Digital Transformation: Shifting Trends & Best Practices

Digital Transformation: Shifting Trends & Best Practices
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Joyce Durst, CEO and Cofounder of Growth Acceleration Partners (GAP), appeared as a guest on the “SaaS Scaled” podcast, hosted by Arman Eshraghi, CEO and Founder of Qrvey, provider of embedded analytics for SaaS applications. Joyce and Arman discussed ways to help users adopt new technology, digital transformation best practices, and more.

You can watch or listen to the podcast here and we’ve covered some highlights of their discussion below.

How have digital transformation trends changed?

Fifteen years ago, people weren’t really even thinking about the technical term of digital transformation, but they were starting to recognize the need to automate some things. Back then, we saw it very focused on a specific business application, or one department wanted to automate something. So, it was very siloed and stayed that way for the first 10 years. Then as people started to understand the power of data science, analytics, machine learning, and AI, we recognized there is money in this big pile of data that we don’t really understand. If we figure it out, we will be able to monetize this data and create new revenue streams for the company. We started to see that pick up speed and the flywheel was starting to turn.

With the lack of in-person interaction due to the pandemic, companies sought more technology to create a better sense of engagement and customer experience. They needed more data to deliver customer insights. So, we saw a dramatic upshift in our clients asking for help with digital transformation, plans for data strategy, and modernizing applications to get them to the cloud so they can move more quickly and improve security. There was a tremendous move forward in the market.

I think we still have years and years to go on this uptick of everyone trying to figure out how to monetize data and to get to the cloud.

What can be done to help users adopt new technology?

Throughout our company, we look at every single aspect of the company and ask:

  • Can we use better technology?
  • Do we need to upskill our people?
  • Can we use better processes so that we can scale?

Our company is growing at about 40 to 45% per year, so we must always be transforming to be able to keep up with that. What I noticed as we put in new systems in finance, HR, recruiting, and delivery is, sometimes this will be a surprise, people are resistant to change. 

As we’re having strategy conversations with our clients for the big enterprise SaaS applications and data analytics platforms that we’re building, we make sure that we’re really thinking intentionally about user adoption. Not just in building the best world-class technology, because we guarantee that’s going to happen. But let’s make sure that, on the receiving end, your customers are really thinking through the process of communicating to the users. The first thing you have to do with end users if you want some adoption is tell them:

  • What’s in it for you?
  • Why are we doing this in the first place?
  • Why is this new technology good for the company?
  • Why is it good for our customers and our employees?

You have to be really specific.

Inform employees that this new technology is going to make life better. You have to do less tedious, mind-numbing stuff. You can do more of the intellectually challenging work that you really love to do. 

But too many companies skip that step.

People are already really busy and don’t have time for anything new. You have to get in front of that really quickly. I think SaaS companies could actually decrease their customer churn, increase their revenue, and certainly increase their stickiness if they could spend as much time focused on the user embracing their technology as they do on designing and building that technology.

In what areas are changes most likely to occur?

Giant companies like Amazon and Google have thousands of people focused on user experience and data science. What interests me is seeing that come down to medium-sized and eventually small companies. Smaller companies are now very focused on how to improve user experiences through every touch point to build deeper one-on-one customer relationships through technology. They’re starting to collect data on it, but they don’t quite know what to do with all that data. It’s all going into a data lake somewhere, and they will likely need help to figure it out.

In the past, those insights have really been reserved just for the most elite technology companies, but that is coming downstream. People are starting to understand the relationships in the data, and I think it’s really exciting. It’ll produce stronger companies, better business outcomes, and better experiences for the end customer, which is great for everyone.

Additionally, some companies decide to license tools they’ve built for themselves for use in other companies, resulting in the creation of a new revenue stream. Amazon launching AWS is a classic example. I think we’re going to see a lot more of that, because these companies have invested heavily in these platforms, and built infrastructure as code that could be used in a lot of different applications. They might as well find one more way to monetize it. I think more companies will decide to get on that bandwagon and productize something they’ve built for internal use. 

I think that’s terrific. It will make technology move a lot faster in all industries.

What digital transformation best practices have you identified?

One benefit of working across so many different industries and companies is that we have identified consistent patterns and best practices.

When clients need to modernize a big, monolithic app, very rarely is the answer to rewrite the whole thing. We help clients identify where’s the most payback for the least investment. Out of a giant app, there could be four different components out of 20 that you need to rewrite, because that’s really where the data is. That’s where the key performance enhancements could be made, and the key new features are going to come. We’d focus on getting those in new cloud-based technology. We can move the rest to the cloud, but maybe we don’t need to change as much.

A lot of companies, especially small and medium size, sometimes assume that it’s all or nothing, and they think they must change everything to one new technology or change nothing. That’s not really the case. There’s a lot of mix and match opportunities. That’s the best way to get a return on your dollar is to figure out where the short, big wins are and focus on those first

At every step, focus on the business objectives this ties back to. We don’t do technology just because we love it. It’s because it’s going to make the business better in some way. We keep driving the conversation back to the return, such as:

  • Increase customer conversions
  • Improve the customer experience so you have higher NPS scores
  • Lower employee attrition

It has to do something that the executive team cares about. If you keep asking those questions, “Why is this important?” then you’ll end up making the right decisions.

Ready to accelerate your digital transformation journey? Contact us today to explore how our expertise can drive your business forward.