Why Organizations Can’t Chart a Clear Course Toward Digital Transformation

The world of business and commerce has been teetering on the brink of major change for a long time. The pandemic gave everyone a big push over the edge, and some businesses fell while some flew. Either way, it made one thing abundantly clear: The businesses that thrive in the 21st century are those that truly embrace digital transformation.

Many companies danced around the idea before, digitizing where they could to make business more efficient or easier. But true digital transformation is something different — a wholesale acknowledgment that the lines between our physical and digital worlds are forever blurred, and that businesses must embrace that reality.

To engage in digital transformation, a company has to rethink and retool all of its processes from top to bottom. Every aspect of its operations — from sales and marketing to customer service to accounting — should be built on a digital framework. It’s not just offering an online store; it’s building the whole customer experience around digital engagement. That’s what we’ve seen in the last year when countless retailers, restaurants, and banks were forced to revamp their service models virtually overnight. Clunky order-and-delivery systems became seamless, app-centered curbside pickup, and online customer experience (CX) systems had to quickly improve how bots delivered service to handle massive shifts in volume.

None of this is new. It’s just come into sharper focus, and our recent survey confirms it. In July 2021, Cyara polled 1,000 business and IT decision-makers within companies from the U.K, Australia, and the U.S. with revenue of at least $3 million and an overall workforce of at least 1,000. What we learned was striking. The vast majority of businesses believe digital transformation is essential for remaining competitive and delivering top-notch customer service. Yet, when it comes to execution, many have a long way to go.

Embracing Digital Is Key to Keeping a Competitive Edge

In our survey, 98% of companies recognized the importance of digital transformation for competitive advantage. This aligns with the results of many other polls in recent years. For instance, a survey by Deloitte about digitization in the wake of the pandemic found that almost two-thirds of respondents believed organizations that don’t digitize in the next five years won’t survive.

Again, the pandemic brought more clarity to this picture. The Deloitte survey showed a direct correlation between an organization’s digital maturity and its ability to stay competitive when facing waves of disruption. Organizations that had already embraced digital transformation were twice as likely to generate revenue growth and net profit margins well above the average for their industries. 

All of this means the sands of the competitive landscape are shifting quickly. Many executives expect their competition in the decade ahead to come from digitally native companies or emerging startups, and that means companies that want to compete must adapt. 

Digital Delivers a Better Customer Experience

This isn’t about going digital for the sake of keeping up with the latest trends in technology. The customer is at the heart of it, and 94% of our survey respondents confirmed that they see value in digital transformation for enhancing the customer experience. 

Digitally transformed companies can deliver a much more potent customer experience because they can collect and use data in ways other organizations cannot. In older models, you have to pull together customer data from various sources — some digital and some physical — and try to make sense of it. Fully integrated digital systems, on the other hand, make it easy to measure the important details of the customer journey from start to finish so you can tailor your CX in meaningful ways. 

Armed with the right data and digital tools, companies can personalize their CX and even directly engage customers in real time. This is what gives digitally savvy companies their competitive edge, and it is why so many business decision-makers see the urgency of the task.  

Who ‘Owns’ Digital Transformation?

Understanding the urgency is only half the battle, though. The other half is implementation, and that’s where it gets messy. 

As with any major organizational change, internal alignment is essential for achieving goals for digital transformation. Yet, as our survey showed, there seems to be no reliable consensus about who owns” digital transformation. When we asked who was driving these initiatives, responses were mixed, pointing to CTOs, CIOs, IT leaders, CEOs, or other C-suite executives. In other words, they’re all looking at each other, and no one is driving the bus. 

The same is true regarding customer experience: Half of the respondents identified their customer service team as responsible for customer loyalty; 48% identified C-suite leadership; and 41% said responsibility for customer loyalty resides with marketing and sales. 

Because of this confusion, everyone feels their company is lagging in attaining its goals for digital transformation. We surveyed both business and IT decision-makers, and both groups believe their organizations are roughly five months behind schedule. 

Catch Up in Your Digital Transformation

There’s some good news in all this. If you’re feeling left behind in delivering a truly digital experience for your customers, you’re not alone. Cyara can help you take the next steps. In fact, Cyara will soon be releasing the full results of the research cited in this post, and the release will feature key takeaways to help any organization chart a course toward digital transformation. Not only that, but Cyara’s Regional VP Ernie Cote will be discussing key findings from the research at our upcoming Cyara Shop Talk session at the Customer Response Summit. The session is titled, Bridging the Chasm: Misalignment between Business and IT on Achieving Digital Transformation. If you’re a brand leader responsible for CX strategy and operations in your business, you won’t want to miss this talk. 

Attendees at Ernie’s upcoming Execs In the Know CRS event session will receive a complimentary advance copy of the full report after the event. Learn more below and register to attend here: https://execsintheknow.com/events/crs-virtual-october-2021/register/ 

Guest post, written by: Elizabeth Magill, VP Marketing, Cyara 

To learn more about digital transformation, register for Execs In The Know’s Customer Response Summit, and watch the Cyara-led panel Bridging the Chasm: Misalignment between Business and IT on Achieving Digital Transformation, October 21, 2021. To attend live or watch on-demand, please register.  

 About Cyara 

As the world’s leading Automated CX Assurance platform provider, Cyara helps you deliver better CX with less effort, cost, and risk. Cyara supports the entire CX software development lifecycle, ensuring enterprises can build flawless customer journeys across digital and voice channels while reducing the risk of customer-facing defects. Every day, the most recognizable brands trust Cyara to help them build better customer experiences faster. For more information, please visit cyara.com.