Three strategic initiatives to prioritize in 2023

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In this piece:

It’s one thing to identify digital transformation and continued digital evolution as a business goal, and another entirely to take the steps to make it happen. After all, digital transformation can take nearly innumerable forms — and the bigger the organization, the more options you have.

Once you’ve bought into the idea of approaching your organization’s digital transformation with a digital evolution mindset (and vice versa), you need to develop a digitization strategy, prioritize your next steps and make them happen.

Developing your ongoing digital transformation strategy

If you’re early in your digital transformation journey, developing a digitization strategy might be uncomplicated enough. When you still have processes that are paper-based, take up an undue amount of employee time, or otherwise cause your business unnecessary headaches (maybe it’s something that regularly leads to accounting errors, customer complaints or missed opportunity), it’s easy to focus on digitizing those processes first.

But if you’re further in your digital maturity and on the path of digital evolution, there’s less low-hanging fruit.

Optimizations become iterative, and advances in technology can be subtle enough to give the savviest of leaders pause. You may find yourself asking:

  • Is a new solution worth the overhaul of your tech stack, or is it better to stick with your current providers to see if their products will adapt sometime during this fiscal year?
  • Of the teams in multiple departments clamoring for budget — fighting for new solutions that will make their day-to-day work lives easier – which should take precedent?
  • And if you’re listening to your customers as closely as you should be, you probably get suggestions for new features … which of those ideas align best with your organizational strategy?

Without a roadmap telling you exactly what to invest in next, weighing these wants — and trying to predict how they’ll impact your bottom line and show ROI — can feel like a guessing game.

A CTA to a free digital transformation self-assessment. Click to take the assessment.

Three strategic initiatives to address in 2023

If you’re unsure how to move your digital evolution forward in 2023, we suggest focusing on three strategic initiatives:

  1. Modernization
  2. Experience
  3. Innovation

In the analysis of how to improve each one, you’ll likely find the answers to which systems and processes are in the most need of continued evolution.

1. Modernization

Being as prepared as possible for the next disruption is of critical importance. We all witnessed that firsthand when the pandemic hit.

None of us predicted a pandemic in 2020. But could we have predicted its effects on individual organizations, some of whom weathered Covid and its effects far better than the rest? Perhaps.

“Legacy ECM suites are inadequate to support digital transformation in the type of environment that demands agility and flexibility. Eighty-nine percent of decision-makers describe undergoing an ECM-to-content services transition as important to the success of their digital transformation strategies.”

$Forrester Research in Content at Your Service: How Modern Content Services Platforms Power Digital Transformation$

Well, hindsight is 20/20, right? But this whitepaper was commissioned by Hyland and published in 2019 … well before the pandemic swept the globe.

Fortuitously, if only to test their point, Forrester was able to prove that yes, having a modern content services strategy in place at the onset of Covid-19 served to “insulate an organization from significant disruption and allow it to bounce back from any disruption more effectively.”

The firm’s third annual study of content management strategies, conducted in 2021, found that “89% of those established content services leaders said their organization’s response and adaptation to the disruption of COVID-19 was “good” or “excellent,” compared to just 57% of content services laggards.”

> Download the Forrester study | Prepare for the next business stress-test with content services

In other words, those working with legacy processes and systems spent much of the pandemic just trying to relearn how to work. The organizations that had already modernized operations were able to pivot and get back to business far more quickly than their peers who were scrambling to reinvent baseline business processes.

Modernization tip: Embrace the latest versions

Working with the most up-to-date versions of the solutions that drive your business is the single best way to stay agile amid challenges and disruptions, no matter their severity. It will:

  • Keep your organization in the running when your competition unveils a new offering
  • Increase day-to-day operational excellence
  • Decrease time-to-value in your investments

And organizations around the world are catching on.

“Cleaning up legacy data and implementing modern content services technology were the top two most desired Information Governance projects in our recent study,” InfoGov World found in its 2021 survey.

 If that sounds intimidating, there’s good news: Modernization isn’t necessarily about overhauling your tech stack and dropping long-standing relationships with vendors for the hot new brand with the great commercials. There’s a time and a place for evaluating whether the solutions you’ve invested in still suit your needs, yes, but you can start with reevaluating the solutions you’ve already invested in.

If you’ve been working with the same provider for more than a few years, it’s time to confirm you’re taking advantage of all the updates and new offerings they offer.

How modernization helps

A focus on modernization will help your business:

  • Mitigate risk in the face of changing/increasing security, compliance and info governance challenges
  • Reduce information silos that hamper collaboration, drive inefficiency and impact customer service across your organization
  • Become more agile in responding to changing business requirements

A focus on modernization will help your IT department:

  • Analyze legacy applications that lack features and scalability, and may create security risks and ongoing costs
  • Proactively, automatically govern an abundance of data and content in different formats and across various systems
  • Make a case for modern platforms that enable rapid development and deployment of solutions across the business

> Recommended reading | 70% of IT project implementations are not successful. Yours can be.

A man works on his cellphone and laptop.

