How to take the struggle out of convincing your board on digital.

When Pitching, Technology isn’t the Only Thing to Think About

It’s easy to think that persuading your board on digital is just about technology, but actually it’s more than that.

Large digital initiatives often end up being about something else – process, brand, or organisational change. For sure, technology forms part of the conversation – but it’s not the only thing to think about.

Organisations usually make new technology choices and investment decisions based on their underlying way of working or their corporate culture – and that can get in the way of the proper application of technology. Sometimes, there are legacy internal processes and systems that mean the technology isn’t being used as well as it could be. 

What organisations need to do is explore what their real challenge is, and what the main contributing factors are – they’re often not what the company thinks.

The First Things to Consider

Looking at transformation holistically is important. To get the board interested, go back to the digital proposition, what it means, and how it’s aligned to your brand and business objectives.

Review how your services and capabilities should be structured and organised across your digital estate. This could be different depending on what your business is – whether you sell services or products.

If you think about online selling on an ecommerce site, customers often have to do more work to find the exact product or information they're looking for. This means they have higher expectations in terms of the digital experience and how things are presented.

One area that’s often overlooked is content. Is your content strong enough to convince your prospects and clients to engage with you? 

What you say, how you say it, and in what format, greatly affects how your audiences value you, and whether they engage with you. Our experience has shown us that, with many organisations, content is the last thing that’s looked at, rather than one of the first.

How to Show the Value of your Digital Investment

The obvious way to show the value of your digital investment is with ROI modelling and key KPI measurement. You can develop a business case to show the potential cost of ownership for the technology and what it would return over a two, three, or five-year period.

For example, DCX helped a major manufacturing organisation identify the KPIs they should be measuring. We looked at service and repair turn-around times that were key drivers for operational efficiency as well as customer lifetime value.

We reviewed the time needed to complete the existing end-to-end processes, support operative costs, and repair values as a starting point, to show what a digital self-serve provision could deliver, both in terms of efficiency savings and an increase in customer loyalty.

For a large financial services organisation, we looked at avoidable demand for call centre operatives and how they could triage admin requests or payments through digital. By doing this, we enabled call centre operatives to focus on more critical inbound tasks, reducing call centre investment on admin.

What to Consider When it Comes to Buying Technology

Companies will have concerns when making large investment in a new tech stack they can’t yet activate. The idea of committing to a specific supplier for a number of years and building up large license fees can be daunting.

You should explore how flexible and scalable the technology is before you commit to it for the long-term. Technology with composability at its heart is definitely something to consider.

A Gartner keynote back in 2020 remarked how the future of business is composable.

Composable technology is built around modular elements, such as content management, digital asset management, customer data platform, marketing automation, and more, that you can bolt together (knowing they work together) to suit your business needs. Composable technology allows you to adapt to market and business conditions quickly, and gives you tools that can grow with your business, so you don’t need to re-architect solutions every two to three years.

Managing Different Stakeholders

Another factor to consider is stakeholder alignment. Having a senior board sponsor who can adjudicate turf wars and get others on-board helps to position your business case better and makes it credible.

Teams will be affected by digital in different ways – and having certain stakeholders asking challenging questions is fine. 

You would fully expect your Finance Director to ask questions around the numbers, such as how you justify spend versus ROI, in the same way a Marketing Director would ask about improvements around customer experience and how brand awareness could increase. Robust debate and passion are needed to get a digital business case over the line.

The biggest challenges tend to come in organisations with large teams that are de-centralised. Without a collaborative, top-down approach, stakeholders across the business can be resistant to change. Decision-making is more complicated, which can add more time and effort to your digital transformation project.

It’s important to identify your steering team and interest groups early. Collaborate with them as soon as possible. 

Your Culture is Important

Every organisation has a different culture. It’s been shown that organisational cultures that are more open and collaborative are better at buying into the idea of digital transformation. For these organisations,  here’s less of a learning curve and less of an education process to bring everybody on-board.

Organisational cultures that are top-down and directive find it difficult to influence employees. They work well for initial decision-making – but convincing the rest of the organisation to buy in to the transformation can be tricky. 

A willingness to collaborate is important, especially if your initiative is likely to affect the whole organisation. If you’re not on the journey together, it’s not going to work.

The Future of Digital

Change is constant these days but there will always be a lot of focus from organisations on saving costs and ramping up efficiency.

Digital transformation can help with this.

Conversations around digital education should increase, with ‘board members expected to have some level of digital literacy’. In the last couple of years, digital has come on leaps and bounds, and there’s a higher level of digital knowledge at senior levels than there was in the past. This should foster more productive conversations.

Persuading your Board – with DCX and Acquia

To hear more about what it takes to convince your board on digital, watch the video with Andy Farmer, chief strategy officer at Paragon DCX and Andy Botwright, DXP technologist at Acquia.

When it comes to persuading the board, aligning your digital strategy with your business strategy is vital. Having a knowledgeable partner will help you to remain customer-focused and deliver tangible outcomes.

Our team at DCX will work hand-in-hand with stakeholders across your organisation to ensure we develop the most effective strategy and high-impact solutions to drive effective digital business transformation. Learn more about Paragon DCX.