Are your business operations digital ready?

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As the retail environment gets more digital than ever before, organizations realize the need to adopt digital technologies to run their business. Any kind of digital transformation initiative, however, has to begin with a thorough understanding of the possibilities and limitations of technology, and how it intersects with the organization’s existing infrastructure.

Digital transformation efforts can sometimes fail in spite of extensive research and planning. The number of digital transformation case studies success stories is always offset by an even greater number of cautionary tales about implementations that have gone awry.

One way to maximize the chances of success is to ensure that your business is ‘digital ready’ before you undertake your digital transformation. Here are aspects to consider before you embark on a technological overhaul:

Consider Business Processes

It’s critical to understand the demands and implications of each aspect of your plan and evaluate it to ensure that your business operations can support it. If the new features that you plan aren’t feasible in your current set up, then you’re setting yourself up for failure because you cannot deliver the promises that you make to your customers.

Set a Realistic Roadmap

You need to make an honest evaluation of organizational capacity so that you create a realistic roadmap for technology transformation. For instance, if your strategy requires you to make changes to your store footprint, or requires additional retraining, or hiring of new staff, then you need to factor that into your timeline.  Even a relatively simple thing such offering an e-commerce options means changing the way you store inventory and having a reliable and economical shipping partner. While it may seem minor, the investment and change in processes could be significant especially in larger retail chains. Therefore, it is important to look at the implementation as a holistic business transformation exercise rather than focusing only on the technology aspect.

Solid Customer Insights

No matter what the nature of a business, it ultimately needs to focus on the customer in order to be successful. The better a business understands its customers, the better it can serve them. Technology can be a great tool to empower people across the organization with useful and relevant customer insights. The digital transformation presents an opportunity to consider how you can shape your organization and its departments around the customer. One option might be breaking the business down into natural groupings based on the customer journey to create small, specialized groups that focus on each of stage of that journey.

Checks and Balances

Given the complexities of implementing a digital transformation, establishing a set of internal and external metrics to measure progress are crucial to success. Building a deep, three-dimensional understanding across all departments to measure impact can help to correct any mistakes and also spark new ideas.  The changes you implement likely won’t be perfect right out of the gate, so expect to do some finessing before you get things right.

If you’d like to know more about building a customer-centric transformation journey, click on the link to read a whitepaper on the topic: http://ibisinc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/2017_Customer-Journey-WP_Final-Web.pdf

Milind Gehlot

Article written by

Product Manager, Dynamics 365& Brick & Click at Sonata Software

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