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How to Succeed at Digital Transformation

Most companies fail at digital transformation. But it doesn’t have to be that way…

The Hype of Digital Transformation

Man standing in front of a screen that contains various maps, graphs, charts, and reports
It’s a buzz phrase that you hear quite frequently these days.

In fact, it’s often associated with a great deal of urgency -- and often viewed with great skepticism by executives. Many of them have seen versions of this same movie before, having spent millions of dollars and years of effort on ERP systems. And so, when they hear the promises of digital transformation’s beneficial impact, they’re quick to ask: “How quickly can we get to those positive IMPACTS!?”

And there are, indeed, many promised benefits of digital transformation, all adding to the urgency of beginning the transformation process. Perform a quick Google search on digital transformation, and you’ll encounter a veritable avalanche of very urgent-sounding articles goading you into initiating your digital transformation NOW:

But all the noise about digital transformation isn’t just hype. Neither is it all that complicated. It’s simply about positioning business organizations in such a way that they can benefit from the dramatic advances in technology that have occurred in recent years. Perhaps the CIO article referenced above stated it best: “Organizations need to evolve to address the changing business landscapes.”

Digital transformation isn’t simply about digitizing processes and information.

As Jason Bloomberg has noted, “We digitize information, we digitize processes and roles that make up the operations of a business, and we digitally transform the business and its strategy. Each one is necessary but not sufficient for the next, and most importantly, digitization and digitalization are essentially about technology, but digital transformation is not. Digital transformation is about the customer.”5

Digital transformation, then, is ultimately about improving organizations’ ability to serve their customers — the foundational bedrock of every business organization on the planet.

And that’s why so many organizations are committed to digitally transform in hopes of strengthening their ability to serve the customer.

Unfortunately, most organizations fail miserably in that attempt.

The Big Fail in Digital Transformation

Woman using their smartphone while sitting in front of their laptop with a data analytics overlay
It’s clear that the majority of businesses understand the importance of digital transformation

A recent Forrester report indicates that well over half of all businesses are actively attempting to implement some level of digital transformation.6 But the same report notes that digital transformation success rates are dismal.

A recent Forbes article reported that 70% of all digital transformation initiatives fail to reach their stated goals. The cost of that failure? More than $900 billion spent annually on digital transformation will fail to deliver the anticipated returns in improved efficiencies, enhanced customer value, and the development of new monetization opportunities. The article summed it best: “This is mismanagement on a colossal scale.”7 


Avoid Digital Transformation Failure with a Holistic Approach

Why do so many attempts at digital transformation end in dismal failures?

The reasons are many and varied, and reflect the need for a comprehensive, holistic approach to digital transformation. But, as a recent CIO article noted, the lack of leadership consensus is the most common reason for failure.8 And that’s why your primary emphasis needs to be on the roadmap stage.

The goal in the roadmap is to complete a multistep process that results in:

  • A refined vision of where you want to go
  • A thorough assessment of your current environment
  • A process that prioritizes early value creation
  • An architected plan for transformation that meets current needs while providing the flexibility to embrace future opportunities
  • A step-by-step strategy for transformation

The Ultimate Benefit of a Digital Business Roadmap

The ultimate benefit of a digital business roadmap process done correctly is a clear path to value creation throughout the transformation process: market differentiation; greater efficiency; and customer engagement.

This is the result of a practical and actionable multi-year roadmap, backed by leadership consensus, that can be clearly communicated throughout all levels of your organization.

With a workable roadmap in hand and leadership consensus in place, we have found this approach to transformation then allows us to focus upon three key areas:

  • Customer Engagement
  • Workforce Enablement
  • Operations Optimization

A comprehensive focus upon each key area helps to assure that the theoretical benefits of digital transformation translate into real-world benefits. We could provide you with a canned description of customer engagement, workforce enablement, and operations optimization.

But you’re probably more interested in the impact we’ve achieved for clients with our focus upon each of these. So, let’s take a thumbnail look at some recent successes...

Customer Engagement

Shifting to On-Line Booking and Reservations:

One of the world’s largest entertainment brands wanted to shift customer bookings and reservation modifications to their online portal. The goal was to enhance efficiency while providing customers with greater visibility into property availability, and greater flexibility and control in managing their vacation experience. The RCG team developed the mobile and web platform, launched the solution within the projected time frame, and achieved the following results:

  • 58% year-over-year increase in online bookings
  • 38% increase in reservation modifications
  • Achievement of 100% of planned functionality upon release
  • 0% cost overrun

Getting to Know Your Customers: A regional financial institution needed to more effectively manage customer relationships. They knew that doing so would enable them to capitalize upon the potential value those relationships offered. But a disparate jumble of legacy systems prohibited a single unified view of each customer. RCG’s team delivered a Strategic Digital Roadmap that blueprinted a single 360° view of the customer (leveraging Big Data technology). This 360° customer view is accessible to all customer-facing associates within the bank and will eliminate the awkward “who are you” moments that have impeded efforts to boost customer satisfaction for years.

