PEOPLE, PROCESS AND TECHNOLOGY: THE DIGITAL RULE OF THREE

PEOPLE, PROCESS AND TECHNOLOGY: THE DIGITAL RULE OF THREE

The Latin word “Omne trium perfectum” means “everything that comes in three is perfect.”The rule of three” is a popular writing principle that states that things that come in 3’s are often more effective and satisfying. The “rule of three” conforms well to the three pillars needed to have a perfect digital success.

Story: People, process, and Technology.

Making the best use of any of these pillars will surely give your ambitions a boost, but a well-blended collaboration of these three, giving full support to each other, will bring success to your organization.

Producers or distributors providing self-service tools to their clients.

 

DEFINING THE PILLARS PEOPLE.

Taking a deep look at the digital world, you can possibly start to describe the kind of people needed to keep operations going. Amongst them are people from different disciplines such as customer service, Marketing, IT, Merchandising, Operations, Accounting. You can have just a few number of people or hundreds of them supporting your business, it all depends on how large your organization is and how complex your system is. In some situations, Just one person may perform multiple functions, while in other cases, a single role may need a number of people to handle it because of its size and challenges. Clearly, it is vital that you make sure the people in your organization are very efficient and capable. From the experience we have gathered, we have severally come across different risk areas that can hinder success:

+1Initiatives driven by a single Team.

We regularly work with clients and prospects that need a strong technology boost, but we have considered well how people and process blend into their changes. (And technology is easy for us). Our main objective is to describe the major elements of three aspects, show how they connect with each other and figure out how to collaborate the three to ease your digital transformation. These changes we are talking about can be in various forms but can include ideas like: a consumer based good company presenting a direct to consumer channel or a local retailer who wants to change business models or a business to business.

Digital ideas are often led by either of the two teams: Marketing or IT. It is very vital that there is a project team lead, though, it is also important that not only one team keys into the idea. Ensure all teams talk about ideas, methods, and priorities.

+Unfulfilled Responsibilities: Digital commerce solution providers will move to what they have knowledge of. For instance, a career merchandiser will make sure that product list and content messaging are efficiently used with an active business flow. But they may not know how to keep the marketing efforts going, like A/B testing, identifying conversion improvements with the use of analytics or coverage usability testing. The result will be well used in one area and not well used thereby causing it to fall behind. The owner of the digital does not necessarily need to be a professional in all areas, but they should properly understand the solution’s needs and be able to know the resources that can be used to influence those areas. Sometimes, the particular function can be outsourced.

+Aligning Talent with Responsibility.

Another common risk that regularly occurs is when very gifted people are given roles that do not align with their skills. In other situations, there are people who can function well in more than one aspect. As time goes by, evaluate your talent pool so you can identify each member’s strength and blend it with the role that best fit, even if the roles have functions that do not relate.

+Siloed Teams: This is the greatest risk any digital company can face. For instance, if you have different teams working on their own, you might be wasting money, time and disappointing your clients. For instance, the group handling discounting unsold holiday goods are not the ones handling the promotional site elements. And as breaks like this increases, there is a high chance of inefficiency occurring in your ecosystem. To guard against this, always have a meeting that involves all the teams. Make use of collaborative software tools. Let there be delegation and responsibility matrices for teams and the people involved and make sure you are able to identify possible process issues before they become major problems.

We met with an industrial producer whose marketing section bought a multi-year license to an e-commerce platform. All they wanted to do was to get their products online as quick as possible and merge orders with their ERP system. While this was going on, the IT team were months into an ongoing project aimed at implementing an ERP system, which was not easily incorporated into the e-commerce platform. The time frame and budget set aside for the two projects were completely exhausted, and with the damage done, they had to hire a new IT director.

Though this illustration might seem too extreme it actually explains why there should be a healthy collaboration in any organization. With time, we see “Business technology” roles coming up in different businesses. This role fills the gap between IT and Marketing organization and it acts as a medium to find a level playing ground between groups and ensure everyone is working towards a common purpose. Hiring a professional from outside might be expensive. Having a deep understanding of what the needs are and discovering a talent from within is a viable solution in most cases.

