Reframing Digital Transformation

Applying service design to align, design, orchestrate, and scale your digital transformation.

Joe Johnston
May 24 · 4 min read

Digital transformation often falls victim to the technology trap and points us to focus on…Human Transformation.

Transforming your business digitally means permanently modifying your business’ DNA by embracing tech-enabled change. It requires new mindsets and behaviors. Without these “inner” shifts, the “external” implementation of new structures, systems, processes or technology do not produce their intended ROI.

The implications of such an organizational shift reframe any discussion on digital transformation to point us to focus on the humans (employees and customers) at the epicenter of transformational change.

Humans, and their experience as recipients and activators of change

From the C-suite to line employees and far-reaching stakeholders, the experience of people is a critical element of transformation success, and inadvertently, it is often the element most likely to be overlooked or de-prioritized.

Organizations that get the human experience right, by strategically incorporating it into every facet and stage of the experience, will be powered by something greater than any disruptive force. They will have the power of solving for the unmeet user need to be fully empowered to innovate, collaborate and generate sustained value, even in states of near-constant changing customer expectations.

We can’t rely on old approach’s

We can’t rely on an old approach’s to shape new, future-ready experiences. No matter how far technology may advance the future is human. Organizations must transform faster and smarter by strategically empowering and activating people to be at the heart of every interaction.

Top Barriers to digital transformation

Orchestrating digital transformation

Shared vision and alignment are the key to successful transformation:

Source: 1 — Enterprise Digital Transformation Strategies Turning Disruption into Differentiation,” 451 Research, May 2017. 2 — Beacon 2019: Thriving in a Climate of Continuous Transformation,” North Highland, January 2019
3 — “Transformation with a Capital T”: McKinsey and Company.

Understanding human needs and behaviors will drive your organization’s experience ecosystem

It extends beyond digital, understanding that your organizational structure has to be aligned and intentional about customer centricity.

Customer-centricity necessitates a change in the way work gets done — through an intentional focus on transformation that permeates all functions across the organization. Transformation work, in turn, quickly turns into the need to define actionable next steps of that transformation. Leaders turn their attention to how their business practices and ways of working must change to accommodate the transformation.

It requires organizational alignment across business units to create a new customer experience journey.

It strives to achieve continuous optimization across processes, divisions and the business ecosystem of a hyper-connected age where building the right links (between front end and back office, data from ‘things’ and decisions, people, teams, technologies, various players in ecosystems etc.) is key to success.

Connecting the Dots

Envision your organization as a net of interconnected touchpoints instead of business units: Consumers and Employees, technology, “products”, processes and operations, your business model… all these “relationships” formulate who you are as an organization.

Approaching such change through the silo of a business function leads to a single focus on one area for transformation, i.e. customer experience, without a holistic understanding of connections, dependencies and purpose.

Focus on the careful orchestration of all touch points across a journey by designing around human needs instead of the organization’s view of the world.

Most services are like icebergs: The visible part is easy to grasp while the invisible internal processes and actions that make it possible are more complex to understand.

— Karine Cardona-Smits, Forrester

Service Design

A methodology to visualize and break down complex interactions and dependencies across the organization

Breaking out of traditional “lanes” and silos, we examine how your organization actually “gets work done”. We look at the interactions between clients and touch points, including the frontstage activities that impact the clients directly, and the backstage activities that clients do not see.

Immediate Impact
Through the lens of your shared vision a Service Blueprint exposes “service gaps” and opportunities for unique value exchanges. It allows you to prioritize work streams and identify an initial focus area called Experience Track(s).

Benefits of Service Design

Human-centered — At the Core
Quickly rallying around a shared vision and shared values based on an understanding of your members and employees.

Co-creation — Better Together
Leveraging existing insights and user data as well as collective knowledge across your organization to accelerate discovery. Quicker internal alignment and adoption of changes.

Holistic — Connecting All the Dots
A holistic view of the entire ecosystem helps to identify and prioritize solutions that work together and scale (Frontstage/Backstage/Process).

Iterative — Don’t Stop Nothing Does
Integrates iterative delivery to increase speed to value. Prototype1 at then end of each sprint cycle. Constant feedback loop to nurture product and service innovation.

Joe Johnston

Written by

Creative Director and co-head of studio @ymedialabs (Alum of @Hugeinc )