Reassembling your digital initiatives is crucial for any company hoping to compete in the digital age — in fact, it’s where the digital game is won or lost. Yes, you read that right. No digital initiative is created perfectly. Maybe your company could launch one right off the bat and maintain it indefinitely -- if someone had a genie in their back pocket. But even then, genie wish fulfillments rarely come without snafus, as does real life. Some cases in point:
- No matter how much preplanning may go into a digital initiative, unforeseen challenges will always pop up. Organizational structures may change. Management may change. Those qualified to maintain the transformation program may come and go.
- Leaders and their teams may put the goal of becoming “cool” above practicality. They become passionate and emotionally attached to digital initiatives that they want to see succeed no matter what – no one wants to be seen as a failure. Their efforts to make the initiative work will only make the situation worse because they are mainly focused on forcing the original idea rather than reevaluating it.
- Complications always arise, no matter the lofty goal. Newly hatched digital initiatives almost always have something wrong with them. It’s too clunky. It’s full of clutter (trying to achieve too many things in a remarkably short time). It lacks practicality. It can be translated in many different ways. It has an inside-out view rather than an outside-in approach.
The point is that digital transformation is the result of lots of tinkering. Many leaders believe that if their companies are successful in transforming their company digitally, they don’t need to reassemble, that the digital vision just falls into place for them. On the contrary, digital leaders can’t, and should not, stop re-inventing. It’s not an unfair burden; rather leaders are glad to improve on their digital vision and initiatives. For them, digital transformation is a journey. They know they can’t be successful in transforming their business until they understand that becoming digital is an ever-evolving process, not the destination. If your board expects you to get it right the first time, or even the second time, there are greater chances that you’ll disappoint them. It’s critical that you set their expectations right from the beginning.
What do I mean by reassembling? I don’t mean scrapping your past initiatives and starting with new ones. Most reassembling consists of reshaping and tightening your digital initiatives and refining the execution based on your first attempt. Much of it consists of making sure you’re simplifying the experience for your consumers. Keep putting yourself in the consumer’s place. Is there something that they would like to see for accessing your products and services differently? How do they feel when they interact with your company? Do they feel the brand has changed? And if so, for better or worse?
Whether you answer such questions internally or survey your consumers, the important thing is to continuously craft your digital vision. Stop for a moment, re-think and re-evaluate your initiative from beginning to end, always putting the customer at the center of the exchange; you’ll probably get an answer that leads you in the right direction. You might find that you need a much bigger budget to build a successful mobile app, which you had thought could be done quickly and easily. But your mobile app is not about ‘what you can do’; it is about what your customer can do with it. When you start examining your digital initiative, you’ll find a dismaying number of instances where you might have lost or confused your consumer.
But this process is not meant to be tedious. Learn to enjoy this tidying journey. With every small refinement you make, you’ll soon realize that you’ve come closer to achieving your company’s vision. And when you finally arrive, you’ll know that it was the reassembling, not the initial assembling, that won the digital game.