+ Change Management

The creation of a new digital sales Avenue can be perceived as a disruption instead of an advantage if you do not control internal and external expectations. Ensure that all the parties involved are part of the process.

IMPLEMENTATION METHODOLOGY

Which method is best suitable for your organization? Is it Agile or waterfall technology? Is there a common ground that meets your needs?An important success factor is choosing the best methodology for e-commerce project for more details.

+Program strategy

Your strategic execution plans are made up of these processes. If you do not have a laid out program method, your deployment will be temporary and will not have the support needed to keep the program on a path to lasting success.

PROCESSES

It is not a mistake that process was mentioned in the sentence above. Your company may have advanced resources and already know all the risks earlier discussed. But if you do not have laid out procedures to follow, your teams will go back to their former ways. The process should be methodical and diplomatic in nature. We have collated some process examples that should be important to your digital solution:

= Future Release flow: Do you have an organized way of launching new features into the production world? Know your priorities, test and endorse new features when they are brought to live site.

=Application maintenance and support: Continuous needs are important like platform improvements, issue detection, and enhancements. How do you handle team expectations and prioritize maintenance work?

= IT requests: Regardless of the platform, business usually have limits as to what they can manage and IT support will surely be required. When this occurs, is there a laid down procedure to engage them and prioritize request against their present workload?

= Training processes: Have the people who will be in charge of the new system undergone any training? Even though the new system is easy to use but change is challenging. When the people are well prepared, switching will be easier. This might include on-site training With customers that are very used to the old system to the creation of documentation and assets that helps the users with the new workflow.

=Backlog identification and prioritization: The beginning of the journey is Launching. You must have a clearly defined procedure to prioritize new features for continuous advancement. An intelligent interactive feature may not be needed for launch, but with good planning, it can be well included in the future release to boost user experience.

= Communication strategy: How do you pass information to the people internally and externally when there are changes and site progress?  Be active and unfailing in passing information to the parties involved. Make sure both internal and external communication is done at the right time so that the teams can have enough answers to customer questions.

+ marketing strategy: Marketing ideas must work hand in hand and rest on each other.

= A/B and multivariate testing: Often, we come across customers who want to use the A/B or multivariate testing(and already have the software)  but they do not know how to execute it. This eventually leads to wrong and unhelpful information that hinders growth. It is very important that you have a clear plan for A/B testing so that you can test certain alternatives that will lead to an effective site change.

= Marketing Automation process: Do you know how to monitor your customers from advertisement to transaction?  You can make use of marketing automation as a tracking user behavior. Did they go to your store locator? You can offer them a 1-day coupon to boost in-store visit. How many site users watched the video of your newly released product? Let your internal sales team call the customers personally for an in-person demo.

=SEO & Content management: These days, content has stopped being the regular few lines write up about a product or posts on few blogs. Your content must be well incorporated into your commerce technique. The procedure or process that you use to allow good storytelling and discoverability(SEO/SEM) has a huge impact on the general success of your digital channel.

= Conversion Optimization: Customers are locating your site and shopping there because of your effort. The next thing to do is to make sure you define process so as to analyze and use information for the continuous improvement of your organization and better conversion.

= Personalization refinement: From a customers point of view, what they want is a perfect experience which entails a line of interwoven processes and systems to put in place effectively.

= Ongoing user engagements: Once the site comes up, have you planned how it will grow?  It is very vital that you hear your customers out when you are highlighting the possible changes and improvements that can occur in future.

+MDM strategy

A good MDM(master data management) covers systems, governance, and processes to use the information that is best for you.

= Merchandising workflow: No doubt, you have a process that you use for product content and customer-ready data. This flow will technically support continuous data consistency.

= Marketing workflow: The group in charge of marketing should make use of a standard process to make sure content integration and commerce meet brand needs effectively.

