Today’s advanced technologies have had a major impact on both the workplace and society as a whole. The mere fact that social media is widely used 24/7 for multiple purposes is a clear sign that technology plays a big part in people’s daily lifestyles - whether personal or professional. Through its ability to drive change, improvement, and progression, rolling out a new digital system or platform, the end goal of businesses of all shapes and sizes is to boost efficiency, operations, sales, ROI, and a lot more.
Given the wide variety of solutions available, making a final choice is tough. And even after selecting a presumed ideal solution, automation won’t render the best results without involving the human factor. According to a study by SandHill, rolling out a new digital platform should go hand in hand with human communication and interaction.
“ The major factor is IT engagement with business management. If a productive dialogue prevails, then any software system deployment has a good chance of considerable success by all measures. If not, a major software project will achieve moderate benefits at best. – Achieving Enterprise Software Success, SandHill”.
Technological implementation requires time, patience and many hours of brainstorming sessions and team work. That’s because CEOs must guarantee that the new platform, software or digital system is the right one for everyone in the company. We cannot know what the future holds in industries like IT, finance, banking or insurance. But one thing’s for sure: all business leaders should be prepared for disruption. In simple terms, that means getting ahead of the competition by onboarding the best people and the most efficient technologies ahead of time.
Before rolling out a new digital system that you think is needed to speed operations or streamline business processes, have a closer look at the following considerations:
Establish why you’d like to implement a new digital system
There has to be a reason behind any CEO’s decision to implement a new digital system for his business. In finance, for example, making a choice goes beyond adopting mainstream technologies such as mobile, cloud, or big data. In this case, the purpose is to change a current business model; it should be a goal-driven purpose that enables the organization to settle on emerging technologies, driving digital transformation at a higher level and boosting performance.
Web-based platforms are transitioning to digital platforms, said Garner analyst Jim Murphy; meaning that increasingly more businesses require unified platforms as they switch from web-only/web-centric onto the digital.
“Increasingly our customers are asking for the capability to be in a single platform between portal (Websites with role-based content) and in Web Content Management (WCM). In other words, they want to deliver content in a unified way: for external and internal experiences. Should we go with a Liferay, which offers the portal technology, or with Adobe, which is focused on the experience delivery mechanisms?”, Murphy added.
In essence, going digital is all about changing the way a company’s teams collaborate; not just what tech stacks they’ve recently implemented to get things done. Why should enterprises do it? One or more of the following reasons may apply: sales are weak, customers are unhappy, employees are unhappy & unproductive, ROI is declining, and a lot more.
Did you know that unhappy employees burn a whole in the US economy’s budget of $605 billion/year? Digital businesses foster engagement via learning opportunities, transparency, and open communication. Putting data at the disposal of the workforce helps track and boost their performance. Being open to digital transformation increases revenues by 23%, according to IDG. Smart strategies like training employees to make smart decisions and use emerging technologies has helped AT&T accelerate profits by 32%.
It all starts with proper communication with employees
After establishing why your company needs to implement a new digital system or platform into the business model, the next logical step is to communicate the benefits in a digestible manner to employees. This will help boost excitement, motivation, and enthusiasm for implementation. Steer clear of enforcing a system without analyzing the potential impact on the user. Understanding everyone’s perspective and customizing the implementation will greatly ease the rollout. To make the transition smoother, the following tips might help:
- Perform a business impact analysis (BIA) for the benefit of everyone involved. After deciding on a new tool or system, take some time to draft a life of those who will use it. Make sure to clarify the impact of the tool on each employee.
- Onboard IT: after choosing a new tool, it’s rather tempting to hand it over to IT and assume they know what to do with it. That’s not exactly the case if the IT department is not communicating with the rest of the staff daily. What you should do is consult with senior managers of each department and convert them into early adopters of the new tech.
- Use tutorials to ease the training: training is fundamental and if your top management is good at communicating with the staff, you’ll get employees onboard a lot easier. Steer clear of written materials and stick to video tutorials with clear examples of how the new system is used. Get the staff to use demos and welcome feedback.
- Develop a rollout strategy: believe it or not, resistance to change is real. The smartest strategy is to consider incremental onboarding based on a weekly schedule. Assign smaller tasks and allow employees to learn the basic functions of the new system without pushing them to master it in full from the first month.
Ensure a smooth merger between the old and the new systems
Regardless of your industry or niche, the next logical step is to understand how existing systems within the enterprise connect with the new tech solution. From asset management platforms (e.i. Aprimo, Bynder, Canto, Cloudinary) to accounting software systems (e.i Xero, FreshBooks, Tipalti, Gusto) and everything in between, aggregating critical data and merging systems together will help provide the organization a unified angle. CTO of Blackstone, Bill Murphy, highlights that “your data environment is like a bunch of Lego blocks so you need to make sure they fit together”.
Streamlining operations via new digital systems and platforms has proven to be particularly challenging in industries like FinTech. According to McKinsey, “the urgency of acting is acute. Banks have three to five years at the most to become digitally proficient”. A common impediment in digital transformation is ensuring customer engagement; not just internal engagement among employees.
Allianz Health Insurance Germany is a great example of digital transformation done right. In 2016, the company partnered with software company, Pegasystems, to help improve its services and provide customers with even better digital experiences. With over 2.5 million insurers and €30 billion in assets, the end goal of the partnership was to exceed the ever-changing needs of the modern customer; while ensuring the highest level of reliability and trust.
To attain its goal, the company adopted the Pega 7 tech stack “as a middle layer” within its existing IT systems to enable a seamless flow of data between insurance professional core systems and agile customer applications. The outcomes: a faster, continuous increase in process automation and transaction processing. According to CEO of Allianz Health Insurance, Dr. Birgit König, “As an insurance company, we need stability and reliability in our IT systems. However, as a customer focused company, we must also balance that requirement with the need to remain agile and fast to meet changing customer demands”.
Learning from the best - MetLife Australia, a case study worth mentioning
The rise of an ever-increasing relationship between financial services and technology has brought tremendous change in Fintech. Changing customer needs, market conditions, the emergence of new players and new regulations are restructuring the way enterprises handle operations. MetLife Australia, for example, implemented a new digital platform in partnership with Statewide Super to allow its members to track and lodge life insurance claims faster and more conveniently. The new platform was developed as an “open insurance” API to enable insurers to scan and upload documents using their smart devices; as well as login and keep track of their claims 24/7.
General manager for Statewide Super, Tony D’Alessandro mentioned that the new platform “delivers the best possible outcomes to claimants, “providing efficiencies and the opportunity for an instant update at any stage of the claims process. We are hoping that by streamlining the application process we are able to take a little bit of the stress out of the situation for those at a time when they most need it most”.
What does digitalization truly imply for the modern enterprise? How can companies cope with ever-changing technologies and over-demanding customers? Although there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for rolling out a new digital system correctly, one thing’s for sure: it’s all about being open to change. Now, more than ever, delighting the customer goes beyond automating simple tasks. Delighting the employee is even more complex in a world where people need to feel appreciated at work in order to feel motivated.
Business platform developer TJIP can help streamline the whole process of switching from the traditional to the digital. As platform engineers, the mission is to support organizations of all shapes and sizes, and help them tackle core operational challenges in the hopes of increasing efficiency, speed, and performance. TJIP believes Business Platforms are the backbone of any application infrastructure. It is the best way for organizations to implement innovation fast, constantly adding new tech stacks while preserving productivity.