Doubling-Down on Growth:

Could a national entertainment venue grow dramatically as a result of digital transformation? Likely so — with RCG Global Services’ help. The RCG team devised a roadmap that would enable rapid growth in sales volume, profitability, and customer engagement. The result will be:

  • 100% growth in two years
  • Platform scalability at a lower cost per location 
  • Improved profit/revenue per location
  • Increased guest engagement

Workforce Enablement

Connecting a Nationwide Workforce:

How can a workforce comprised of tens of thousands of mobile workers distributed nationwide possibly connect and function as a cohesive whole? That was the dilemma facing a leading national provider of in-home nursing care. And RCG’s dual-shore team provided an answer: a mobile solution that was developed and deployed to iOS and Android platforms. (Incredibly, this mobile solution was designed, tested, and deployed in less than five months.) The solution enabled:

  • 30% reduction in unfilled patient shifts
  • >$10 million increase in revenue

Helping Hospitals Improve Outcomes While Simultaneously Reducing Costs:

Two objectives that rarely go hand-in-hand in any industry are 1) improving outcomes, and 2) reducing costs. The healthcare industry in particular faces significant challenges in improving outcomes while simultaneously reducing costs. But it can be done. RCG Global Services, in fact, did it for a major supplier serving the healthcare market. The RCG team architected, designed, and deployed a flexible data platform that was scalable, affordable, and extensible. The results included:

  • 87% reduction in the time required for data onboarding
  • 90% reduction in the cycle time required to on-board a new client
  • 98% improvement in the overall quality of data

Operations Optimization

QA for Financial and Payroll Digitization:

A national provider of home healthcare services sought to transition from manual payroll processing and financial reporting systems. The transition required a risky migration of data from the existing general ledger systems to the new digital platforms.

Maintaining 100% data integrity throughout the migration process was crucial. RCG designed an overall test plan and established a test matrix to map requirements to test cases. The RCG team also ran all test cases, as well as executed the plan to perfection and within the required time frame, achieving the following results:

  • 100% on-time execution of the test plan
  • 0% cost overrun
  • 100% audit team acceptance

Developing and Implementing a Cloud-Based SaaS Solution:

A major supplier serving healthcare organizations needed to move from an onsite platform to a cloud-based solution. Customers wanted a subscription-based service that provided rapid installation and required no customer-performed maintenance. The new solution would also need to support analytics-driven decision-making that leveraged the use of trending data. The RCG team leveraged an Application Assessment and a Digital Business Roadmap in devising solution, application, and database architectures. The result was a robust, easyto-maintain SaaS platform that provided the following benefits:

  • 50% reduction in new client onboarding time
  • Slashed the average time required for the installment of new features from 2 months to 2 hours
  • Dramatically cut the time required to upgrade the installed base from more than 2 years to less than 12 hours
  • Provided a significant overall improvement in the customer experience

Early Success

It’s important to note that achieving a significant impact early in the digital transformation process is critically important.

Early signs of success help to energize the entire organization, while simultaneously proving to executive leadership that the transformation process will meet their needs. Achieving fast wins helps to quell the criticism that often arises when executives observe lots of energy, resources, and money flowing into a transformation process that is yielding agonizingly slow results.

RCG’s Strategic Roadmap approach helps clients envision and then prioritize projects in such a way that beneficial impacts occur early in the transformation process. Most digital programs involve leveraging data that is locked into legacy systems. RCG’s expertise in data engineering, analytics, and application development combine to bring solutions online quickly, leading to the early wins that are so critical in nurturing a nascent transformation process.

The examples above all share a common theme: big wins delivered early in the digital transformation process.

Let's Reimagine Your Company

As the research firm Forrester has noted, more than 80% of all companies lack the talent and expertise to achieve digital transformation.

That likely includes your company. And that’s as it should be. After all, you aren’t in the business of successfully architecting and executing digital transformation initiatives. Your expertise lies in running your business within your industry.

But RCG Global Services is in the business of successfully architecting and executing digital transformation initiatives. We specialize in doing so for companies in each of the following industry verticals:

  • Consumer
  • Financial Services 
  • Insurance
  • Healthcare

Digital Transformation is About Reimagination

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The specific examples of digital transformation successes provided in this paper were achieved by RCG for client companies within each of these industry verticals

Martin Gill of Forrester has noted that the purpose of digital transformation “…is not to digitize an existing state but to reimagine an entirely different business model that habitually places technology at its core.”110 And that’s precisely the goal of RCG’s Strategic Roadmap process.

Is it time to reimagine your company? Are you seeking to stay ahead of competitors by reaping the benefits of digital transformation? Would you like to initiate a digital transformation process that delivers real-world wins NOW rather than just some vague way-down-the-road promises?

Let’s explore how RCG can use technology to transform your company into a business that’s more competitive, more responsive to customers’ needs — and, ultimately, more profitable.

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