New demands

Digitalisation is not only about questioning companies’ business models but also involves putting demands on a fundamentally different approach to project execution. Digital experience transformations require multiple skill-sets from project management and process modelling to disruptive technology and user experience design. Clients can seldom manage all these skills without external parties.

Many digital transformations fail to deliver expected value as a result of failure to bring all involved parties and capabilities together in a clear and structured project approach. Therefore, this article aims suggests how parties involved in digital experience transformations can establish a more successful collaboration.

Key parties involved in digital experience transformations

Skills and expertise from four different parties are required to ensure all capabilities are covered:

  1. The key role of a management consulting firm is to ensure progress and structure of overall project delivery and to advise the client on business strategy and vision
  2. The technology firm enables efficient technical delivery, provides technical expertise and has the overall responsibility for technical delivery
  3. The creative agency provides creative input and inspiration for the development work through prototyping and conceptualisation
  4. The client typically drives the overall direction and prioritisation of work, approves changes in project scope and resolves escalated issues

All these parties need to work in close collaboration to ensure a successful transformation.

Four parties involved in Digital Experience Transformation

Key Success Factors

The complexity of digital experience transformations can be better managed if the following success factors are followed:

Make sure all parties are aligned and collaborating to achieve a close-knit output

Collaboration is the foundation for success in digital experience transformations. Regular meetings (such as starting each day to align on achievements), next steps and proactively flagging potential issues are a pre-requisite. Even relocation of all parties to a single project office is recommended to ensure daily alignment and a delivery fulfilling the required level of technical knowledge, ease of implementation, business value and creative differentiation.

However, close collaboration can also be an obstacle for efficiency. Close and regular alignment must be balanced with a clear approach to governance and communication to avoid too much disturbance for involved parties. 

Address contribution of all parties, define organisational structure and create awareness of contribution

Besides working more collaboratively, parties need to define the split of roles and responsibilities. This can be achieved by:

  • Setting a clear organisational structure and tie roles and responsibilities to capabilities to gain best possible synergies
  • Ensuring everyone is aware of their roles and addressing the contribution of others
  • Ensuring accountability by making roles and responsibilities part of the team’s daily ways of working

Organisational charts and RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) tables are typical project management tools to communicate defined roles and responsibilities. However, these tools may be seen as inflexible and limiting the freedom that digital creators demand. Therefore it is recommended to rather focus on clarifying the ways of working and set the foundation in order to obtain the team’s accountability for the delivery. 

Identify and embrace differences to create stronger teams and better relationships

Different work environments attract and require different personalities. As different capabilities and skill-sets are required for digital experience transformations, team members will have different backgrounds and work habits. A lack of understanding of personality nuances can create frustrations and lead to lower productivity.

Creative people are typically innovators with grand ideas. They also have an ability to see the details being neglected by others. However, they can be seen as both slow and unrealistic by other parties. Management Consultants typically take the role to ensure progress and encourages the team to overcome obstacles but need to find a balance to avoid being seen as too decisive and driving. By bringing the personalities together and embrace differences, better relationships and stronger teams are created which will improve sharing of expertise and quality of delivery.

Do not rush the brief and de-brief process, make sure the full team is involved at an early stage for full commitment to the task ahead

The brief and de-brief are the most important parts of any creative work, hence these processes should not be rushed. A typical pitfall is to only include the management team in the initial phases. Involving the full team at an early stage will let you avoid lost or misinterpreted information and have the mandate to take decisions and ensure commitment. 

Clarify expectations in terms of time, quality and costs

“Do you want it great or do you want it on Tuesday?”

Expectation management is a classic pitfall. Time, quality and cost are obvious factors to secure success. All parties involved in the transformation need to understand what elements to prioritise and take the three factors into consideration. Time will always affect the cost and quality and is a key factor in digital transformations as business needs naturally are tied to deadlines. The client needs to clarify deadlines and based on cost limitations set resource limitation to ensure time and quality can be maintained.

The quality of delivery also needs to be followed-up continuously to ensure that business needs are not neglected. The key is to set high-level directives and guidelines with clear deadlines while leaving the details to the creators. This will ensure a committed team, and will subsequently improve the quality of the delivery. 

Responding to new demands

Execution of digital experience transformations will always be a challenge due to the high demands but by following the above success factors, a foundation for collaboration can be achieved. This will increase the likelihood of success and of the transformation fulfilling the expected business value.