You have outdated technology, silos of information, a mismatch of systems and you still rely heavily on manual processes? Not only this but your maintenance costs are going through the roof as you continue to stick plasters on a system which is no longer fit for purpose?
If this is you, You certainly aren’t alone. Digital Transformation is a huge investment not only in money, but in time and resources, an investment that in 2020, during a global pandemic seems even less possible than it was before.
Even for those who have undergone a significant transformation initiative, the grass isn’t always greener. As recently as 2019, Forbes reported that 70% of digital transformations still fail at achieving their objectives, which certainly raises the question, why should it be a priority now?
The biggest misconception is that digital transformation is for organisational and operational benefit only. Instead transforming your technology is also a fundamental means of meeting member expectations, remaining competitive and demonstrating member value.
So what are the most important priorities for membership organisations looking to transform now?
With 55% of businesses believing they have less than a year before they start to suffer financially and lose marketing share as a result of failing to respond (Forbes 2019), how can you make sure you not only digitally transform, but digitally transform successfully?
Panicking or just pivoting because the pressure is on is not the answer. Making the wrong technical decisions or making rushed decisions is only likely to result in more problems than you started with and ultimately will come at a cost.
The first stage in post Covid19 transformation is about preparing for change, critically understanding the problems that exist, acknowledging things that have been missing and considering new enhancements that could solve organisational problems. Avoid trying to do everything on day one and instead consider a long-term programme, with set goals and milestones, focused on how your solution can evolve.
Whilst technology is the enabling factor for digital transformation, technology alone won’t solve your problems. With digital technology evolving faster than ever before, it’s easy to become distracted by industry noise. New technical solutions on the market, SaaS products that claim to solve all membership problems and technology trends such as AI and RPA. The truth is that although these systems and technical trends may be great for your business in the long term, until you get your foundations right, they may add little or no value.
With such a diverse range of technical solutions available and existing user preferences within your organisations, it is easy to venture into digital transformation with a cocktail of pre-defined technology.
Perhaps you have used WordPress for the last 6 years and system administrators know it well, you want to keep using Mailchimp for email, you use Sage for accounts and as an organisation you have made the decision to use Microsoft Dynamics as a CRM solution, is there a problem with this?
Whilst it may seem like all of these solutions are best of breed and meet the needs of the users, when it comes to integration and ongoing development, it’s a dangerous mismatch of disparate systems, that in the long term could stop you from meeting your objectives and increase project costs.
Once you have identified what you need and have buy-in across the organisation, then defining a technology stack and development approach is the next natural stage. This may occur at a number of different phases in the journey, for example, it may be an internal decision made by your IT department pre-tender, a recommendation from a third party consultant or it may even be a decision made based on a preferred suppliers tender response.
No matter what you decide, all development languages and technology stacks have sophisticated infrastructures capable of providing great outcomes for membership organisations. The key is centrally selecting one and reflecting this across the entire technical infrastructure. The benefits will include powerful 2-way integrations, lower ongoing costs and streamlined maintenance and updates.
Whilst it can be easy to consider a digital transformation as a project you do once, to prepare for the future, it is important to acknowledge that technology doesn’t stand still. For the best long-term outcome, projects should be based on a long-term project road map, starting with core features (minimum viable product) and with a mindset for continuous improvement and development.
This approach will also enable you to get a working system, implemented and live in the shortest possible timeframe.
For more information and guidance to get started on your digital transformation journey, contact the team at Wattle.
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