Technology and change go hand and hand in modern-day membership organisations. Digital transformation remains a major priority, with members increasingly demanding greater digitalisation, with calls for personalisation, automation and real-time access to information. This process is forcing organisations to change their business models and adapt to a new market reality fast.
Building a business case for digital transformation requires adaptation and buy-in at every level of the organisation. While the primary aim may be to highlight financial and operational impacts of digital transformation, the development of a business case will also provide a framework that can be shared across the organisation.
Key considerations for delivering a business case:
Knowing the scope of your project and the parameters required for go-live are vital to delivering change at speed. Where the idea of launching a system that includes every desired feature from day one may be an aspiration, in reality the higher development costs and longer timelines will be prohibitive.
Defining project scope is not about knowing every intricate detail of your system, the technology and how it needs to work, but knowing which problems you need to solve, the likely business impact and the priority of features within your organisation.
Key considerations for project scoping:
Building flexibility and contingency into a project scope will be essential considering the rate of technical change. There is no technical approach that 100% mitigates risk, so understanding that budgets and timescales may evolve is essential both in developing your business case and defining your project scope.
In haste to deliver change more quickly, organisations often make the mistake of neglecting the people that matter most; their members. No matter how ineffective your legacy systems have become, there will still be a host of data hugely valuable for future development, packed with behavioural insight.
Invest time in developing a deep understanding of users, their emotions and needs, then use this to develop an actionable problem statement.
How should you use data?
Data within your legacy systems will give you a real insight into your customers experiences, whilst also helping you to understand pain points.
Perhaps the greatest industry misconception is that digital transformation refers to a single project or solution. Instead it refers to a mindset for continuous technical change, and ability to react to the fast-changing environment with latest technical innovations.
Key to developing a solution that can take your organisation far into the future are:
1. Choosing the right development partner
With a requirement for continuous transformation and a mindset for long-term development, selecting the right development partner really is essential for future success. In the membership sector alone, there are more than 45 suppliers, offering everything from out of the box (sometimes referred to as 'Software as a Service' or SAAS), through to fully bespoke proprietary systems and everything in between, so making the right choice is often a challenge.
Where it is easy to get caught up on costs, timelines or even visual elements presented in a pitch. The choice of suppliers invited to tender should be based on the best alignment to organisational strategy.
Things to consider:
For true consolidation, there are significant efficiency gains associated with working with one organisation who can offer a truly consolidated end to end solution. Working with one business to deliver across web, portal and CRM will create a more streamlined development process and more importantly ensure a single data source, providing a 360 organisational view.
2. Selecting the right technology and approach
When it comes to building sophisticated technical solutions in a short timeframe, fully bespoke is rarely an option due to time and cost restraints. Instead, a more feasible option is a blend of bespoke and off-the-shelf solution, offering capabilities for customisation and configuration to fit your organisational needs.
3. Lean digital and iterative development
Perhaps the most important change in mindset will come from the need to shift thinking to a more iterative and agile approach. Instead of considering every desirable feature, significant time savings will be made by focusing on launching a minimum viable product (MVP) with a plan for continuous evolution. Where a pure agile approach may not be something your organisation is ready for, preparing for a more iterative project with multiple phases will help you to achieve your objectives more quickly.
Delivering large scale business change should never be focused on one project or a refined timeline, but instead focused on continuous advancement or evolution. Behaviour will continue to advance rapidly, and your systems will need to respond accordingly.
Perhaps the biggest consideration is that, where delivering change at speed is vital, continuing to change at speed and acknowledging that your project will never end is perhaps even more important.
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