Let’s look at the monthly invoice issued by a utility company. There are three areas where the company has successfully deployed digitization. They include:
- The electronic invoice
What used to be a physical invoice is now replaced by an electronic version of the invoice. A physical paper invoice is static. It shows the usage, billing rates and the total amount. With digitization, customers can retrieve the electronic invoice on demand and perform analysis on usage pattern.
- Delivery of the invoice
While the mailing of the physical invoice is still preferred by some customers, many has opted for an email alert when the invoice becomes available. Customers would log into their online account and access their invoice. Digitization has eliminated postage cost and the need to email the invoice as an attachment. There is no need to archive invoices on customer’s computer.
- Internal processes
The end-to-end process of generating and delivering the invoice has been expedited with digitization. Invoices are archived and pushed to customers’ online accounts, providing access anytime anywhere. This also facilitates ease of access when the support centre rep and the customer need to view the same invoice to address inquiry.
The journey to get to the current state took innovation and risk taking. In order to foster a digital mindset in your team and attain successful digitization, you need to:
Leap over boundaries
Boundaries include rules, policies, and role restrictions. Established practices restrict innovation and create unnecessary complications. The most effective approach to avoid setback is to understand what the ideal solution would look like first. Do the design, then revisit current practices and see if there are relevant boundaries that you need to incorporate. Challenge the need with an impartial mind. Look for opportunities to modify and eliminate the boundaries so that you are able to offer a truly creative solution.
There will be risks associated with dissatisfaction from the customers, vendors, shareholders, and internal employees due to the changes effected. The level of dissatisfaction and the extent of the impact vary with the trigger. Instead of being fearful of rejection, consult for input as you design the ideal solution. This serves two purposes. First, to gather intelligence that guides your solution design. Second, to use the participants as a sounding board for improvements. It is inevitable that not everyone would be happy with the change, but your proactive solicitation for input helps to gauge risks and allows you minimize them along the way. The effort also facilitates the development of a pragmatic adoption strategy.
When your digitization effort focuses on the customers, you are less prone to drastic failure. A customer-centric rule of thumb serves as a solid filter to test assumptions, use, benefits, operational processes, and business rules. This put internal needs secondary but it is prudent to do so because customers are the ultimate beneficiary of your solution. The rapid mobile technology adoption, for example, is evident of the customer-driven advancement. It is risky not to place customer front and centre of digitization.
A digital mindset needs to have a broad perspective of what is feasible and not to be bounded by rules on what is done today. In identifying the champions for digitization, look for individuals who are keen to advance for the benefits of the customers. When technology is adapted to satisfy customer needs, you are in a good position to succeed.