At the end of October, I had the pleasure and honour to present at Salford University’s Digital Transformation Conference at Manchester Airport. There were around 200 delegates from housing associations and local authorities with some great presentations from suppliers and digital experts. The presence of the technology companies and the experience of some of the bigger housing associations does not, I think, reflect much of the audience in the room. In these times of election campaigning I’d like to call the phenomenon I observed as…
Like choosing a political party that reflects all your hopes and dreams, there are many nuanced positions on digital transformation. We all agreed that digital transformation means different things to different people. Every organisation can benefit from digital transformation, but that doesn’t mean every organisation should take the same path.
It appears that many of you are “on a journey” but I haven’t yet found anyone who has yet reached their destination or even their final approach! In the case of two of our brilliant conference presenters (Halton and Housing Solutions) the journey started ten years ago and is still not complete! Imagine Brexit taking that long… well I wouldn’t bet against it!
Thank you to those who completed our online survey (or poll perhaps?). Transformation is a key priority but you don’t feel you have either the track record of experience or the ICT capability to move forwards.
There were few surprises in the survey but here are a few other headlines:
- Main driver for transformation was improved customer experience
- Major benefits sought are relating to online repair co-ordination
- Those transforming are focusing on channel shift and process redesign
- But there are no plans to remove contact centres to drive channel shift
- New technologies sought are predictive analytics around income management
- The main barriers (and this confirms our previous research) are
- Passive Board involvement
- Lack of technical understanding
- Data is not used for decision making
- Resistance from staff
So, what will help you decide?
What will help you choose the right digital strategy? A digital shift can lead to increased savings, happier customers and better prospects in both the short and long term. But you would be right in not believing all the hype that is advertised. When I see channel shift targets in excess of 50% I think that is not credible and not good for the majority of your customers.
Manifesto for Change
What if we asked the political parties to advise you on your Digital Transformation, what would their manifesto look like? Here’s my satirical suggestions:
Many employees worry that digital transformation will eventually cost them their jobs. We will engage with employees and talk honestly about how our organisation sees its future and what role employees play in that future. We will show employees how new tools and equipment could make their jobs easier but not redundant. We will offer training and development to employees for any new technologies. We will provide technology and equipment that is easy to use, in the field as well as the office – simple functionality with photos, messaging and maps is what most people use on their smartphones.
As we know risk management and regulation regime is a feature of the social housing sector. Whether its risks relating to GDPR, health and safety, financial health, value for money or income management there’s one aspect of digital transformation that will always help reduce those risks. We will invest in data analytics to provide information and insights for financial, operational and compliance management practices. Business intelligence teams and software will provide faster, deeper and more transparent information.
The global accounts for 2018/19 will shortly be published. Many contain a plan for digital transformation but what are the benefits, how can you be sure it will save money? Before tackling the big investments, consider how digital transformation could make existing processes cheaper and easier. Think about your most expensive process or think of a relatively straightforward process that’s repeated thousand or millions of time every year (repairs or invoice processing). Time and money saving activities are more likely to involve specialist software or software designed in-house which challenge the archaic processes first.
Digital transformation isn’t some vague buzzword. For small businesses, digital transformation includes all the little steps forward that add up to massive cost savings, happier customers and improved prospects. Look for areas with easy opportunities for big improvements, and then use these tips to turn those potential gains into reality. We will engage with our customers and ask them what their preferences are. We will address their privacy and security concerns. We will offer them different ways to access our services including self-service.
Vote Golden Marzipan
Here at Golden Marzipan we understand the different offerings and we can help you decide which option is right for you and your customers. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org