Strategy, not technology, is the lifeblood of digital transformation

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| The European | 16th October 2018
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Admit it. You’ve sat in a boardroom and heard people throwing around the latest tech buzzwords of AI, automation, blockchain, IoT, and machine learning. Infuriating, isn’t it?  You’ve just invested in that last innovation and a new one comes along. You’re warned of the threat of yet another new startup or nimble competitor taking advantage of the low barrier to entry that technology provides.

But, beneath the buzzwords lies a crucial concept: digital transformation. The opportunity to take advantage of advancements in technology can help solve your business’s problems. The increased pressure on pioneering executives to change the established order can be daunting. This could explain why according to the McKinsey Global Institute’s Industry Digitization Index, Europe is currently operating at just 12% of its digital capability.

At 3 SIDED CUBE we believe the problem is that too often organisations try to bend their existing strategy to fit with the latest technology. They can be so keen to find a problem that fits the solution, that they can end up focusing on areas that bring little or no real value to their mission. Digital transformation should not be about implementing the latest technology to keep up to date with trends. However, it is about looking at how digital is an enabler to solve practical issues for your users.

Our experts at 3 SIDED CUBE never start with a particular technology in mind, our focus is on how to make the most significant impact for users, before looking at which solution can help them with their mission to “build tech for good”.

Making America give again 

The business case for digital transformation is evident in our ongoing collaboration with the American Red Cross. With blood banks running low and donations continuing to plummet, the charity needed to revolutionise the way donors in the US registered and booked appointments to give blood. This is where we stepped in. Our developers at 3 SIDED CUBE quickly came to realise that at the heart of the problem was a fundamental misunderstanding of what motivated potential donors. Convenience and engagement were both important factors to consider, but what really made the experience unique was the sense of impact and social good people would gain from knowing they’d helped save a life.

The strategy that we created transformed the donation process, breaking down barriers that existing and potential donors were facing. Easy registration, blood donation tracking and gamification of life-saving features was the answer to the needs of the American Red Cross. The technology to offer this transformation was, in this case, a mobile app with push notifications and data optimisation. The Blood Donor app has generated a 30% increase in people attending blood donations, raised over $80m for the charity and, most importantly, helped to save countless lives every day.

Digital: offering new types of innovation

We believe that the main reason digital transformation fails is that organisations see adopting technology as just a software upgrade. Too often they will create a siloed team that is then supposed to impose “digital” across the rest of the organisation. This rarely works, as it is hard for a separate team to impact the culture across the business. There may be pockets of individual success, but to truly create change, the concepts need to be embedded from the ground up.

While it can be a challenge, digital transformation is a significant opportunity to put users at the centre of your strategy. Often it takes a fresh set of eyes to challenge processes, people and efficiencies.

Outsourcing the business process and bespoke software development can make the transformation easier. 3 SIDED CUBE has helped many organisations including the RSPB, Lloyds Banking Group and the NHS to work out how to practically implement the next generation of tech.

In the case of the Blood Donor app, we spent a week with real users in the US, identifying their pain points and looking at how the process could be improved. We were able to use that on-site knowledge to create a working prototype in just five days and test it with the same users. This ambitious approach is part of 3 SIDED CUBE’s “Discover and Define” process, looking to put the customer at the centre of strategy and operations.

Brands have long understood the importance of user-centric solutions, but many organisations have failed to implement them. The digital customer may start an interaction with your business on their desktop, continue on their mobile as they walk to the car, and then complete with voice command on their Alexa at home. Looking at every channel is important, but finding the right strategy for your organisation can be one of the biggest challenges to technological optimisation.

Putting people first

Organisations that have reached new heights of success are those that have realised the connection with their customers is paramount. The digitised consumer wants to build a relationship with you, therefore, showing them that your brand is serious about adopting change will keep them engaged and reap the rewards for your business. With almost everyone possessing a supercomputer in their pocket, one of the most vital components of a digital transformation strategy is the mobile app. Today’s devices can integrate with so many technological advancements that they should be at the centre of any digital solution.

3 SIDED CUBE advocates the “Discover and Define” process to let organisations fully explore and understand their business, their users, and their goals, before building the bigger picture of what an app will look like and do. Mobile apps help to take a company to the next level, showing your customers and those pesky competitors just how adaptable you are.

Altering the balance of power

As companies become increasingly aware of the need to adopt a digital transformation strategy, better engagement with users, clients and the wider market is a necessity.

Digital technology is drastically altering the balance of power between customers and companies. The organisations that meet their consumers’ expectations, and evolve as new tech arrives, are those that can show strategic resilience in the face of the fast-moving digital change.

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