Break free

Break free from the obstacles standing between your customer experience and a Digital Transformation

23 January 2020

Customer Experience
Customer Centricity

Companies with strong omni-channel strategies and delivery exhibit a 10% year-over-year growth, an increase in order value and an average of 25% increase in sales close rates. So, why aren't all companies working on their omni-channel capacity and enhancing digital touchpoints? They only see the obstacles and don’t know how to overcome them. Luckily, we have a few ideas.

Modernize or open up your legacy

One of the first obstacles is the IT landscape; many companies' core business are running on legacy applications that have been in place for ten or twenty years, sometimes longer. Maintaining these applications is harder and harder, as fewer people actually know how to run them, or are aware of the business rules for these applications.

Usually these applications were built for a single channel, and do their job well enough for now. To open them up to new channels is nearly impossible, however, as are, even more importantly, regular modifications to keep up with ever changing business rules, or to allow the company to develop new business models. And the conflict between business and IT just keeps growing, with large budgets are spent on IT to keep everything running, while the business urgently desires a change, and all divisional budgets are carefully examined for possible cutbacks.


The move towards a dynamic platform that is open enough to cope with changing business models is not a simple one, and will require significant investment. Even so, all companies should evaluate their IT landscape and begin moving towards agile, open and future proof platforms, implementing plans and budgets that span multiple years.

Start small, but focus on establishing your first successes fast and in parallel, with IT and business working side by side. Impact mapping is a great collaborative technique to get aligned quickly. In the end, you share the responsibility for the provision of a great digital experience to your customers and partners.

We’re all in this together

The second obstacle we have encountered is 'not-me' thinking. We regularly see companies that are convinced that all these ideas about digital transformation are not relevant to them. It will only affect the next generation, or is only happening in other sectors. B2B companies conclude that digital disruption is limited to B2C environments, based on the usual suspects such as Netflix and Spotify.

Rest assured, however; this will soon be an important driver of success for every one of us, for all business models. No company can continue denying the changes in consumer expectations and behavior and opportunities for innovation. If you don't make preparations now, your competitors will.  And worse, the competition won't just be within your own industry, but players in other sectors as well, looking to disrupt your market. It is time to look further, to be inspired by examples from all over, and to free up some time for digital innovations within your own company. Encourage everybody's ideas within your company and try small things; just keep trying and testing them.

Prizes are only awarded at the finish line

 Another obstacle is short term thinking. Companies look at events in the current quarter to achieve the results they promised to their (internal) stakeholders. Teams celebrate the successes of the past quarter or spend time analyzing why the results were not as predicted, before quickly focusing on delivering the next quarter’s results and sprinting towards its closing. Then, they run the same race all over again, focusing each final quarter on securing their yearly bonus.

Innovation and digital transformation cannot just be ad-hoc initiatives launched within a division during a certain quarter. You need to PLAN for innovation. In a structural way; looking further than the current quarter or financial year. This doesn't mean that all your employees should be champion innovators, or that you need to come up with something new every single day, but you must plan carefully. Don't sequester all innovators in one division, resulting in the 'not invented here' syndrome, but instead have your innovation division facilitate your organization as a whole.

outside the box

Install a digital mindset

Finally, your employees can also be obstacles to your digital transformation. For example, in traditional retail companies, online outlets are still considered a threat by the employees of the brick and mortar stores. This is due to bonus systems implemented by managers that focus on the success of the local, physical store. Instead, success should be measured for all managers across the entire company, stimulating employees to direct customers towards the online store if they are out of stock. Of course, the customer experience should be of the same high quality for both the physical and online stores, providing the best omni-channel experience. Simple business processes such as the return of goods should be possible through any channel, independent of the purchasing channel.

Start today to be relevant tomorrow

There are many hurdles and obstacles you must overcome to achieve a business and digital transformation. Start your planning today. We can help you to stop expending all your time and energy on keeping your systems up and operating well, and move on to innovative excellence. We will do this in small steps, in co-creation mode, with a clear approach that can be tailored to your needs, whatever your current digital level of maturity. Contact us for a more detailed explanation of our approach and ways we can help you move forward.

I want to break free

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