Leadership, customer-centricity, data and analytics are the building blocks for successful digital transformation projects — not how much you spend on technology.

That’s the view of David Rosen, digital transformation technologist and strategist at software company Tibco. As the leader of its digital transformation practice Rosen collaborates with customers in the midst of their digital journeys.

Speaking with Which-50 during at Tibco Now in Singapore earlier this week, Rosen said there are three core pieces to digital transformation.

The first being culture and leadership.

The organisational piece is the biggest and most challenging element to get right. Or as Rosen puts it: “You can’t buy a different organisation.”

Rosen argues companies must encourage a culture comfortable with an ongoing test and learn environment and agile development. For example, whether or not a marketing campaign is successful is less important than the ability to develop a hypothesis, test it on a small sample and move on quickly based on the results.

David Rosen Tibco

Wrong answers can be just as valuable as right answers, Rosen said.

“On balance you want to have more right answers, but there’s a lot you can learn from failing fast, maybe more you can learn from failing fast because right answers tend to self-perpetuate pre-existing biases, where wrong answers give you the incentive to rethink on a holistic basis what is effective and what is not effective.”

“It’s difficult for people to feel comfortable in a world of continuous test and learn. I think human nature in a traditional legacy world is really to essentially seek perfection versus speed. Digital leaders think about speed over perfection,” Rosen said.

And that attitude has to come from leadership.

“Leadership is actually very easy to essentially have people talk about it. It’s more difficult at the middle management level to actually follow through and go ahead with it,” Rosen said.

Customer centricity

Digital transformation is largely about refining customer relationships. And the shift towards customer centricity begins with understanding the way people interact with you as a company and mapping those journeys, Rosen said.

“A lot of digital transformation is this customer-centric view that actually takes things on a step-by-step basis. Quantifies the cost and the time associated with each step, the pain points associated with each and the opportunity to essentially create pleasure,” Rosen said.

Technology should then be used to eliminate the pain points and make it the journey more convenient.

“We’re not leading with the fact that it’s technology driven. We’re actually leading with being customer-centric and essentially saying: Okay, I understand the customer journey, but I either want to shrink or make it more fulfilling or satisfying. Then how do I overlay technology against that?”

Data and analytics

The third element of digital transformation is around data and analytics.

The first step is simply getting a handle on data to understand who your customer is, Rosen said.

“I’ve sat with clients and I’ve said, ‘How powerful would it be for you to be able to walk into a board meeting and provide every bit of detail about the top 10 per cent of your customer base that is providing 53 per cent of your revenues and profitability?’ Just the information and knowledge.”

Digital transformation begins with just insight and knowledge which then leads to higher levels of predictive outcomes.

Analytics then ties back to the customer journey to drive greater levels of satisfaction, higher degrees of loyalty and advocacy.

“Digital organisations are not doing analytics for the sake of just being the predictive, they’re doing analytics because they’re trying to increase the quality of experience, the level of satisfaction, and ultimately the lifetime value of those customers,” Rosen said.

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