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Thrive: How digital transformation will elevate your CX

Goodbye Mammoth Digital Transformation Projects. Hello Digital Business

Companies accelerate their digital transformation with quick, incremental improvements.

The term “digital transformation” is meant to represent faster, more convenient, and more cost-effective ways that companies conduct end-to-end business through digital means. Yet prior to COVID-19, the concept mostly conjured up images of arduous and expensive IT projects that could take years to implement. Mention digital transformation to a CFO, and you would likely get push-back about big expenses and little ROI.
Then the pandemic happened. Digital became a lifeline for companies struggling to maintain their operations and customer experiences in a completely virtual marketplace. Traditional digital transformation projects were largely on hold as companies focused on business continuity and readjusting their business for creating “the new normal.”
For example, BCG reports that nearly 60% of enterprises have paused deployments of new technology not currently in their IT stack, 54% have delayed upgrading existing hardware, and 44% have delayed feature add-ons or upgrades to existing software. Focus has shifted to what will keep the business going without taking on too much risk.
Guess what’s mission critical for contact centers in the COVID-19 age? Cloud. Remote workforces. Intelligent automation. Messaging. Omnichannel. Asynchronous employee training. Customer initiatives based on speed, flexibility, and a better customer experience.
Why are they so important? Because they don’t break the bank. They can be deployed quickly, often without IT resources. And they show immediate outcomes, recouping costs and generating ROI, sometimes in a matter of days. What’s more, they serve a pressing need and customers and employees prefer them because they’re faster, more easily accessible, and make experiences more effortless.  
These nimble, incremental investments represent the essence of true digital transformation. Business leaders aren’t trying to build a utopian version of their business led by a complete digital overhaul. They are trying to keep up with market, environmental, and consumer demands in a way that works. If they do it right ­-- with a customer focus -- they will one day step back to see that they have digitally transformed their business and created an entirely new and better way of doing business that’s led by digital.
This new definition of “digital transformation” to mean a digital-first way to do business is pervasive across industries as diverse as healthcare, education and the public sector. School systems have launched remote learning tools like Google Classroom that won’t disappear when the virus does. (Say goodbye to snow days). Telehealth has finally found its footing among doctors and patients who had been resistant to using it for simple appointments. And government agencies are turning to mobile messaging and other digital tools to streamline enormous, unforeseen unemployment claims volume.
In fact, over 80% of companies now indicate that accelerating their digital transformation is a strategic necessity, according to a July BCG report.
“We are simplifying and reinventing our products, enabling digital sales, and using automation to optimize our back-office processes. If COVID didn't happen, we would have moved forward on all of this, but not as quickly,” Rich Gilbert, senior vice president and chief digital information officer at insurance firm Aflac, recently told CIO magazine.
Digital transformation isn’t a one-off big spend. Rather, it’s a state of mind that continually evolves as organizations adopt new digital solutions to solve business problems over time. There’s no “end” to digital transformation. Instead, always be asking questions like, “How can we help clients with quick wins that have low effort and high impact” or “What can we do to prepare for the future?” Make decisions that answer these questions through the lens of reducing the effort it takes for customers to do business, employees to do their job, and for the company to reach its goals. Then continue to roll out on a larger scale as you spread across the business.
Companies don’t have the luxury or appetite anymore to weigh down their business with large-scale digital transformation projects. The pandemic busted open the digital front door. It’s up to companies to walk through and settle in with an incremental and outcome-based digital business approach.