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Digital transformation: Don't forget about your people

By Partner Guest Blog , Wednesday, May 8, 2019

By Ken Gray, Director, Digital Transformation, TechGuilds Consulting Inc.

Partner Perspectives

You’re a decision maker who has embarked on the journey of building your website to be more customer-centric. Your content authors and marketers need a complete content management and personalization platform for creating memorable customer experiences. So how do you ensure you get maximum ROI out of your endeavour and investment?

Glad you asked. The one thing that is rarely mentioned but is very important to consider –  the needs of the very people who will use the platform.

Like most things in life, digital transformation and change can be overwhelming. For some, even the simplest change, like upgrading to the latest and greatest mobile device, can present a huge learning curve to master new features. Remember this when asking your content authors and marketers to whip up the latest and greatest customer experiences on the first day of your new website launch. Eeeks!

For content authors and marketers, it’s important to understand that, with knowledge, practice and experience, working with comprehensive digital marketing tools does get simpler. Trust me, I have a personal story which I share below.

Based on a study done by psychologist Anders Ericsson, Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his book Outliers that to master a skill it takes about 10,000 hours. That’s 417 days if you don’t sleep or have anything else to do.

Put into perspective, people need time to learn and master a new skill. Implementing a robust, enterprise-level platform and building personalized customer experiences is relatively new, so it is important to sufficiently equip your people, and set them up for success.

Experience has taught me that your content authors and marketers will need essentially three things in order to succeed:

  1. Training
  2. Documentation
  3. Time

Let’s unpack each of these items, shall we?

1. Training

Imagine having to learn a new skill, like say, flying a kite. Now imagine that the instructions for flying your kite are in a language you don’t speak or understand. The first thing you would need is an interpreter or to learn the new language.

Similarly, with digital transformation, implementing new technologies like web content management, customer experience platforms, and content marketing platforms, you and your team will need training to understand new terminology inherent in the new tools.

Enterprise-level change comes with a lot of moving parts so there’s a lot for your people to cope with. If your organization is like most organizations, it probably does things a little bit differently in many areas, so you will need to train/re-train for those differences.

2. Documentation

Having clear documentation for new or changed systems within your enterprise is paramount. In fact, we use it as a criterion when recommending certain tools for our customers. Learning in the midst of change is hard enough, so we check to ensure that the tools we select have adequate documentation that is simple to understand. Any customizations to purchased 3rd party systems must also be documented. I prefer “how to” documentation with actual business-specific scenarios for end-users who will use the systems daily.

Be sure to include “maintain the [insert name] documentation” in your governance policies. This will help with onboarding new staff as your organization grows.

3. Time

We’re already determined that mastering a skill and adapting to change takes time, so it’s important to onboard and begin to acclimate your people early in the digital transformation and change implementation process.

If you’re a decision maker, I do not recommend the following approach: On October 23, 2011 I was thrown into a digital transformation project head-first when the company I worked for launched their website over the weekend of Oct. 21. I started working for them on the Monday (Oct. 23) as their webmaster and neither I nor any of the content managers or marketers had ever seen their new content management and marketing automation platform before…and they were all looking to me for answers. Gasp!

…Thankfully, my 13 years of experience in the world of digital marketing and website development buffered the shock. The company promptly enrolled me in several courses where I learned the product inside and out, gaining several certifications over a period of 12 months. I succeeded in my role and helped others to adapt to the change. Whew!

In closing

As the product owner or stakeholder who wants to continuously move toward Customer Experience (CX) Maturity, don’t forget about your people.

Be intentional and remember to assess, plan and accommodate your people’s training and learning needs to maximize your digital transformation ROI.

Make sure your people are given enough opportunities and time to learn. Encourage them to explore and experiment with the tools you’ve implemented. Enroll them in a course or two where applicable and available.

For content authors and marketers, know that a community of like-minded individuals is out there. Explore and subscribe to the various news and social channels and connect with mentors and subject-matter experts.

 

Ken Gray oversees the digital transformation and digital strategy at TechGuilds Consulting Inc., a Sitecore partner. Ken is a Sitecore Strategy MVP 2019, one of only two in Canada, an active contributor to the Sitecore Community and blogger. Check out his helpful Sitecore-related blog posts and follow him on LinkedIn or Twitter @ken_sitecorean.