With the new year comes an opportunity to take a fresh look at your digital strategy. We at Baufest work with customers all over the world shaping their digital strategy, to make sure they are in the best competitive position to tackle growth, business evolution, and a rapidly changing technology landscape.
As you are thinking about your digital strategy for 2020, here are five do’s along with one don’t based on our customer experience.
DO focus first and foremost on customer experience to ensure the solutions you develop will be implemented and adopted successfully.
Of all the areas to focus on when it comes to digital strategy, putting the user first is our top recommendation. Regardless of where your digital strategy is headed, knowing who your user is and placing them at the forefront aids speed of decision making, provides a means to resolve conflicting priorities and reduces adoption risk when it comes time to rolling out a solution. If you are ever in doubt of a capability, need, or use-case, Baufest recommends taking a brief pause and interviewing a few customers to validate an assumption or gain an insight. You’ll save time and money making a good decision once based on customer feedback instead of a bad decision twice without that customer input.
DO make inclusion a focus to ensure you have a diverse set of inputs for your team.
It’s easy to surround yourself with a team that thinks and speaks just like you. Agreeable teams filled with teammates you get along with are tempting at any level of an organization. However, diverse feedback in a team is a solid approach to ensure you are considering more perspectives. You are never obligated to bring every idea to market and knowing the why behind certain decisions is good documentation for FAQs and empowers future decision-making. Another form of inclusion is diversity of customer audiences – for example, customer-facing apps and websites are designed for the sighted, however, there are 14 million American adults who are visually impaired – have you considered accessibility features for this audience?
DO plan on pilots for emerging technologies to understand where it is and isn’t a fit.
It’s important to look at the technology horizon and ensure you are leveraging the best tools to solve your company’s problems. It’s not enough to just read about these solutions though, but that you are taking the time to implement and test technologies in your own environment along the way. Proving out the benefit of a new technology with a meaningful use-case will give you a sense for the amount of “hype” or kinks yet to be worked out along the way and help to build a stronger business case if that technology ends up achieving the goals of your pilot. There is no substitute for hands-on experience to validate how robust capabilities are including documentation, APIs and community support in your own specific context. If you’re going to roll out a data warehouse for example, start with a subset of data hosted on a database that people can access via a BI solution for users to try before committing to a larger solution.
DO proceed with caution when launching a new cutting-edge technology onto a critical part of your company.
Despite what you may read online, every company and competitor is further behind than you think. Although it’s tempting to keep up with the Jones’s, what you read about online is only half of the real story (and typically the best half). If you are kicking the tires on a new or unproven technology, take a tempered approach towards rolling it out and ensure any kinks get worked out before launching it into a critical part of your business. Even proven technologies, like CRMs or ERPs, can cause major problems for companies let alone new technologies like automated decision making or ML-based forecasting. Hiring a company that has experience implementing that solution can help you mitigate your risks and factor in unforeseen considerations that are only exposed with experience in hand.
DO build a roadmap for handling legacy infrastructure over time.
It’s important to not just focus on what is bright, shiny and future oriented. Building a plan for handling legacy infrastructure will ensure you aren’t building new tech on top of broken tech without managing your historical debt – i.e. Tech Debt. Don’t forget to include a budget for the cost of migrations. We often see clients underestimate certain costs related to maintaining legacy systems or keeping them available for the actual duration they are required. Having a plan on how to handle legacy technology and building that into your roadmap can ensure that older tools and processes get phased out over time in a more cost effective manner, thereby continually refreshing your technology ecosystem and making way for newer technologies and processes.
DON’T rely 100% on the talent you have if they don’t have the skills you need.
With new tools, comes the need for new talent and capabilities. Although it is important to continually train your workforce for up and coming trends, having the right technology partner with the skills you need is essential to a balanced staffing plan. At Baufest, we are continually hiring world-class talent to ensure we have the right capabilities for our customers when they need. It is standard business practice for us to develop solutions side by side with our customer’s in-house talent and strike the best balance of 1st and 3rd party talent. As projects evolve and technology evolves, so too should the skills composition of your team.
A digital strategy is tricky to build and harder to execute. Ensuring you are considering the right things up front will aid in a successful 2020.
If you are interested in talking more about the projects you face or the challenges you are trying to solve, contact Neil Beam at firstname.lastname@example.org to start the conversation.