Succeeding as a digital organisation means creating a shared vision for you and your users - PA Consulting offers insight for how to do this successfully 

To succeed as a digital business, everyone must share the vision of the experience you want to create for your users. Yet, in most organisations, this target user experience isn’t well shared. It only exists in pockets and silos. So, departments and teams compete for limited resources, pursuing their ambitions individually, not together. Obviously, this isn’t the way to develop and deliver an improved user experience.

So how do you get on the right track?

Set the direction collectively and champion it from the top

When defining the target user experience, bring together senior stakeholders and frontline staff who will be much closer to the day to day reality of the customer and employee experience. And to ensure the right outcome, get some customers in the room too. We have a proven and tested methodology for mapping a target user experience.

Everything flows from a shared vision of the organisation’s direction, collectively owned and communicated from the top.

Clear, shared leadership principles are invaluable. They bring teams together, focusing everyone on the big picture, helping to prioritise and organise. Amazon, using guiding principles in everyday business decisions, is a shining example. A principle like ‘Customer Obsession’ helps everyone keep the focus of every project on earning customers’ trust and keeping it.

Get technology, marketing and commercial teams on the same side

In most organisations we talk to, the relationship between technology, marketing and commercial teams is tense. At its worst, it’s a full-on turf war. Ownership of products and services is neither clearly defined nor ever truly shared. To make matters worse, there’s distrust between teams and not enough back-up from the top. Sometimes, the higher up the organisation you go, the worse the hostilities get.

This is a barrier to delivering a better target user experience, but there are three ways you can overcome it:

  • create co-departmental committees with technology, marketing and commercial representatives
  • build peer-relationships between the different representatives to encourage collaboration
  • design overarching product management functions responsible for technology, commercial and marketing decisions.

Don’t let short-term noise distract you from customers

Building lasting competitive advantage through an exceptional customer experience needs long-term thinking. By long term, we mean setting a two-year horizon, which is long enough to effect change, and close enough to be realistic when it comes to digital expectations and developments, which are likely to power the customer experience. But transforming a culture of short-term quick fixes takes time and brings fundamental changes. Thinking two years ahead means putting customers first and acting on behalf of the entire organisation, not just as a team or an individual.

Despite good intentions, longer-term thinking is often diluted, or even paused to focus on short term needs, like reactions to financial results. But thinking and acting quarter-to-quarter makes you less able to develop and build better future experiences.

By leading the target user experience from the top, aligning technology, marketing and commercial teams, and avoiding short-term distractions, organisations can position themselves to achieve enduring results.

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