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Business transformation might appear to be one of the hottest buzz concepts in today’s workplace, alongside innovation, agile, disruptive and digital. True, as today’s business volatility is unprecedented, transformation seems to have become an imperative. Transformation and change however are easily mixed up, although they differ profoundly. The prior difference lies in the fact that transformation is about the evolvement of an intended state which per definition radically differs to the starting point.  This demarcation does not apply for a change, which might lead to a situation still reflects the starting point. The second difference is to be found in the processes involved. The transformational process of evolvement inherently consists of successive stages of change.  Perhaps the clearest analogy is a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. Not only differs the appearance of the butterfly of that of the caterpillar, a butterfly is less constrained in where it can go and what it can do than the caterpillar that is confined to creeping.  

Digital transformation is about the process of rethinking one’s business in light of the availability, applicability and profitability of digital technology.  The application of new technologies fundamentally changes the way business is done. Brian Solis and Jaimy Szymanski (Altimeter Group) defined this quite well in their statement: “digital transformation is to be referred to as the realignment of or new investment in technology, business models, processes and resource competences to drive new value for customers and employees to effectively compete in an ever-changing digital economy”. Hence, for most enterprises, the driving motivation for digital transformation is the chance to gain competitive advantages by constantly improving customer experience.

Customer experience is quite a comprehensive term covering the perception a customer has of a brand, based on any interface or interaction between him and one’s organisation.  From a business point of view the ultimate customer experience is the one that fully aligns the intended brand identity.  This comes down to putting customer experience at the heart of one’s business strategy.

Over a decade has passed since technological innovation penetrated our behaviour and way of working in a fast pace, driving our today’s experience economy (as described by Pine & Gilmore in 2000). Along the way digitalisation has brought the gain of insights in customer behaviour within reach of any customer driven business. These insights reveal ultimate touchpoints i.e. opportunities for increasing customer engagement and driving customer intimacy. In parallel, chances for operational excellence have became more visible than ever before.  Note the goal of operational excellence, being to ongoingly ensure customer expectations are met by the processes one’s business operates by. So, digital technology seems to be paving the road for Customer Excellence as value discipline, being a reasonable merger of two value disciplines as defined by Treacy and Wiersema in 1993. Pointing out customer excellence a strategic value driver, is done easily.  Getting there, however, is a perseverant process of holistic digital customer experience transformation.

Successful digital customer experience transformation requires a reorientation that goes beyond the implementation of new technology, permeating every aspect of one’s business.  Hence, every business element and/ or aspect inherently evolves through the transformation of customer experience.  By this we literally mean every aspect: employee’s mindset and competences, processes and systems, the way of working and ways of interaction with clients as well as the company’s governance and performance management. Against this background it becomes clear how few digital technology implementations successfully drive Customer Excellence. At a closer look the lagging results substantially derive from insufficient adoption, disparate silo-based approaches and a technology driven roadmap, based on the false presumption of technology as a strategy. On the contrary, in order to realise a successful digital customer experience transformation, the opposite is the truth. It demands a holistic, customer outside-in approach, enabling employees with adequate processes and tools, embedded in a cultural change. In addition, the success of any customer centric transformation strongly depends on how it answers the needs preliminary defined by those who should benefit the most: customers and employees. It also requires the acknowledgement of technology as a mean to the common goal customer excellence is.

Being a trusted implementation partner for over a decade Acorel is devoted to having clients excel in Customer Experience. Therefore, as in time we observed abovementioned gaps between the intended outcomes of digital transformations and the results achieved, we developed our unique Acorel Approach. Based on our sense of accountability for the adoption of any intervention we contribute to, the Acorel Approach diverges considerably from the conventional approaches. Our approach mandatory starts with the discovery phase.  Discovery is all about creating alignment on the ‘why’ and the ‘value add’ of the intended transformation for customers, employees and business. With this approach we offer a full scope support throughout the entire End-to-End Customer Experience Transformation.

To meet up with our promise “to get clients excel in customer experience” we adequately provide our full scope support with competent professionals. Our domain and application experts provide in-depth support within a system and process scope. Embedment and progress are ensured by implementation and project managers with demonstrable track records.  Tangible added value in operational excellence and customer service management or business analyse and business process engineering come from our seasoned business consultants. Accompanied by the mandatory change management throughout the complete journey we jointly ensure the successful adoption of the transformation we support.

Judith Hekker

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