Digital transformation: the devil is in the detail

The term ‘digital transformation’ sounds like the type of project designation only some kind of seasoned management super-hero should ever utter in the corridors of a shiny, mythical, intergalactic consortium.

But in reality digital transformation is very far from shiny and certainly isn’t mythical as it happens in the here and now, and it can be very time consuming and complex to initialise and implement.

Digital transformation or fragmentation?

Busy OfficeThis is because different areas of a business need different things from a digital resource and in some cases implementation of digital systems have been delayed for decades due to the complexities involved in integrating one system with another.

This is certainly true in the marketing departments of many corporations where marketers may be planning marketing automation (MA) system roll-out only to discover that the customer and prospect data they need and held by their sales colleagues is in disparate spreadsheet formats.

Technology roadblocks

But data formats are just one issue, and there can be greater barriers to overcome. These include the very basics within an organisation, such as issues around SAP, or even fundamentals such as what server operating system (OS) is deployed.

For any marketer aiming to develop an MA programme, these issues can leave the plan dead in the water, as most MA platforms or the sales integration systems that allow for marketing and sales team collaboration will only work with reasonably new software systems.

Finding viable workarounds

Ideas manWhat these roadblocks represent are the inherent inflexibility in company digital infrastructure and how detrimental this can be to an enterprise’s market development, growth and even its survival in certain markets.

If your company is in a situation where the levels of internal digital infrastructure inflexibilities are as described here, then you need to look to avoid the introduction of further inflexibilities through bringing in a mainstream MA platform, for example, that will exacerbate these issues.

Digital transformation requires flexibility in thinking.

Rapid, cost efficient but not mainstream

And that’s where a digital agency, knowledgeable in digital marketing as well as having a deep technical knowledge of information technology can help. These are pretty rare, we know, as we’re one of them but there are others.

Because some of these agencies, in order to win business such as MA commissions, offer software platforms designed to deliver these services more cost efficiently than mainstream vendors. This is known as ‘software as a service’ – SaaS.

Fast-track transformation

These SaaS-focused digital marketing agencies have to be very proficient in software design and development, and flexible enough in their thinking to ensure that their software products will fully integrate with a spectrum of existing digital infrastructures.

If you can find one, and partner with them, you’ll have overcome an issue that by attempting to manage and resolve through mainstream solutions, would have taken a very long time. And in today’s fast-moving markets, that’s too long.

William YatesIf you would like to learn more on any or all of this blog, please click here to contact me, Will Yates, the author of this piece.