Measurable Goals Are Key to Digital Transformation

Author

Daniel Newman, Contributor

January 6, 2016

Change is hard—especially when it completely transforms the way a company operates. Business owners and employees alike must become familiar with new protocols and processes, and understand how to correctly use this new technology. Essentially, digital transformation requires a complete cultural shift, and measuring success on multiple levels is the best way to implement it.

Harnessing Technology: An App for Everything

Evolving technology has created many opportunities for digitally savvy businesses to gain a competitive edge. From CRM software to Everything as a Service (XaaS), businesses are learning more than ever before about their customers and business processes. I’m inspired by how much technology has affected the business landscape. But it’s also overwhelming. Switching… well… everything over to digital technology is a complicated process.

If it’s not done correctly—with solid metrics in place for measuring success—it’s easy to lose sight of your goals along the way. Technology can be used to improve a business both internally and externally, but only if you can recognize and measure how well it’s working.

Get Started on the Right Foot Before Switching

Many businesses make the switch because they believe it’s the right thing to do and will increase profits. While both of these things are true, it’s how the technology is implemented that will determine success. Many organizations traditionally make changes from the top-down, with no set standards in place for measuring ROI. This leads to confusion, discrepancies, unhappiness, and even failure. A switch of this magnitude requires a complete corporate cultural shift.

Employees need to understand company goals and how a digital transformation will achieve them. Before implementing digital technologies, I believe businesses need to create—and share—a plan complete with goals and milestones. The four most common technologies businesses adopt are:

  • Analytical tools for measuring customer behavior and marketing campaigns.
  • Mobile apps that allow companies to reach customers wherever they are.
  • Platforms that bring employees together and allow for remote business operations.
  • Social media for marketing and communication.

Each of these components comes with its own learning curve. Sales and marketing employees must learn how to use analytics to leverage their campaigns; mobile apps must be managed and updated to comply with changing SEO trends; and employees need training in order to effectively use cloud technology and service platforms.

Finally, social media requires ongoing maintenance and the right channels must be chosen from the start. As you can see, measuring the success of these technologies is a process with many moving parts.

Measuring Success in Pieces and as a Whole

All technology can be divided into two basic categories: The customer experience, and business operations. A successful digital transformation will find a happy balance between the two. Ultimately, you want to provide customers with value and excellent service while simultaneously optimizing the operational aspects of your business. Measuring the ROI in each of these areas can be accomplished by looking at individual metrics, such as:

  • Changes in revenue.
  • Improvements to operational efficiency.
  • Changes with customer relationships and engagement.
  • How well the company adapts to change, and how flexible leaders and employees are.
  • How effectively knowledge is used and shared throughout the organization.

By looking at these metrics separately, you gain an overall picture of how successfully you’re implementing digital technologies. For example, increased customer engagement and more positive relationships may indicate that your analytical tools are providing your sales and marketing department with valuable information.

Your employees’ ability to recognize and achieve company goals indicates that knowledge is being shared effectively, and they understand the technology they’re expected to use in their day to day jobs. An increase in revenue means you’ve minimized operational costs while maximizing sales. Measuring the individual parts of your organizational transformation shows you its success as whole.

Determining Your Digital Priorities

My advice is to not spread yourself too thin all at once. Integrate key components one at a time. Don’t rush this—give everybody a chance to embrace the learning curve, and measure that success before moving on to the next technology. Determine your businesses priorities and goals by asking the following kinds of questions:

  • Do you need to improve how your business operates and identify inefficiencies?
  • Do you want to increase customer retention rates or bring more visitors to your website?
  • Has your business been optimized for mobile capabilities?
  • Would you benefit from a larger online presence?

Of course, you probably want all of these things—eventually. But outlining your priorities now will tell you which technologies to implement first and how to measure their success as you do.

A digital transformation holds amazing potential for your business. When done correctly, you hold the power of technology in your hands. From analytics to social media, technology has and will continue to positively change the way businesses and consumers interact. Truly, we’re in the midst of a revolution.

Additional Resources on this Topic:

Digital Transformation – How to Get Started, Real KPIs, the Necessary Staff and So Much More

Measuring Customer Lifetime Value Keeps Companies on Track for Success in the Digital Economy

The Mistakes Digital Marketers Make and How to Fix Them

Image: Flickr

This article was written by Daniel Newman from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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