Digital transformation and the improved customer experience have become essential to the growth of organizations across Canada. Consumers are driving the charge, as they continue to demand more seamless interactions across the mediums they choose to use. This has become increasingly relevant in the wake of COVID-19, and thus, organizations must continue to adapt to thrive in our new reality. In our recent survey conducted with Angus Reid, we sought to examine the evolution of digital transformation and the customer experience in today’s consumer-driven economy. For the purposes of the survey, digital transformation was defined as, “the use and adoption of new and frequently changing technology to solve problems,” and customer experience was understood as, “the result of one or more interactions between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship.”
How organizations value digital transformation and the customer experience
According to our study, more than two thirds (70 percent) of organizations indicated they highly value customer experience. In comparison, just under half (51 percent) said the same of digital transformation. It’s critical for organizations to realize these two concepts are intertwined. Without the implementation of in-house digital transformation, there will be challenges in the customer experience evolution as the infrastructure may be a barrier. The strongest digital transformation journeys place the same importance on people, processes and technology.
A shift to online amid COVID-19
The global pandemic has forced many organizations to shift focus in their daily operations and how they interact with consumers. The need for physical distancing has presented many challenges that prevented organizations from continuing to provide their services in a traditional manner. A somewhat alarming statistic is that just under one fifth (19 percent) of organizations noted they were prepared for an online only marketplace. Many of today’s services still require face-to-face interaction, in part explaining why so many organizations struggled at the beginning of the pandemic. Fortunately, this isn’t to say organizations weren’t able to adapt. Our survey found that 33 percent of respondents adopted digital transformation measures and 32 percent adopted new technologies to improve customer experience, albeit with some challenges, to meet the needs of the current landscape.
Key barriers to adoption
While most organizations understand the value of digital transformation and improved customer experience, there are barriers that prevent organizations from making the necessary adjustments. Our survey found the clearest and most common barrier to adoption was cost, with just over half (57 percent) and just under half (48 percent) citing cost as a barrier to digital transformation and customer experience, respectively. A limited budget can be a crippling deterrent for any major changes in organizational strategy, which was amplified due to COVID-19 stripping consistent income from many organizations. Some other barriers cited included perceived complexity of the project (33 percent for customer experience and 35 percent for digital transformation) and insufficient infrastructure (29 percent for customer experience and 35 percent for digital transformation).
Openness and experience with new technologies
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) as well as cloud and multi-cloud computing are popular solutions among Canadian organizations. Just over two thirds (69 percent) of respondents said they are open to using AI and/or ML while 92 percent say they are open to using cloud or multi-cloud computing to improve digital transformation and the customer experience. Out of those respondents, 21 percent already leverage AI or ML, and 58 percent already use cloud or multi-cloud computing. Although organizations are leveraging these capabilities, many still feel as though more can be done with these solutions. While there is strong awareness of their benefits and potential including simplifying daily tasks, streamlining data and improving data entry, more work needs to be done before that potential can be fully realized. The emergence of new technologies in the coming years will likely change the landscape of what is possible in the realms of digital transformation and customer experience.
What are the next steps?
Regardless of whether Canadian organizations are prepared or not, the technology evolution will continue. While it may be concerning to some, customers are using new tools in their work and personal lives and want the same from the brands they interact with. To take the next step, organizations should:
- Recognize that digital transformation and customer experience are linked.
- Continuously look for the latest tools available to see if they can help future-proof your organization for long-term success.
- Put yourself in your customers shoes when looking at any digital transformation or customer experience initiative.
If you’re curious about moving your organization’s digital transformation and customer experience journey forward, or if you’re interested in starting it and would like to learn more, contact our CDW solution experts at 800.972.3922 or visit CDW.ca/digitaltransformation. Our complete digital transformation and customer experience market trends report is available here.