There’s no stopping digital transformation, and if your company isn’t ready it will be easy to get left behind. Digital transformation means different things to different people and the definition has continued to shift over time. To some it means external digital channels and to others it means internal digital technology. But it’s really both those things and more.

One key definition that speaks well for all companies on the digital transformation journey has been coined by The Altimeter Group:

“The realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle.”

Focusing your company’s efforts using customer experience as the guiding principle for your road map can help you identify changes that must be made both internally and externally.

To date, most of the digital transformation activities have been driven by marketing to improve outreach and engagement with customers. That’s a good start, but using the data from those activities to improve internal back office operations can make the experience better for customers and employees and more profitable for your company.

Disney is a great example of one company who has capitalized on both the external and internal benefits of digital transformation by focusing on the guest experience with their “MyMagic+” band. Worn on the wrist, the band serves as the guest’s room key, theme park ticket, access to FastPass+ selections, PhotoPass card and optional payment account all rolled into one. And used along with the Disney website and app, it gives guests the flexibility to control and plan their visit to their own personal preferences.

The benefit to Disney internally is pretty huge too. For every guest that uses MyMagic+, a wealth of analytics is generated telling Disney about how the guest experience plays out. This provides Disney with opportunities to improve operations, leverage their workforce, and identify additional ways to capture their guests’ hearts through targeted marketing in the real time environment.

Most of us will never be the next Disney. But we can improve our companies by using digital transformation strategies. Here are some steps you can take.

1. Assess Where You Are Now

You can’t change what you don’t know so doing a quick assessment of where you are can help you identify what you need to do. Key items to address are:

  • Who’s leading the change? Digital transformation should be driven from the top. It’s important to remember that it’s not a project or company initiative, it’s the way you run your business.
  • What data is currently available from externally facing systems? Analytics will inform your internal decision making, so knowing what you have will help you identify both internal actions you can take and what additional information you need to collect.
  • How does your current technology support your digital efforts? If you’re stuck with old legacy systems that can’t be replaced or updated quickly, it can slow down your effort. Waiting months on end for improvements will hold you back.
  • What current business processes are documented? You have to know how operations are functioning in your current environment. Finding places to tighten up your processes to optimize internal operations and improve the customer experience will be critical to your transformation.

2. Identify Quick Wins To Kick Start Your Progress

You need to plan your entire road map for the digital transformation process, but taking action to secure some quick wins while that progresses will help kick start you in the right direction. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Develop methods to gather missing data and analytics. Determine what additional analytics and data you will need. Identify how you can quickly obtain that data either externally or internally. You may be able to configure a quick app that will solve the problem in the short term.
  • Review your business processes from the perspective of your customer’s interaction with your company. Look closely at the journey it creates for them and identify opportunities to change or enhance the process to make it a better experience. Watch for places where you can leverage customer data or automate interactions to make your internal operations more efficient.
  • Determine where you can overcome the limited capabilities of your legacy IT systems with apps to fill in the gaps and help you move forward over the short term.

3. Remember The People Too

Changing the way your business functions will impact many people within your company. Responsibilities will change, some jobs may even be eliminated. And no matter how good technology is, it still takes people to complete the tasks it enables. To help you navigate the people side, make sure you have a change management plan and things will go a lot smoother.