By Sudeep Acharya

Closing The Digital Transformation Execution Gap

Closing The Digital Transformation Execution Gap

We constantly talk about how digital transformations can help close the customer experience gap, but we rarely talk about the other gap: the execution gap.

With the number of technology options, companies now have at their fingertips – smartphones, data analytics and machine learning, connectivity like never before – expectations of technology capabilities are at an all-time high.

But the reality is new technology rarely meets those expectations. In fact, a global survey reported that more than 400 Global CEOs found that executional excellence was the number one challenge they faced, coming at the top of some 80 other issues.

How does an execution gap happen?

Before technology was core to our everyday business operations, digital projects would take one to two years to deliver. In today’s world, companies want new features, functionalities and services every quarter, month and even every week. Considering the amount of hype around new technologies it’s no surprise companies expect digital solutions to deliver customer success and profitability – fast.

This is what we call the execution gap – where expectations far surpass the reality of a solution. Some of these key contributors include:

  • The gap between IT agile delivery model and business operation model
  • Delivery model not focusing on measurable value
  • Disconnected process and tools for operations management
  • No prioritisation on knowledge sharing and innovation
  • No central leadership/decision-maker
  • Lack of shared communication

All these contributing factors can lead to a digital solution that dissatisfies executives, employees, stakeholders and ultimately customers.

How can you start reducing the execution gap?

When a company implements a technology or digital transformation, one of the main reasons it fails is because the execution didn’t hold true to the needs of the customer or the business.

Advisory services can help close the gap – and I say close not eliminate, because after all, we’re not magicians – by offering solid design methods to help you connect strategy to execution. These can include:

1. Aligning your vision to your technology

Be clear about why you need this new technology solution in the first place. That starts with looking beyond the generic vision statement like “We’re going to be more mobile”, and start by understanding how strategy and technology align. By guiding companies through this process we can help turn those reasons into attributes and goals that will be used to deliver the tech solution.

When you use this approach of aligning your vision to your technology, you are then able to assign tangible and measurable criteria to your goals. For example, you could determine a timeframe to reduce call handling time by 25% and measure your ROI.

2. Encouraging blue-sky thinking through design-thinking

By prototyping blue-sky thinking through building sketches, trying out ideas and making iterations, companies can disprove ideas and find the right ways of working faster.

Looking beyond the cool user experience

A digital transformation is really about creating an ideal business customer journey. And that starts by optimising your business processes, your product offerings and your culture to ultimately focus more on the customer’s needs. To provide the continuous value you need to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and start thinking about how they feel, think and where they want to click so you can transform the customer experience in its totality.

Value vs Cost

Understanding the value of a certain feature or technology solution is crucial to its success. And so is understanding the cost of building that feature. When the value is lower than the cost that’s when the execution gap starts forming. Unless a feature is an absolute must-have or there are internal reasons, technology features and solutions should be prioritised by its value.

In today’s business environment you can’t just implement a technology solution and hope it works. Successful execution of a display transformation requires agile methods, design thinking and purposeful yet measurable goals.

In order to close the execution gap, you need to disrupt traditional operating models. If you can start to do that, I guarantee you will find a lot more satisfied executives, employees, stakeholders and customers instead of dissatisfied ones.

Get in touch to learn more about the importance of closing the execution gap and how to create value through business and IT alignment.

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