In human-centric digital transformation, an organization takes into account all the people they interact with, not simply customers within a specific purchase cycle. Employees are humans, partner companies are made up of humans, and an organization’s choices and behavior can even affect humankind at large.
Even the people who may become customers in time are not all the same. Think of someone who’s checking out your website on a tablet in the middle of a city sidewalk versus someone who just got an email on their smart watch while in a meeting at work.
“The more you can think of the human perspective across the whole spectrum of their experiences throughout the day and the context in which they have those experiences,” O’Neill said, “the more possible it is to design experiences that mesh with those realities and provide things that actually add some utility and convenience to people and give them something that’s more meaningful in their lives.”
It All Starts with a Well-Defined Purpose
Companies can transform without a clear sense of direction. The first step is defining your organizational strategic purpose, according to O’Neill.
“Most companies are in business for some reason other than to make money,” she said. “A strategic purpose brings them back to that grounding and gets them thinking more in terms of, ‘How do we make the world just a little bit better in this one very specific area?’ When they can align the rest of the organization around that, then they can deploy technology—whether it’s IoT or AI or automation—in a way that aligns with that and amplifies that mission.”
A purpose statement should include what the company is trying to do, and do at scale. This needs to be distilled to three to five words, said O’Neill. Doing this work reveals how every word matters when it comes to describing value and business purpose. The result is an ultra-clear idea that informs how to proceed with digital transformation. It helps drive every decision and interaction throughout the organization. It’s a foundation for a company’s culture, priorities and strategies.
One of O’Neill’s favorite examples of a succinct, successful purpose statement comes from Disney theme parks, which is to “create magical experiences.” Those three words convey a very crisp understanding of a branded culture and approach to how Disney works.
She said if the statement is truly understood and believed throughout the organization and employees are granted autonomy to follow through in the most relevant way necessary to ensure that they’re creating the most magical experiences, then everyone in the organization — no matter who they are and no matter what job they have — knows how to solve any problem brought to them.
Holding to Your Purpose Transforms Brand and Culture
The next step is to hold the purpose statement against a list of organizational priorities, goals and strategies for getting things done. This can reveal how decision making doesn’t lead to the best customer or employee experiences. O’Neill said company culture can strengthen when employees understand that central strategic purpose and begin to act that out more in their interactions with customers and each other.
“Getting clear and succinct on your purpose can inform not only brand, culture and experience strategy, but also data modeling and operations and technology deployment that amplifies and accelerates that purpose,” said O’Neill.
“So the entire organization becomes more efficient, more effective, more aligned. And as a result, that sense of purpose, and what your company exists to do and is trying to do at scale, creates a more fulfilling, more meaningful sense of interaction between the company and the customer rather than something that’s fleeting and motivated only by money.”
Use Data for Intelligent Transformation
Digital transformation is mostly about the way data makes the organization smarter, more connected, more transparent, said O’Neill. By and large, that information is human data that represents interactions, interests and preferences of real people as they go through their daily lives.
“The amount of respect an organization shows for that data is made clear in the way it approaches and designs experiences from that point forward,” O’Neill said.