Digital Transformation

How to Overcome Barriers to Digital Transformation (& Reach Your Customer Engagement Potential)

By Engage Hub expert 16 August 2017

Technology can do wonders for your organisation’s effectiveness, particularly when it comes to customer engagement. Whether it’s connecting with customers in real-time or troubleshooting problems online, technology creates new opportunities to delight customers. And when you build relationships and loyalty, you also have opportunities to increase market share and revenue.

However, implementing new technology can be challenging, particularly when it feels like there are new software updates and products on the market every 5 minutes. According to Forrester research, too many professionals lack the customer-centric, cross-touchpoint insight necessary to deliver success in the age of the customer. With the challenges increasing — new touchpoints to measure, new technologies to master, diminishing budgets and technical skills in short supply — professionals face a real challenge in adding value to the business. The following article addresses a couple of the key barriers preventing organisations from reaching their customer engagement potential. The three largest barriers are outlined below.

Barrier 1: Budget concerns

The benefits of better customer engagement seem obvious in the abstract, but it’s still important to make the business case for adopting new tools.

Quite rightly, reducing operational costs is often a significant opportunity for many organisations, so when faced with a quote to overhaul legacy systems that are working without detailing the return on investment, senior management simply do not see the value and many projects get vetoed. However, initiatives that help win, serve, and retain customers have proven to boost the bottom line.

When speaking with key stakeholders, be sure to demonstrate tangible financial benefits of the investments you’re seeking to make. Start by doing a thorough assessment of current technologies, systems and processes to see where exactly your proposed changes will make an impact. Then talk to budget holders about specifics like higher customer lifetime value, reduced operational costs and cross- and up-sell opportunities instead of focusing on general improvements to the customer journey.

Then you can shift the conversation from costs to value – it becomes “Can we afford not to invest in these solutions?”

Barrier 2: Fear of change and losing control

Technology advances so quickly that getting your head around the latest customer engagement software and tools can be difficult – particularly when you’re expected to entrust new tools with sensitive data. Not to mention the sheer volume of new technologies available on today’s market, according to the 2017 Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic, there are now 5,381 solutions coming from 4,891 unique technology providers – how can you be sure to select the right technology for your business?

This is particularly true of mobile and cloud-based solutions. Indeed, research has found that a staggering 81% of CIOs are worried that moving to the cloud will cause them to lose control over their IT. And many organisations think the cloud and mobile introduce data security risks.

However, many of these concerns stem from a simple (yet understandable) lack of understanding. For example, studies have shown that cloud-based technologies are actually safer than on-premises ones. In fact, issues around cloud security are often due to usage rather than the systems themselves (an incredible 60% of employees admit to ignoring cloud usage policies). Proper education, therefore, goes a long way towards overcoming this particular barrier.

Remember, moving to the cloud doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing affair. Fear shouldn’t prevent you from embracing technologies that could transform your business’ relationships with customers.

Barrier 3: Legacy systems and processes

This is linked to Barrier 2 because it relates to change management challenges. 50% of organisations cite legacy systems as the biggest barrier to realising their digital aspirations.

However, legacy systems don’t need to pose a problem. If anything, they can help you enormously with your digital transformation. If you’re like most organisations, they’re your backbone, and they contain reams of valuable data that can inform and improve any new solution you’re looking to implement. Most digital transformations are a series of small wins on a long, gradual journey. Integrate new customer engagement tools with your existing solutions rather than taking a siloed approach.

The most important thing to remember is legacy systems themselves aren’t the real problem. The real problem is a culture that views them as ‘too difficult to change”. To overcome this barrier, you need to educate and engage employees, getting buy-in on the benefits of digital transformation – internally and for customers.

Only then can you truly reach your customer engagement potential.

Get in touch to find out more about how you can reach your customer engagement potential.