2020: The Digital Office?

Despite the intense debate about digital on social media there appears to be limited insight about the practical, tangible application of these new ways of working and technology on our personal working lives. 

Here are some indicative examples of such potential digital services that could be designed, implemented and managed by system integrators and outsourcers for their clients in 2020…

Personalised work search engine (Cloud): When I “log in” for work (from anywhere, on any device) I don’t access a Windows desktop screen; I enter a customised, secure search portal that uses text, voice or picture commands. This engine can instantly access all the internal and external apps and data I need to carry out my job. It can run, possibly hundreds of searches and tasks simultaneously in the background. My own and colleagues’ work using this engine is also shared dynamically, intuitively across our organisation.  It is the beating heart of our competitive advantage.

Meeting/workshop automated workflow (Internet of Everything):  Sensors in breakout rooms automatically record my meeting/workshop outputs and share them with relevant stakeholders via email, follow up appointments and enterprise social media tools. This includes creating actions/tasks for people that have been identified at these sessions. Consequently I spend less time on administration and related low value tasks.

Social media analysis and response (Artificial Intelligence):  My virtual personal office assistant has learnt by itself my work interests and objectives. It’s constantly applying this insight across external and enterprise (internal) social media channels to identify and engage organisations or individuals of benefit to me. Often it will intuitively speak/respond on my behalf on these channels to help raise my profile with these stakeholders, do a deep dive analysis of a new contact’s social media footprint to recommend ways for me to engage/work with them, or sign me up for events where such groups are participating. Unlike the bland social media robots of today, my assistant is a true reflection of my personality that is a critical networking tool.

Location-based time recording (GIS):  I no longer have to complete my timesheet manually. Sensors at my client site, company office and home office capture my location and time spent there – this data is used to record my time against my assignments and deliverables. As a result, billing and expenses for client work is smarter and faster.

Monthly performance assessment (Analytics): At the end of each month I receive a report on my productivity; how much time I spent on different tasks versus what was achieved during that period. It also compares my current against historic performance to spot any positive or negative trends.  I can use this information with my line manager to address any issues and training development needs proactively. My organisation benefits from using a performance management approach that is based on actual data driven insight rather than anecdotal evidence.

If you would like more information about how Sopra Steria can help your organisation realise a digital office please contact the Sopra Steria Digital Practice.

How can a Chief Digital Officer make a difference to C-Suite?

Digital transformation offers a range of benefits for your organisation’s C-Suite and their business areas. However these stakeholders will also have legitimate concerns about its implementation.

It’s the role of the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) to empower and support the following senior managers to address the people, process and technology challenges to maximise the chances of success.

Chief Finance Officer: For a CFO, digital transformation offers a potential “rapid” return on investment because it delivers benefits incrementally versus a big bang approach. This Agile approach also helps spreads organisational risk because it drives ownership of digital across all business areas.

However, accounting for rapid service change can be problematic because it’s hard to distinguish CapEx and OpEx budgets from each other (is website optimisation a transformative or business as usual activity, for example?). Consequently it can be harder to trace financial/bottom line benefits to such change – an issue further exacerbated by limited benchmarks and other evidence being currently available about successful digital transformation. Is it all true good to be true?

To address this, the CDO should take ownership of the strategic benefits case for digital transformation in collaboration with the Chief Finance Officer and be responsible (and accountable) for ensuring its effective realisation with the whole of C-Suite.

Chief Marketing Officer: A CMO will want to use capabilities enabled by digital transformation to deliver (big) data powered personalisation of products and services to customers. This blending of customer and user experience design together creates responsive aligned sales channels that should increase competitiveness in disruptive uncertain markets.

Such transformation may require a costly re-branding exercise and the organisation itself may not be able to move quick enough to deliver these benefits before competitors start imitating such innovation and steal market share. Furthermore, social media customer engagement poses reputational risks that if mishandled could damage the organisation’s brand permanently.

The CDO should be constantly selling (evangelising?) the benefits of digital for customers and employees to drive buy-in of digital transformation from C-Suite. Key to this is the CDO using social media to personally spread this message (and commitment) constantly, consistently to market and internal stakeholders. In addition the CDO should proactively lead service and product innovation to help the CMO maximise the full benefits of digital.

Chief Operating Officer: The COO will like the way digital transformation empowers employees at all levels to deliver greater organisational efficiency and effectiveness. This includes the required breaking down of business and IT silos to realise new ways of working using digital technology. These strategic benefits include the design and implementation of a future proof operating model that can meet further market disruption and technologies.

But the COO may find such change highly challenging because it probably means a fundamental redesign of parts of the whole organisation – a major pain point could be the existing IT legacy systems that have to be adapted or worse yet replaced to enable such capabilities. Further problems could also arise from having to deliver high, unrealistic expectations for big data and analytics. Other people and process issues may also present blockers to success (for example incumbent teams having to transition from Waterfall to Agile).

In response the CDO needs to take a thought leadership and implementation role in the design and realisation of a new digital operating model with the COO. Part of this role is providing “hands on” management consultancy capabilities required to successfully implement a model that addresses these technology, people and process challenges. This will make the CDO a critical friend and partner with the COO in delivering successful digital transformation.

Chief HR Officer: Like the rest of C-Suite the CHRO will want to realise the people benefits of greater employee empowerment, integrated working and building of internal capabilities. Not only should digital transformation increase market competitiveness, it should have a positive impact on employee development opportunities, morale and performance.

