With the digital transformation market predicted to be worth an estimated 6.8 trillion USD globally in 2029, more and more brands are realising that to survive in an ever-changing market, they must transform.

The problem, however, is that less than 30% of brands feel their transformation is successful, which makes transformation an expensive investment, when not seeing meaningful results.

The solution is to adopt a people-centred transformation approach, which puts your consumers, employees, partners and society at the centre of your transformation, moving your business into a position to rapidly respond to an ever-changing market.

To reap the rewards , you need to adopt a transformation mindset whilst getting the key components right. This includes setting out a vision with clear targets, eliminating silos and embedding new ways of working, enabled through cleverly selected technology.

The transformation mindset:

With almost 75% of businesses listing digital transformation as their top priority, competition is fierce.  Staying one step ahead of your competitors and adopting a people-centred transformation,  will allow you to consistently meet ever-evolving consumer expectations.

Transformation can be daunting and trying to do everything at once has the potential to disrupt your daily business operations. Having a think big, start small and scale fast mindset to transformation  gives businesses peace of mind that they can get the foundations right before embedding significant changes throughout the entire organisation.

Another important element that should be considered throughout your transformation is actively listening to your consumers to help solve and overcome their challenges. Truly knowing what your customers needs or expects will put you in a position that sets your transformation success apart from the rest. Business transformation is a great opportunity to use creativity to solve problems. Standard frameworks and solutions are of course useful, but with a high level of competition,  creative problem solving helps to stand out against your competitors. Using creativity to drive a transformation enables brands to be more adaptive in the way they respond to consumers’ needs and optimise their capabilities such as data, technology, creative and media to curate the right experience.

Set the vision & strategy:

As simple as it may sound, many businesses get this critical first step wrong.

Brands need to be clear on what outcomes the business is looking to achieve to meet consumer expectations and deliver business impact. This clear vision and strategy increases buy-in and offers an opportunity to get important feedback from your people. It’s vital that every employee is clear as to what their role is in the transformation, because without everyone being aligned to one common goal, there is potential for a disconnect between teams which will cause silos that may negatively impact business outcomes. Through creating that clarity for your teams and involving senior leadership sponsors to show support for that vision, this will then trickle down to the entire organisation and eventually your consumers.

So even though your business transformation will mainly impact your employees in terms of day to day operations, it is important that when setting your vision that you start with the customer and the experience you want them to have when interacting with your brand. It all starts with knowing your customer and defining what type of relationship you want to have with them. However, It goes beyond just defining what the desired relationship is. To stay relevant in this competitive market, you need to understand the relationship attributes and characteristics that align with your customers’ intents, meet their goals, and alleviate their pain points.

Once you have this defined, you can then start to map out where you can provide value to the customers to build those relationships, which can start to shape your vision and strategy for your transformation. By following this approach, it can keep you on the right track to maintain an external facing view of transformation which will help drive real business outcomes.

Establish targets:

Once the vision & strategy has been defined, the next thing to do is establish clear targets so that you can clearly measure success. Businesses often tend to measure the wrong things when it comes to transformation, but by setting clear objectives and KPIs that align to your vision , you can create the behavioural change in your teams. You get what you measure, and by ensuring every KPI aligns to your desired outcome and strategy, your brand will be on the right path.

By making sure that your targets are clear, your teams are empowered to meet the objectives. This will help to create further clarity in defining what role your people play in your transformation.

Bridge Silos:

We all know the negative impact silos can have on an organisation, yet they exist in a majority of businesses and industries. Fundamentally, siloed organisations can damage the customer experience. How many times as a consumer have you seen an ad for a product or service after you’ve just purchased it? Consumers today expect more than that from the brands they interact with and to deliver on those expectations the silos within your organisation need to be broken and united to ensure that the end customer journey is seamless.

These silos must be bridged to ensure that the entirety of your business is working towards the same transformation goal. To do this effectively, the first step is identifying where silos have been created and which teams are misaligned. Are your Commerce teams connected to your Service teams? Do your Media and CRM teams have an integrated planning approach? Identifying the points of friction within your organisation can help find the quick wins as well as the longer-term opportunities.

Once you’ve identified the silos, you need to look at your businesses organisational structure and streamline this in a way that drives collaboration centred around the customer. This means creating truly cross-functional teams – where CRM and Digital teams work together for example – to work towards a common goal.

Finally, businesses need to provide their teams with the right governance, giving their people clear alignment whilst simultaneously encouraging autonomy.

Embed new ways of working:

In this current climate, not only is transformation imperative but it is a constant. To prevent change fatigue, businesses need to create a change culture of agility and continuous improvement, helping employees adapt quickly and efficiently to any new processes.

As well as creating a change culture, teams need to see and feel the changes that are being made are making a real difference. By combining data and insights with creativity, teams will be more informed on where they need to adapt to meet their targets and need to have the autonomy to provide creative solutions that benefit the customer.

For example, if your media team has adapted their usual way of running a campaign to align with the business’s transformation, not measuring the business impact can result in the team being less likely to adopt new behaviours and fully embed those new ways of working into their daily operations. Measuring the right behaviours is key to driving high performing teams that align to the wider business strategy. This can have a knock-on effect which creates better performing teams that provide creative solutions and can drive better business outcomes, whilst also giving teams the freedom to adapt. Then they can realign processes that best supports the new ways of working and their business transformation goals.

Finally, to successfully embed new ways of working it is imperative that the business continues to provide them with the right tools and support during their transition. Making the process as smooth and painless as possible will allow teams to focus their efforts on constantly innovating and creatively approaching problems which in the end will set your business apart from your competitors.

Enable with technology:

Technology plays a vital part in any successful business transformation, but it is not a matter of just implementing the latest piece of technology. Businesses need the right technology in place to ensure  data and insights are connected and accessible.

This is less about streamlined processes and more about empowering employees to do their best work when they have the tools they really need to succeed. Businesses also need to implement technology that helps automate processes wherever possible, so that their teams are free to innovate and focus on delivering key business goals. By having the right technology and automating time-consuming processes, businesses can be more efficient whilst still scaling up operations. The biggest benefit of technology is that it can be a key resource without increasing headcount,  enabling you to do more through greater automation and connectivity.

When it comes to automation, businesses often only see the opportunities to automate in the traditional places such as reporting or quality assurance. However, with the explosion of AI and the recent trends around Chat GPT, there are many opportunities in creative, media buying, development and even copywriting that businesses can leverage. This allows business to sweat technology to augment skills in the teams, increase efficiency, and respond faster to consumers creating more relevant customer experiences.

In complex organisations, we recognise that even the key components can have a big impact on day-to-day operations which can be contributing factor to a transformation not working. If you adopt a mindset to your transformation that thinks big, but starts small and scales fast, along with a clear vision, you will enable a people-centred transformation. Some changes may need to be made to your business operations such as the way you measure, your team structure and the technology you use, but in the end this is what will help you to achieve your business transformation goals.