4 Takeaways to Achieve Digital Transformation with Salesforce

September 13, 2018

The move to digital, the importance of experience, and business model disruption are driving companies to reinvent their business with Salesforce, but with the presumption that change is synonymous with success. The fact is, reinvention without continuous innovation is nothing more than an upgrade.
 
A recent McKinsey report stated, “Without continuous transformation of the core—the value proposition, people, processes, and technologies that are the lifeblood of the business—any digital initiative is likely to be a short-term fix.”
 
I recently sat down with Cindy Breshears, Bluewolf’s Chief Transformation Officer, to understand what digital transformation means to businesses today and the challenges and factors that separate a successful versus a struggling digital transformation.
 
Q: Cindy, what does digital transformation mean to you?
 
In the business world of the past, digital used to be called “technology initiatives,” enacted in a siloed, project-based approach–a band-aid to solve the symptom, not the problem, which kept legacy systems largely in place and unaffected. When initiatives are siloed in nature, with each department moving ahead with their specific strategy, goals aren’t aligned to the business collectively. In the new era of digital transformation, most organizations start out thinking of these initiatives as front-end customer touch points.  
 
The best companies are thinking about digital transformation end-to-end, not just the front office and back office. The alignment has to come from the top down through the organization, to align the customer journey initiatives and outcomes with the digital transformation objectives. The definition of customer in this instance meaning both internal and external.

We have built these type of approaches across the Financial Services, Distribution, and Telecommunications industries. Some of the organizations were on their Salesforce journey already and others just beginning. What was consistent in all of them was the need for a structure to align the business and technology transformation through business value, objectives and enterprise adoption to the transformation.

Taking this type of approach allows you to build strategic and tactical excellence and innovation continuously into the organization.
  
Q: What are typical challenges that come with taking on a whole-company digital transformation?
 
Typical challenges I see business leaders face are:

  • Can the business articulate what digital transformation means to them?
  • Do they have an organization that can relate to customer experience? 
  • Do they have processes, resources, and timelines in place to keep digital transformation operating and innovating? While supporting the traditional day to day?
  • Are they able to keep up with business value and constant re-evaluation of ROI? 

 
Q: What should business leaders do to counter these challenges and drive meaningful impact with their digital initiatives?
 
Let’s take each challenge separately:
 

  1. View digital transformation end-to-end across the customer lifecycle. Work, top down, with each part of the business to determine what digital transformation means to them and/or the company. This will drive a better understanding of what initiatives to prioritize and how to implement solutions that will scale across the organization.
  2. Create an experience-led culture. Assemble the right team by finding talent that can feed traditional IT transformation, while also relating to customer experience design and execution of digital innovation solutions to better support business and technology alignment.
  3. Build innovation as a capability to ensure digital transformation happens regularly. Create an organization-wide “factory” that builds up capacity to keep Salesforce innovation operating, from scaling efforts to tackling new problems; otherwise, innovation will stagnate no matter how cutting-edge the strategy is. 

    Bluewolf’s Operating Model is an approach that we use to help clients scale innovation and operational excellence. Under one program, clients access all of Bluewolf’s capabilities–from design thinking and
    prototyping, to building and assigning projects to the transformation roadmap, implementing small, medium, and large-scale strategic build-outs, and supporting and scaling Salesforce initiatives–aligning digital transformation goals with an approach that continually focuses on strategy, internal alignment, and implementation to drive the change companies want to see.
  4. Re-evaluate business outcomes and ROI often. Neglecting digital initiatives after they’ve gone live is bad for business. Constant re-evaluation of your business outcomes and business value metrics help to reduce TCO (total cost of ownership) and maintain the value of your technology investments. 

 
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