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What does it take to live digital?

Three ways your company can become a leader in the digital era.

Jason Hjorten | February 14, 2017

Our digital world

We live in a digital world. As end users and consumers, we’re constantly having digital experiences by interacting with technologies and devices that provide information back to the companies that serve us—our banks, retailers, streaming video services, and wearable device providers, just to name a few.

These servicing companies are our clients, and it has become increasingly clear to us that they face a greater set of challenges than they did just a few years ago. To stay competitive in today’s digital era, they need to live digital and lead digitally.

With all the potential ways our clients can proactively pursue their own maturity and live digital, these are the three areas of focus that offer the greatest impact and value:

1. Experiences for customers and employees

Customers and employees want experiences that are easy, engaging, and provide the value they need in as few clicks or swipes as necessary. The first goal of many companies is to create a digital experience that enables employees or customers to interact with them in a new way. They then learn and build a second iteration of the experience that’s easier to use and incorporates more features. These are logical steps in the journey.

What comes next is the hard part: trying to understand enough about customers and employees to define the future vision of digital products. It can be an intimidating process. Where we see companies paving new ground is with digital experiences that actually improve users’ lives.

Can a digital experience improve a life or make a set of critical tasks easier? Are the benefits of the interaction real enough that people are willing to share even more of themselves to realize these benefits and potentially more? Companies that are able to deepen experiences within this context realize returns on their investments in ways that most couldn’t have imagined a few years ago.

2. Monetization or productization of data assets

Companies that deliver digital experiences to customers or employees possess assets of significant value, in more ways than they might think. Data about the behaviors and interests of users is the most obvious source of value and often part of the use case for making digital investments in the first place. This data can provide critical insight on how companies should go to market and make decisions about customer targets, product mix, promotions, pricing, and other variables.

Some companies collect this data but find it difficult to access it, because it resides in disparate legacy systems. Others have yet to realize the value of their data beyond their own business. Even taking into account privacy concerns and regulations, anonymized data that shows patterns in behavior can have tremendous value and may even provide an entirely new revenue stream.

3. Digital platform and capability

There was a time when most companies were concerned about developing a single mobile or web application. They thought about security, which devices they could support, and how they would maintain the application after promoting it to an application store or existing website.

Now, all of a company’s internal and external product deployments are expected to be digital, and considerations are far more complex. To be successful, companies must take a digital platform view, thinking through how unique experiences will be integrated, supported, and sustained across an organization. They must also ensure that the development capability matures in parallel with the company’s digital environment.

New technologies and development frameworks are being deployed at a rapid pace. Companies often struggle to determine what capabilities are necessary internally and when they need to bring in external support to bring a product to market. Plans for capability development must be based on short and long-term product roadmaps, with an eye on how external partners may impact the internal team’s strength and self-sufficiency.

Live digital

At Slalom, these themes are top-of-mind every day—because digital is at the core of almost everything we do. We’re committed to helping our clients advance their capabilities and deliver amazing digital products, experiences, and platforms. We don’t just do digital, we live digital.

This post was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.

Jason Hjorten

Jason Hjorten is a managing director in Slalom’s Chicago office and is the executive leader of Slalom Chicago’s digital solutions practice. He helps incubate and launch cutting-edge digital solutions, as well as fuse user experience design, strategy, and innovation to help companies design a better future. Jason has been working with clients for almost 20 years across a broad range of business and technology capabilities. Follow him on Twitter @JasonHjorten.


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