Part 9 - Continuous improvement
Digital transformation should be about bringing your business in line with what your customers want now - and what they will need in the future. But technologies, platforms and accessibility to service will change, so your transformation strategy should take this into account. Your digital strategy needs to continually evolve and improve in order to remain in line with what your customers need.
Big data, customer analytics, user groups and surveys are all there to help you map what's important for your customers, stay ahead of the competition and drive the direction of products and services.
The Kaizen Approach
Kaizen is Japanese for continuous improvement. When applied to business, it refers to activities that continuously improve all functions of a business. It’s about recognising where you're able to eliminate waste and improve quality, excellence, delivery and collaboration, all with the customer at the heart of everything you do.
Your digital transformation strategy needs to factor in a way of assessing everything you implement with a kaizen approach. And it doesn’t just apply to digital, this approach could also be applied in other areas of your business – such as HR, finance, recruitment, product development, sales, logistics, infrastructure and customer service.
Putting theory into action
How can you apply the kaizen approach into your digital strategy? One way could be by taking a bottom-up approach, allowing employees to put forward ideas based on their knowledge and experience. Your leadership would consider these ideas and facilitate any improvements suggested, rather than dictating how things should be done.
Another way would be to review your company culture, and adapt cross-functional teams who utilise lean and agile principles of working. After all, cross-functional teams have a higher success rate than teams who work in silos. And consider breaking down larger pieces of work into smaller, more management chunks - you’ll then be able to put the right tools in place that allow for continuous integration and automation of repeatable processes – in turn, improving quality and lowering risk.
There are many industry areas now implementing these types of strategies - including government, education, healthcare, creative, saas, insurance and manufacturing.
With many organisations reviewing how to expand their businesses to include the multi-channels that are available to them, streamlining and removing organisational blockers is imperative for success.