Cultural Essentials for Digital Transformation

The essence of digital transformation is not technological, but rather about culture and attitude. We must shift from an organization-centric view of the world to a customer-centric one. Here are some of the essential characteristics of a truly customer-centric organization.

Customer top tasks

What is most important to the customer, rather than what is most important to the organization? Relentlessly focus on customer top tasks. What is least important to the customer? Stop doing that. Stop producing features and content on that. Remove features and content connected with these tiny tasks.

Empathy for the customer

Drive more human-to-human customer interactions. Make sure that everyone involved in creating things that are for the customer regularly spends time interacting with and observing the customer. Create bridges between production and use. Feed the organization regular customer experience information that goes beyond simply data. Show actual, real experiences of customers interacting with the organization. Show actual, real customer journeys, not ones invented in workshops or in the heads of designers.

Simplicity obsession

Always be asking: How to we make the top task simpler, faster, easier? Focus not just on simplifying the new stuff. It is often more important to simplify the legacy content and tools. Maintenance and removal of that which is old and out-of-date can often be one of the best acts of simplification.

Rapid evolution with the customer

Design with the customer, for the customer, by the customer. Make sure systems are built to change, not built to last. Get the thing into the world of the customer as quickly as possible and iterate it based on how it is used. No more launch and leave. Launch and continuously improve.

Multidisciplinary collaboration

The complex problems of today cannot truly be solved by one silo, one department, one gender, one cultural outlook. Encourage multidisciplinary teams and disparate perspectives. Reward those who build bridges and go outside their comfort zones. Embrace organizational complexity in order to create customer simplicity.

Evidence based decision making using customer behavior

At every step we must get evidence of what is actually happening. We must have data on what customers are doing, not what they say they’re doing. At all times, we need to avoid organizational opinion. Live in the world of the shifting hypothesis and constantly test everything. What will be a great customer experience today will likely be a poor one in twelve months’ time.

Transparency, fairness, trust

Assume that everything digital is ultimately findable. It’s so hard to keep digital secrets that often the best strategy is to be as transparent as possible. This requires a business model that is fair to the customer. Customer trust is collapsing and it can only be rebuilt on the foundations of fairness and transparency. Your default position should be to make everything free, transparent. Only lock stuff up that absolutely must be locked up.

Measuring customer outcomes

We must carefully measure how customers are performing their top tasks. Are they successful? If so, how long is it taking them? Organizations are good at measuring what they do but they are not so good at measuring what the customer does. In this transformed world we must put the customer at the center of everything. The best way to do that is to establish Key Performance Indicators (KPI) of the Customer. The best KPI focuses on reducing customer time.