What is enterprise transformation?
Customers have big expectations. They want highly personalized products and services — delivered faster than ever before and without hassle. All this expectation means that your organization likely needs to radically shift how it operates. The fundamental changes that organizations are making to deliver a better customer experience are called an enterprise transformation.
Of course, the concept of business transformation is nothing new. Organizations of all types and sizes need to evolve to stay relevant and keep up with new demands. But enterprise transformation goes beyond implementing innovative ideas — it is really about rethinking how you serve your customers in every interaction they have with your company.
The output of this holistic outlook is a Complete Product Experience (CPE). Embracing a CPE mindset requires thinking long-term about what customers really want from you beyond the product or service you provide. It means thinking holistically about your teams, technology, and enterprise data — how you can reshape the entire organization to serve customers.
You may be familiar with the concept of digital transformation, which applies to adopting new technology and processes to modernize your business. Digital transformation has gained popularity because it promises an exciting model for innovation — more personalized digital experiences for customers and greater organizational efficiency. In fact, digital transformation is just one component of a full enterprise transformation.
Enterprise transformation requires all three of the following:
Digital transformation: Investing in the right technologies and processes to modernize your systems, infrastructure, and digital capabilities.
Solution transformation: Shifting how you build and sell your product to prioritize customer relationships and outcomes.
Data transformation: Putting data and analytics at the core of your innovation and decision-making processes.
To successfully transform, total and lasting changes are needed across the organization. This level of change and complexity requires a clear strategy and often a multiyear plan to get there.
The business benefits of enterprise transformation
Enterprise transformation is driven first and foremost by heightened customer expectations — it is also about business survival. Large enterprises find it particularly hard to adapt. Teams are siloed, outdated technology is the norm, and processes are inefficient. The effort to transform is monumental but so are the benefits you gain:
The primary benefit is serving your customers better — delivering real value that satisfies their needs.
Enterprise transformation requires a bold vision of the future you want to achieve. Taking the time to set this strategic direction helps teams understand how to orient their work to the larger objectives.
Transformation leads to improved responsiveness across the organization and faster delivery of products and services. But going agile alone is not a transformation — it is just one element of the transformation.
Enterprise transformation puts you closer to customers — you can focus your resources where they matter most and strategically cut other costs. This includes choosing technology that streamlines processes and improves customer insights.
Reorienting around the customer experience reveals new insights about the future. You can anticipate new problems to solve and develop more inventive solutions.
Transformations done well bring optimism and renewed energy to the organization. Teams can see the impact of their work and understand why it matters.
Transformation efforts are incredibly challenging and can even be emotional. Overhauling the culture and mindset of the organization means that some people will respond with uncertainty and skepticism. People may wonder how they will fit into the new environment and whether changes at the organization will stick. This is why it is important to involve everyone in the transformation — with strong leadership from the CEO and executive team.
Who is involved in an enterprise transformation?
Every team at the organization has a role in enterprise transformation. The most successful transformations start as an executive mandate with meaningful collaboration across departments. Some organizations are even forming innovation groups or transformation teams to lead the charge.
Leadership sets the company vision, communicates the "why" behind enterprise transformation, and makes strategic decisions related to people, processes, and technology. Without executive sponsorship, most enterprise transformations cannot move forward.
Product management organization (PMO)
Product managers sit at the intersection of design, technology, and business. The PMO's role in an enterprise transformation is indispensable — reimagining the customer experience throughout the entire product lifecycle.
IT teams build and maintain the underlying technology that makes it possible for an organization to deliver its products and services. Engineers within IT are responsible for how the product plan comes to life. Together the entire IT department enables faster delivery, greater flexibility, and improved reliability.
Marketing teams are responsible for modernizing the entire customer journey — how the organization attracts prospective customers, communicates product value, and generates new signups. In some organizations, marketing teams lead the digital side of the transformation.
Sales teams are in charge of delivering more personalized, seamless buying experiences to customers. Many teams are reshaping sales conversations to provide an expert-led, consultative approach.
Customer support teams engage with customers at key milestones in the customer relationship — when customers need help or choose to upgrade, renew, or cancel. The support team is integral to the transformation by responding quickly to points of friction and bringing visibility to customer feedback.
Legal teams ensure that new customer experiences and technologies meet compliance and legal requirements. This is especially important in heavily regulated industries, such as oil and gas, healthcare, and financial services.
Finance teams are responsible for integrating payment systems and processes to provide a smoother customer experience. They also analyze new business models to support transformation.
HR teams strengthen employee engagement in transformation efforts. They also recruit and hire new talent who will help drive organizational change.
What does it take to transform your organization?
Embarking on an enterprise transformation is a years-long, ongoing process. Many transformations stall because the organization lacks clear strategic planning and alignment. You need these six elements to get started: mindset, people, process, technology, go-to-market, and measurement.
Mindset: You have to shift your focus to improving the customer experience. And this needs to be deeply understood across the entire organization — everyone needs to adopt a customer-centric mindset.
People: Identify the right people with the appropriate skills to help move the organization forward. This applies to technical skills (digital, cloud, DevOps) as well as leadership and communication skills.
Process: Select agile, lean, or DevOps initiatives to help accelerate your transformation and improve cross-functional processes.
Technology: You likely need to implement new technologies — cloud, mobile, Artificial Intelligence (AI) — to deliver the experiences that customers want.
Go-to-market: Rethink how you market, sell, and support your product or service to remove friction at each stage of the customer lifecycle.
Measurement: Reevaluate your current key performance indicators (KPIs) and choose milestones and metrics that tell a richer story about your customers.
Making effective changes across all six areas requires a far more collaborative approach than most organizations are used to. You cannot truly deliver on the promise of a CPE until you have broken down silos and embedded a customer-centric approach to everything that you do.