Nowadays, we are listening these two words wherever we go: ‘Digital Transformation’. Every company is doing its own Digital Transformation, hiring many people, making many projects, replacing its “old technology architecture” and all this “new stuff”.
If you looking carefully at many of this companies, people working there keep working more or less the same way. Sorry, it’s true that there are “new roles” like “Scrum Master”, “Product Owner”, “Functional Architect”, “Digital Channels Manager”, “Devops Engineer”, “Big Data Engineer”, “Data Analyst”…,etc and maybe they are working in an “agile way”, having meetings at the beginning of the day, using post-it everywhere and coding in the latest language or framework known.
But the reality is that most of them don’t know why they have to use Scrum or why decomposing business in domains and using a microservices oriented architecture is better than the old way.
They just keep working and now, the old Project Manager is a Scrum Master, the old Functional Analyst is a Product Owner and there are several people working as a develop team that every two or three weeks have to make a demo. The old working place changes to an open space, the ties are removed and there are two screens for every worker.
Behind of this new image, everybody knows that there is a deadline from the beginning of the project, the Scrum Master is checking everyday in the Gantt Diagram if the deadline is possible or the team will have to overwork and Business people are attending to the demos but they are waiting for the final release, several months later…
In many companies, this is the real Digital Transformation. New face but old body.
So, what do I think Digital Transformation is?
Nowadays, customers are looking for companies that offers their services in every device, companies that can offer a service while the customer is in the bus on his way to work, companies that offer an enrollment service without going to an office and in several minutes time instead of several days or companies that improve their service everyday because they know their customers perfectly: their habits, their positions, their hobbies,…,etc and can offer the best suitable product to each customer in every situation.
The “new customer” doesn’t hesitate to hire a service to another company if the current one is not providing the service he needs. Loyalty is something that the companies has to fight for by improving their services everyday.
Now, the important is not just being the first, you have to be the first one to offer the service that customer is demanding today and for sure, it’s going to be different tomorrow.
For those reasons, Digital Transformation is about focusing in customer, in every channel, in every place, in every situation. Digital Transformation is knowing the customer needs before the competitors, providing a solution and improving it continuously.
Getting this objetive needs a big cultural change. Dont’t get angry for this but Digital Transformation is not just projects, deadlines and budgets. Digital Transformation is about quality in the whole process and every activity and continuous improvement. Only works if every department and each people in the company are focused in the customer and worried about quality, continuous improvement and working as a one team.
Everyone has to understand why sometimes choosing an Agile methodology is better than choosing a waterfall one. Everyone has to understand that it’s necessary to prioritize what customers need instead of keeping the budget or get the deadline. Everyone has to understand that if the customer doesn’t like the product, you have lost money, time and maybe the trust of the customer.
Digital Transformation is thinking about how you can improve your time to market, how you can optimize your processes in order to get a better customer experience, how you can give the same service in all the channels,…,etc.
This is not just technology or implementing an Agile methodology. Technologies or Agile methodologies are just tools to get an easy way to achieve your Digital Transformation but Technology is not going to tell you how you have to improve your business, where you can reduce steps in your processes or how you have to know better to your customers.
It’s true that choosing good tools, frameworks or methodologies is a key factor to achieve the Digital Transformation but for choosing the right ones, it’s essential knowing what you want to improve and what must be the first to improve, and then, choose the right tools.
As an Architect, I think there are four key questions that we can use to improve the customer experience:
- What (do I want/need to improve in order to provide a better customer experience)?
- Why (do I want/need to improve that)?
- How (am I going to improve that)?
- With what (am I going to improve that)?
Only the last question is about tools, technology, methodology, etc…
I think that the main error is making these questions in the opposite order.
If you can optimize your processes in order to provide a better experience to your customers, the side effects you will achieve are less costs and more revenues for your company.
It’s easy, isn’t it?