2. Experience

You already know the experience you offer your customers can outweigh every other aspect of the products or services you provide. But postpandemic, there’s even more to the importance of experience than that:

Customer experience goes beyond the direct 1:1 your customers have with your employees and representatives. While we used to focus our customer experience efforts on touchpoints like face-to-face interactions, phone calls and chats, customer experience now extends to — and is in many ways defined by — the ways people interact with your organization independently. Modern apps and interfaces create intuitive and seamless experiences like those customers have grown accustomed to in their B2C activities like online banking, shopping and billpaying. That means prioritizing intuitive self-service channels, independent troubleshooting and problem-solving, and the ability to take asynchronous action are more likely to delight your customers than the interactions they have with your people, based solely on frequency of use.

Total experience, which extends to the employee experience, has a significant impact on the health of your business. Not only do the Great Resignation, talent wars and “quiet quitting” signify that knowledge workers and leaders are searching for work that does more than just pay well, but the trends also illustrate that your customers, too, care about how you treat your employees. They’re unlikely to support organizations with toxic working conditions and recognize that even the most customer-focused employees can only do so much to help them within systems and processes that don’t prioritize people. A negative employee experience can easily lead to a negative customer experience.

How to prioritize total experience

The best way to prioritize total experience is by crafting systems and processes that allow people, both customers and employees, to do the things that matter to them with as little friction as possible.

For your employees, this will likely translate into creative, collaborative work that expands their expertise and supports your business by identifying new ways to go to market, improve your offerings and solve customer pain points.

For customers, it may mean the ability to easily interact with your organization in the ways that makes sense for them depending on the complexity of their task.

Focusing on experience means embracing and maximizing the value of human connection, creativity and accomplishment. The best way to foster that connection, creativity and accomplishment is by removing the tedious, slow and error-prone roadblocks standing in their way via automation and digitization.

How perfecting the total experience helps

A focus on experience will help your business:

  • Respond quickly to changing business needs and customer demands
  • Maintain employee retention, engagement and productivity
  • Support customer retention and acquisition
  • Navigate new work patterns including increasingly remote workforce and expectations for better digital employee and customer experiences

A focus on experience will help your IT department:

  • Support an increasingly remote workforce
  • Manage increasing volumes of data and a growing application landscape
  • Offload the thankless, tedious tasks that waste time and lead to burnout and churn
  • Grow their expertise in technology platforms that provide intuitive, consumer-like experiences to employees and customers

> Recommended reading | Make customer experience your differentiator: An executive’s guide to exceptional customer relationships

3. Innovation

What if everyone in your industry suddenly cracked the customer and employee experience code? Imagine that difference-maker as gone.

Would your organization stand out from its competition on the merit of its products or services alone, or maybe for its vision and how you bring it to life?

Often, the answer lies in innovation.

Innovation in established industries doesn’t always mean the introduction of a never-before-seen, completely-off-the-wall feature. The most successful corporate innovations come from thinking about today the things you’re doing a little bit differently, or from thinking about which aspects of other industries could positively impact your offerings.

How innovation helps

A focus on innovation allows your organization to:

  • Advance in new, exciting ways
  • Ignite radical yet practical and actionable paradigm shifts
  • Advocate for experimentation
  • Embrace change
  • Act on customer feedback in meaningful ways

But when you’re spending most of your time just trying to keep up with business-critical processes, or you’re concerned about the volatile economy’s impact on your organization’s bottom line, innovation is often first on the chopping block.

Often, this is because innovation as a concept can be difficult to measure and difficult to connect with the efficiency and accuracy gains that digital transformation and digital evolution allow.

When you consider innovation alongside modernization and experience, though, you’ll begin to realize what a natural next step it is to prioritize it as an outcome of the time and financial savings that result. Modernization give your employees the time and energy to think creatively and innovatively. And the solutions they devise and develop in that time may be your greatest leaps forward in providing delightful customer and employee experience.

In fact, in a 2022 IDC report, Navigating Software Solution Delivery in a Digitally Transformed World, faster time to innovation was cited by respondents as one of top four business benefits of low-code software.

A focus on innovation will help your business:

  • Relieve the competitive pressures and disruptive threats that a “wait and see” approach invites
  • Unburden its employees from the tedious processesand ancillary functions that consume their working hours

A focus on innovation will help your IT department:

  • Enable ongoing software innovation
  • Address technology gaps that prevent the organization from achieving and maintaining competitive advantage

> Recommended reading | Eight steps to innovation across the enterprise: How to stop relying on circumstance and build a corporate culture that embraces innovation

Launch your transformation roadmap

Whether you’re early enough in your digital transformation journey that the next step is obvious, or you’re operating in a place of maturity that necessitates a more future-looking strategy, making planning decisions for 2023 with a focus on modernization, experience and innovation can help you uncover the roadblocks to optimizing each one.

When you encounter a system or process that is hindering your vision of what optimal modernization, experience or innovation would look like at your organization, you’ll know to dig deeper into the way that system or process currently operates.

What’s next on your organization’s digital roadmap? Take the 5-minute self-assessment.

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Jenni Valentino has more than 15 years' experience as a writer, editor and marketing strategist. She is passionate about emerging technology and its impact on how people and organizations live, work and connect.
Jenni Valentino

Jenni Valentino

Jenni Valentino has more than 15 years’ experience as a writer, editor and marketing strategist. She is passionate about emerging technology and its impact on how people and organizations live,... read more about: Jenni Valentino