6 Ways To Improve Your Approach to Digital

Build a digital framework on which to make decisions

Forrester estimates that more than 50% of digital transformation efforts stall out completely. Why is this? Companies don’t know how to transform their business and a large amount want a quick fix and won’t overhaul the way they work.

So how do you change your organisations approach to Digital Strategy? Where should you start? Let's take a look...

Get a Digital Strategy

It's an all too common story that companies build services based on the latest trends or to keep up with competitors. Sometimes just based on a hunch.

There's nothing wrong with this when it all works but the amount of money we have seen wasted on services that were never wanted by the user in the first place is frightening.

Heavy Penguin believes Digital Strategy should answer 3 main questions:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to be?
  • How will we get there?

It should start with an honest appraisal of what has gone wrong. Only then can you put in place the steps to make sure it never happens again.

Create a digital roadmap, this doesn't have to be over a rigid timeline and shouldn't be set in stone, roadmaps should adapt and change regularly just as the digital world does.

For a recent client we created a swimlane roadmap that used the following timeboxes:

  • Short Term
  • Mid Term
  • Long Term

These then covered what we call the 4 Ps:

  • People
  • Platform
  • Processes
  • Performance

Create Design Principles

One of our most popular blog posts to date is Digital Design Principles in which we discuss how to create Digital Principles.

In summary, they are very similar to a company's values - they are a high-level list of rules to provide governance and guidance.

There are lots of generic Design Principles that are kicked around, but in our opinion, your Digital Principle should be relevant to your company. They should be a differentiator and separate you from the competition.

A Digital Principle should change the way something is done currently, for example:

We will make decisions based on data

That means you will no longer just build Digital Services based on a hunch or Department request. That's a change in company culture. They should also reassure people that decisions are being made against a well thought out set of principles and therefore giving confidence to the project.

Build The Right Team

Who makes the decisions? Are they the right person? You shouldn't, for example, have a marketing manager selecting a hosting environment or an IT manager making decisions on Design.

Try to define responsibilities at an early stage so everyone is clear and it doesn't cause conflict down the line.

What should be in-house vs outsourced? Sometimes bringing in a supplier to work with in partnership can be very beneficial to help bridge those skill gaps.

There are many structures in which companies work which Paul Boag goes into in excellent detail in How does digital, and customer experience fit into organisational structures?.

Minimum Viable Product

Get to Market Faster With a Minimum Viable Product. Too often, organisations miss opportunities because they agonise over creating the perfect website. They have to have every feature in place, and every piece of design and copy has to be crafted to perfection.

However, in reality, nobody knows what perfect is like until you put it into the world and see how people react.

Because with an iterative design approach you are not just releasing a site and then abandoning it, you can afford to launch a simpler version of your website and then add to it over time as you learn more. That is a minimum viable product, and it allows you to get something online much quicker. Read more on how to Maximise Your Return on Investment With Continual Iteration.

Share Knowlege and Progress

Silos and the turf wars they enable devastate organisations. They waste resources, kill productivity and jeopardize the achievement of goals

Knowledge is power but shared knowledge is much more powerful. Information and insight should be shared across the business on a regular basis. Share your failures as well as your successes!

By doing this, you give other teams the feeling of being involved. Don't hide the next website project under a cloak of secrecy. Get stakeholders involved early on and get their buy-in. This will prevent so many discussions further down the line - trust us!

Test and improve

Last but definitely not least is the importance of testing and improving the services you build.

Invite users to test your service. This can be face-to-face or through a platform like Usability.com. Take feedback onboard and use it to improve the service. Users love value being added frequently through new features.

You can use what’s known as a heat map to identify what members are spending the most time on as well as the areas of the website they are leaving quickly or ignoring. They also show you how often a page is scrolled through fully, the links that are clicked, and the best click-paths to take in order to help improve their journey.

Heat maps and funnels give you detailed blueprints of member journeys, pinpointing the areas that you are nailing as well as those that need to be improved.

You can use tools like Google Analytics and Hotjar to gain this insight.