Customer experience is increasingly proving the differentiator between successful and unsuccessful companies – an effect that has only been supercharged by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Providing the level of digital customer experience that consumers increasingly expect, however, requires ditching legacy systems and embracing digital transformation. Succeeding in that journey, however, is far from straightforward – requiring deep alignment between IT teams and the rest of the business.
That’s exactly the focus of new research from Automated CX Assurance platform provider Cyara. Consisting of a survey of IT and business decision-makers from the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, respondents included representatives from industries such as financial services and banking, computer software, hardware and technology and retail.
Among the standout findings of the study was that 94% of respondents believe digital transformation initiatives will have a positive impact on the customer experience. According to a large retail company, that’s because it helps companies place themselves in the shoes of customers: “Be a customer and be a representative! Imagine designing a car, building it, and shipping it out without ever once actually driving it around for a week and taking it on a long road trip. How can you claim what you’ve designed and planned is successful without ensuring it’s good yourself?”
Despite that, the research unveiled a severe lack of consensus regarding who should own digital transformation initiatives. 37% pointed to the CTO/CIO; 28% identified an IT leader; 23% said the CEO, and 10% said, other C-suite leadership members. The risks to those falling behind in digital transformation are truly existential. “For 60 years we have done business the same,” reveals a large insurance company. “Suddenly, in the past 5 years, our customer base has told us they don’t want to do things the same anymore. We’re at a turning point, without changing we’ll be left behind.”
A Lack of Resources
Part of the problem is a deficiency in the resources and budgets required to enact successful digital transformation initiatives and meet implementation deadlines. That in turn is resulting in delays, with IT decision-makers believing they are 4.71 months behind where they should be on digital transformation on average. For business decision-makers it’s even worse, estimating an average 5.34 months of delay. Partly that’s a result of unrealistic baselines for performance, but businesses would also be wise to leverage automation in order to optimise the resources they have.
There is also a clear gap in perception, with those more senior tending to be more positive about digital transformation success. 90% of business owners described their digital transformation initiatives as “very successful”. Contrast that with 75% of managing directors, 38% of department heads and 35% of managers. To overcome that, Cyara recommends finding a shared focus on key performance indicators in order to build a consensus.
Changing the Culture
Another key to success is involving IT teams – in particular, consulting them in the decision making process. Such an approach proved rare, however, with only 43% of business leaders saying “yes, every time”. It’s clear that some measure of culture change is a must for companies looking to succeed with digital transformation. “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” says James Issacs, President in Sales, Cyara. “Our best-laid plans are bulldozered over by the culture of our company culture. We have to adapt executive strategy to fit how our teams approach work.”
A unified culture is a hallmark of businesses who have succeeded on the path, as a large bank attests. “Consultants, new tools and mandates don’t change the culture. Action and leading by example influence culture. We have to ‘do’ and over time our outcome slowly is realised. Without our culture-shifting, we would never achieve our agile state.”
Looking to next year, the results of the survey suggest companies must adopt digital transformation initiatives to deliver the requisite customer experience. To actually succeed, however, will require new levels of organisational alignment. “Lean in!” asserts the CIO of PNC bank. “The cliche: ‘do as I say, not as I do’ needs to be reminded. If I don’t practice as I preach then everyone below me will roll their eyes and continue on as normal.”
To find out more, go here to access the full survey report.