As discussed in Being Digital: State of the Union, a full operational alignment is needed to truly go Digital as a company. I recently had the privilege of hosting an illustrious group of global Digital CTOs for a discussion at the CDX conference. After some live, on-stage brainstorming, we came out with this pronouncement:

A Digital company is one whose internal structure and behavior are aligned to optimize the customer journey.

I could feel the entire audience stop breathing for a moment.

A simple sentence reframed the world and made an ideal achievable. Suddenly, we could move away from the abstract concept of “Being Digital” to concrete steps that could be easily designed, delegated, and, when implemented, would certainly transform companies of arbitrary scale, despite all the inertia stored up in larger organizations.

Three reasons make this idea so compelling:

  1. This approach shifts the onus of transformational leadership away from a pure hierarchical projection of authority where every org layer represents distortion and extraneous motives; it shifts leadership to a central ideal that is clearly articulated and used as common rally point by each level of the organization, without hierarchical layers of distortion.

  2. Optimization of the customer journey gamifies the company. In other words, the old games (How do I make sure the other department gets blamed and not me? How do I build a bigger empire? How do I jockey for more face time with my boss?) are replaced with a game where rules are clearer and success is more achievable and rewarding: Each and every time you optimize and further the customer journey, you win. Simple!

  3. Simplicity. It’s the key selling point for executive leadership that traditionally is too risk-averse for complex transformation efforts. Most senior executives believe they can understand a customer journey, and engage in a small project to map it clearly enough to pose the challenge to the company and kick off the new game. Starting this process does not require any major re-org, expensive management consultants, or (in most cases) board-level hand-wringing.

Imagine your staff arguing not about which department delayed the last marketing launch or went over-budget on product development, but rather standing in front of a customer journey diagram plastered on a wall, pointing at different opportunities to optimize, and volunteering what they could contribute to make those dips shallower and those peaks higher? Imagine how that activity can then affect customer acquisition, engagement, or retention, product quality, brand differentiation, increases in margin, and so on, all without having to attack those problems individually.

If you can imagine this, you can see your way to Being Digital.

Alex Asianov is the CEO and President of DOOR3. What are your thoughts about “The Customer as a Rally Point”, do you agree with Alex?

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