation, but they’re not there yet. Across the three dimensions of digital transformation — organization, operational process and technology — businesses have made considerable strides, but they’re still hamstrung by traditional silos, including IT, and a lack of alignment.

“Many firms are stuck offering an average digital experience with limited understanding of what to do next, who should lead it, and how to measure success,” Forrester notes.

Digital transformation is not a closed-loop process with a defined end, but rather a continuous process of evolving to do things differently in the digital era, analyst Martin Kuppinger told a recent security conference in Paris.

That means IT silos, which have traditionally been a viable model for servicing the business, are no longer appropriate now that IT penetrates every aspect of the business.

“There is no way a siloed 1980s-style IT organization will work in a 2020-ready organization,” Kuppinger said.

Photo: iStock

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