Tiffany St James' top five tips to drive digital change

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Tiffany St James, co-founder of Transmute and former digital strategist for the UK government, says digital transformation is much more than customer experience.

We know the phrase ‘digital transformation’ is hackneyed, this year’s favourite buzzword, and that clients and businesses need some clarity on wha t it means. We also know that customers are driving the need for digital change, having elegant digital consumer experiences corroborating their increased expectations.

Customer expectations may be driving businesses to use bet ter digital processes, but that’s just part of the story. Any transformation should be based on business change principles that fundamentally underpin organisation development.

A review of over 40 management consultancy white papers on digital transformation agree on just five of these principles.

What can you do to your business model?

Organisations can modify or add digital wrappers to traditional businesses, like the UK’s Not on the High Street.

New digital businesses can be created that complement traditional products, just look at the smart use of aggregation and affiliate programmes.

Businesses can source more effectively at origin or truly have localisation through smart delivery. Uber, turning the business model on its he ad, is more a financial services organisation than a taxi company. Love or loathe it, it has changed the dynamics of the purchasing power both of the cabbie and the customer.

What can you do to your product?

You can also put digital wrappers on traditional products, create entirely new digital pr oducts or offer complementary offline products.

Take Sesame Street, an educational broadcast TV show, making itself relevant to Generation Z kids today by augmented reality play-along games so digitally-savvy kids can play with the Cookie Monster in their living r oom.

What can you do to your operations?

You can change the way you deliver your product, and bring it into customers’ hands.

Whether that’s by automation, self-service or it might mean layering your business intelligence to ensure you have integrated single customer view.

Take Love Film, now Amazon Prime, changing from a DVD postal business to video on demand in your homes.

What can you do to your people?

Business change is enabled by people. How you attract, recruit, retain, develop and successfully exit people enabled by smart use of technology is what sets great organisations apart.

How sophisticated your digital business culture is can be glaringly highlighted by your web estate, social media and senior management social profiles. People will make informed opinions about how technically competent you are.

Through skills mapping and digital skills interventions matched to business objectives you can swiftly drive the business forward.

One of the UK success stories is UK TV. By locating people in the same building, having all-business stand up meetings, working through business unit objectives with the te am and quarterly rotational seating it is leading in market share. None of these processes are digital.

What can you do to your customer experience?

Customer experience starts with understanding needs, wants and desires. Do you know how to identify and qualify the pleasure and pain points of your customer ’s interactions?

Layering data, blending intelligence, social listening or experimentation; business strategies that focus on top line growth can be enabled my smarter digital processes.

Whether you are digitising sales inter actions, digitally evolving customer offers or implementing channel shift, these should always be underpinned by business objectives and not wholly on customer demands.

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Tiffany St James

Former head of social media for the UK government, Tiffany St James spent a decade leading digital change programmes.

She also spent five years working for FTSE 100 firms before founding her own digital transformation consultancy, Transmute. Over the past 12 months the business has served parliaments, governments and private firms worldwide.

She lectures for and advises Google’s Digital Academy and is a prolific technology speaker.

A recent graduate of MIT’s educational technology courses she is currently designing solutions and connecting relevant organisations in the digital skills ecosystem to help to tackle the UK digital skills gap.

All by Tiffany