= Customer management procedures: This means to make sure that the Account/management/customer service teams have the required tools to allow customer call tracking and issue solving, case/ticket automation and how they manage CRM data and push it across systems.

= Order Management flow: This controls the management of data from cart to checkout via fulfillment,  how returns are managed and processed for handling pre-orders and back orders.

= Sales Audit Reconciliation: After a transaction process is sealed, and the customer is glad, we always think that is the end. But this is where your accounting department starts their own work. Payment data and inventory will have to be looked into, analyzed and balanced. For a deep knowledge of MDM, go and read Leveraging PIM to support your master data management strategy.

Technologies to support the process.

TECHNOLOGY

When we talk of the needed technology to enhance the digital channel, you will think our conversation would be about the e-commerce platform, OMS, ERP, CMS, WMS and so on. These are also very true but there is still numerous kind of technologies that have to be incorporated so as to bring the best out of your team and pre-established processes. In line with the ‘rule of three’s, technologies can be categorized like this too: those that support the solution, the processes and the people.

TECHNOLOGIES TO SUPPORT THE SOLUTION.

We all know that the e-commerce platform is at the very core of the commerce solution, but the particular topic is very wide and deserves an entirely separate discussion. As a matter of fact, there is plenty information on different platforms, their different strength and weaknesses and how they can be incorporated into the e-commerce world at large. However, we will not discuss all the details about this solution here.

=Project management: This entails a local offline tool like Microsoft project or an online tool like Teamwork or base camp. Irrespective of this tool, it is vital that your project management team has a way of identifying the activities, effort, dependencies, and assigned needed to finalize the work.

Hint: Ensure your marketing team has access to this tool so they can track their requests within the broader project management organizations(PMO).

= Task/Defect Tracking: With the use of a task tracking system, you will have workflows for tracking, reporting, testing, defect resolution that will highlight the work your team has done thereby cutting costs and bringing new features to boost the market.

= Workflow management: Some activity workflow needs to spread across your workforce such as preparing product content, RMA, price/quote approvals e.t.c). There are lots of tools(some locally within your e-commerce or ERP systems) that can help enforce pre-established processes. If there are no guidelines, you might have the experience of a product that is in production before its readiness, a price that is not approved is shown to customers, or a product not re-logged into the inventory when returned.

Your staffs are your greatest belongings, and their jobs will be more effective and easier when they have the relevant technologies. This makes them more productive and happier.

TECHNOLOGIES TO SUPPORT THE PEOPLE.

Eye tracking testing.

CONCLUSION: It all goes down to this fact:

The next time you are going on a digital journey, You need to go further than technical implementation. If you make the implementation a multidimensional process, then you are really on the pathway to digital transformation.

=  A properly structured team will bring a certain level of success, but when teams have the right methods and strategies, you will have unimaginable results.

= Well mapped out techniques to have a scalable framework for your team(irrespective of the experience they have) will lead to a noticeable payoff. But if resource plays

= Feature documentation: About 95% of the clients we deal with do not have proper requirements of their current site in a record. Documentation is very important and still, this happens to be the first thing that people drop during a project and most certainly does not continue to grow as other sites are launched in future. Just like an offline Microsoft word document on share drive or a cloud-based tool like Atlassian confluence that everyone has access to, documentation can be that simple.

=User Testing: Are you actually building a site bearing what your customers say in mind? User typing is a major part of implementing the “voice of the customer” either through lives testing or prototype. This tool allows you to figure out the features that customers want(not what you think they want).  User testing tools do not have to be difficult, but at least, technology will be required to test, collate data and use the result.

= Analytics: With the marketing strategy explained in your processes, you already know the data you need to collate for progressive improvement…but what about the technology you require to collect, analyze and make use of data meaningfully, do you have that?

Ranging from free tools like Google Analytics to enterprise-class software, proper analytics use is the key to a data-driven decision that has a good effect on the business. If you do not have the needed technology to operate and launch the strategy, you will no like the results you will get.

= Large expensive technology investments will not fully realize their ROI potential except they have the right people and process to use the technology very well for maximum result.

 

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