Putting people at the centre of your Digital Transformation

Catalina Bonavia | 11 May 2023

person in white t shirt holding laptop screaming in front of red background

Combining human-centred design and process improvement can help you achieve the shift in your organisation's culture, processes, and systems necessary for a digital transformation, while keeping your customers at the forefront. In this blog, we share our secret recipe for a successful Digital Transformation.

In today’s fast-paced world, digital transformation has become an essential part of every organisation. It involves integrating digital technology into all areas of the business, resulting in significant changes to how businesses operate and deliver value to their customers.

However, digital transformation is not just about implementing new technologies or updating old systems. It requires a fundamental shift in the organisation’s culture, processes, and systems. Combining human-centred design and process improvement can help organisations achieve this transformation while keeping their customers at the forefront.

Human-centred design is an approach that focuses on the end-users’ needs and experiences when designing a product or service. It involves observing and understanding user behaviour, needs, and preferences to create a user-friendly solution. Process improvement, on the other hand, is the practice of analysing and improving existing business processes to increase efficiency and effectiveness. Combining these two approaches in digital transformation can result in a more streamlined, user-friendly, and efficient system that meets the users’ needs and expectations.

In this blog, we will share with you our secret recipe for a successful Digital Transformation:

Understanding the problem to uncover opportunities

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, before changing, designing, or transforming anything, it’s vital that we start by understanding the problem. You may have heard similar phrases like “make sure we solve the right problem” or “solve it right” – that’s what I’m talking about here.

  • Understand your organisation’s processes, systems, and customer experiences: This involves analysing the existing processes, identifying areas that need improvement, and understanding your users’ needs and pain points. To successfully do this, a series of interviews, workshops, and observations in context may be required – you don’t want to make any assumptions here, and it’s key to see the whole picture of what’s really happening.
  • Prioritise the opportunities: Taking a human-centred approach, look at which opportunities will result in more impact for your customers and employees and define which opportunities will you take forward.

Designing lasting solutions

Once you know which problem/s you’re focusing on, it’s time to design lasting solutions. For these, you want to make sure you cover your quick wins as well as your long-term strategies. It’s also critical to consider not only what your customers need, but what your employees need to deliver customer value. Think processes and systems. Last but not least, what are the enablers that you can’t miss to ensure the transformation is sustainable? This includes your culture, change, capability uplift, and ways of working.

  • Customer Experience Design: This should include user research, persona development, and user journey mapping. User research involves gathering insights into the users’ behaviour, needs, and preferences. This can be done through surveys, interviews, or observation. Persona development involves creating characters that represent the different types of users the system will serve. User journey mapping involves mapping out the different stages of the user’s interaction with the system and identifying pain points and areas for improvement.
  • Process Design or Improvement: the next step is to develop a process improvement plan that addresses the areas identified in the analysis. This involves identifying and eliminating any redundant or unnecessary steps in the process, streamlining workflows, and improving communication and collaboration between different teams and departments. The process improvement plan should also focus on automating repetitive tasks and integrating different systems and technologies to increase efficiency and reduce errors.

While three and four are usually done by different teams or skillsets, the key to success is collaboration – they’re intrinsically connected, and therefore can’t be developed independently.

I know I’m asking way too much already – but It’s essential to involve end-users in the experience and process design to ensure that the changes meet their needs and expectations. User testing can be done throughout the process.

Making it stick

This happens way too often: once everything is designed and ready to be implemented, project leaders remember that team called “Change Management” and call them in to manage the change. Let me tell you… by that point, it is way too late! Yes, it’s mostly the implementation phase that ultimately helps a solution stick, but for implementation to go smoothly, we need to prepare from day one!

  • Work with Empathy: Remember that different people take change differently, and that may be because of their previous experiences, current experiences outside work, how they feel about change in general, or their perception about how this specific change will impact them. Listening with an open mindset and paying attention to how people are navigating the change can help you adapt your process before it’s too late.
  • Involve your customers, stakeholders, and teams from the beginning: but make it meaningful (not just a tick-the-box exercise) – learn from their needs, ideas, and experiences. Test ideas and receive feedback. Build your army of change champions!
  • Be consistent and transparent: How many times have you been to a workshop that was never followed up on? How many times have you received bite-sized information that left too much to your imagination?

Does this feel familiar to you? Planning a transformation, big or small? In the midst of one already and need support?

Join our free webinar on Wednesday, May 31 from 12:00pm – 12:45pm AEST to learn more about what makes for a successful digital transformation. Register here.