Yet given the immaturity of digital transformation such business change could be problematic – existing employees may lack the skills and confidence for it to be successful. Training such resources may also be costly and set unrealistic expectations for their performance. Recruiting for new specialist roles (like Data Scientist or Agile Coach for example) could be challenging as there is limited supply right now in the labour market for these resources and high demand is pushing up/inflating salary expectations.

Both the CDO and CHRO need to have a deep understanding of these business change and HR issues. Key to addressing them is having the CDO apply market insight to help find the right best practice approach to up-skilling and training while also leveraging networking contacts to help find the right resources. The CDO must play a material positive supporting role to the CHRO to get people in the right place to deliver Digital Transformation.

Chief Digital Officer – potential benefits for C-Suite:

  • Digital strategy and benefits management/ownership
  • Evangelist driving buy-in and innovation
  • CX/UX target operating model design and implementation
  • HR and business change in-house consultancy

How can a CDO maximise the benefits of Digital Transformation for your organisation?

If you would like to find out more about the role of the Chief Digital Officer in C-Suite please leave a reply below, or contact the Sopra Steria Digital Practice.

The next digital disruption: buying B2B services using social media channels?

Digital Transformation is changing how businesses interact with customers and each other.

In this environment business-to-business (B2B) service providers face the constant threat of “digital disrupters” – new entrants who don’t fundamentally change the underlying product or service but win (or steal?) market share by leveraging new ways to interact with customers/clients and suppliers.

But couldn’t an existing B2B service provider become the digital disrupter by leveraging social media to create a new, differentiated approach to market engagement to deliver sustainable competitive advantage?

Here are some (radical?) ideas…

Customer led innovation: clients could potentially benefit from best practice about digital transformation being shared rapidly from different sectors (for example, the innovative work in UK central government and retail). A service provider could use its social media channel(s) to enable this sharing in an intuitive, dynamic way tailored to specific client needs. Furthermore, the provider could use gamification to incentivise the sharing of insights, advise directly between companies (such as discounting its services for clients providing such support). This would help position the B2B service provider’s brand as a collaborative thought leader in digital transformation.

Deepening personalisation: a provider could engage directly in all the social media activity of a client (at all levels including organisational, team and individual). Although there is a risk of appearing intrusive, it’s a way of building more intimate relationships with existing clients and sourcing new ones. This would also pro-actively complement and enhance other sales and account management approaches it uses.

Intensifying responsiveness: undoubtedly radical and reputationally risky, clients could post their complaints, issues and other feedback directly on a B2B service provider’s social media channels. The value comes from how the provider deals with these issues openly in this public space; a positive opportunity to explicitly demonstrate its strong commitment to quality service delivery.

Buy buttons: underlying these social media channel approaches would be the tools to enable a client to contact a sales representative immediately to purchase the provider’s services. Depending on the agility of the provider, potentially these services could be bought and stood up on the same day – now that’s digital transformation!

If you would like to find out more about how digital transformation can benefit your business, please leave a reply below, or contact the Sopra Steria Digital Practice.

The UX “snowball effect”

How transforming the user experience can deliver rapid, ever-increasing business benefits

A key strength of applying a user centric Agile approach to digital transformation is that it can deliver incremental improvements to the customer and employee experience without having to reconfigure an organisation’s entire operating model “all at once”.  Furthermore this approach can enable further benefits to be potentially realised across the whole business.

These improvements alone may not always generate great bottom line benefits for different organisational stakeholders, but cumulatively they can have a massive (“snowballing”) sustainable impact.  Also this approach may be the only way smaller organisations can realise the benefits of digital ways of working and technology at an acceptable level of risk.

Here’s an example of how this UX snowball effect could potentially deliver the tangible business benefits of digital transformation in less than one year for a medium sized high street and on-line retailer (note all change activities described in this scenario are tactical, not strategic):

  1. An on-line channel requires users to complete a free text form; the process is cumbersome for customers leading to a significant number of complaints and drop-out to off-line sales channels. Based on customer and service centre feedback, the onsite UX team designed and implemented a new on-line form that uses drop down menus. This made the process of completing the form for all users easier and more responsive – and resulted in more on-line purchases and a reduction in complaints
    Cumulative indicative benefits:  improved customer satisfaction score 
  2. Because the UX team used Agile to deliver this user experience enhancement quickly in collaboration with the customer service centre management team, these stakeholders were able to rationalise back office capabilities in parallel that generated cost efficiencies
    Cumulative indicative benefits: improved customer satisfaction score + reduced costs to serve 
  3. The significantly reduced admin burden meant sales staff could focus on higher value engagement activities such as engaging new customers
    Cumulative indicative benefits: improved customer satisfaction score + reduced costs to serve + increased new customer acquisition 
  4. The user-friendly on-line form also enabled cleaner, more accurate data to be collected about customers’ browsing and purchasing behaviour; using money saved from back office efficiencies, managers invested in analytics/reporting tools to create a better understanding of customer needs based on this deeper information. This insight meant the company could pro-actively respond to the changing demands of individual customers
    Cumulative indicative benefits:  improved customer satisfaction score + reduced costs to serve + increased new customer acquisition + data driven personalisation 
  5. Using insights gathered from the data analysis, marketing were able to use this evidence to build a business case for new innovative services that addressed genuine gaps in the market
    Total UX “snowball benefits” realised in one year: improved customer satisfaction score + reduced costs to serve + increased new customer acquisition + data driven personalisation + lower risk diversification

…And all resulting from innovating the user experience for completing an on-line form!

If you would like more information about the issues discussed in this post, or how digital transformation can benefit your business, please leave a reply below, or contact the Sopra Steria digital practice