A digital transformation can be more challenging than ever with an ever-changing landscape to navigate. That’s why understanding some avoidable traps can help you through your next big initiative on the web by overcoming some difficult tasks.
I recently had the privilege of leading a presentation on the process of a digital transformation at the AMA Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL. It became apparent during our Q&A session that organizations were facing challenges in several big areas. Correlating this with recent experiences in discoveries we’ve had here at Unleashed Technologies, I thought targeting those items would be of high importance:
These items as major bullets seem simple enough as words on a website, but the nuances of staying disciplined in each of these items is an entirely different story. Each item presents different challenges and there are disciplined ways to work through each of them so you can maximize your investment in taking on your organization’s digital transformation.
The first and most important step in the digital transformation is to understand the core Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in which the website is tasked with accomplishing. This practice itself is actually difficult when you are forced to differentiate what the expectation of performance is from the actual effort itself. Websites are frequently built with perceived or assumed KPIs. However, these KPIs may not be constantly referenced which results in the new website’s inability to meet those metrics due to a lack of focus.
A second challenge with KPI setting is when a company will set too many KPIs or include KPIs that are more of what a Key System Attribute (KSA) should be. While considering these two serious challenges, we need to take the following “make sense” actions in order to ensure that an entire group of stakeholders can be on the same page:
Ultimately, we want as few KPIs as possible that help the company fulfill its mission online. The fewer KPIs that are outlined results in a more focused website and increases the likelihood that the site can meet its objectives.
The easiest way to differentiate these two items is to provide very simple definitions for each. A KPI is a strategic goal you expect your website to accomplish. A KSA is a tactical item that helps accomplish the KPI. Here are some examples:
There can be any number of KSAs that contribute to meeting the KPIs which are limited in number. In these examples I am defining how shorter load times between pages can convert customers on your retail website faster and automated renewals can help lower attrition in your membership.
Lastly, stick to the KPIs you designate as a benchmark for success. It is incredibly easy to be lured away in the discovery process from what’s actually valuable to your visitors. Having structured KPIs helps to keep rogue features, initiatives, or pet projects out of your Minimally Viable Product (MVP).
Minimally Viable Product (MVP) can be a scary term for many executives and directors. The name itself implies less of a product as opposed to more, but the term itself is counter intuitive. Embracing an MVP model on your new web initiative will actually give you more of a product and allow you to do enhancements throughout the year based on trackable data as opposed to assumptions. Depending on your maturity in truly understanding the web space for your organization, you’ll find that most of the decisions people make are “best guesses” to what they believe the visitor needs or wants in your web presence. You take that guess and try to balance it against the KPIs of the website. Building an MVP checks the boxes in a couple big ways:
The more data we have to analyze, the better those refined features in your website will be as they are met with excitement by your new and returning visitors. It’s important to remember that the more mature your organization is, the larger your MVP may be. If you make sure to stick to that program, it will help the website perform much better. With an MVP in place, it’s time to show the outside world you’re committed to their experience through continual refinement. It’s at this juncture where we extend our investment.
The good news about the modern web landscape is that through time the world has come to the realization that a traditional project scope doesn’t really meet consumer expectations anymore. The web is fluid and always in motion. Each time something new is realized or another breakthrough in user experience comes to fruition, the bar is raised with relation to visitor expectations of your own web property.
By maintaining your KPIs driven by your KSAs and focusing on a strong MVP, we are now able to make sure that we are keeping up with the ever changing landscape of the web. Several major areas require our attention and focus. First is features based on our review of data and learning through management of the website. Second, is the introduction of new practices, technologies, and breakthroughs that we need to interview as valuable to the company itself.
The general shelf life of a website is dramatically reduced when regular enhancements are not made to the site. It doesn’t just technically fall out of date but does so from a design/user experience perspective as well. By following what we at Unleashed Technologies call a growth driven model, companies are able to apply new features, enhancements, and adjustments for the visitor experience and to make sure that the platform stays technically sound throughout its existence.
In our growth model, you have a batch of time set aside each month for constantly improving your website. This model allows you to show continual change to your visitors, remain relevant to stay ahead of your competition, and have a predictable annuity that your company can use to plan. Managing these major items will drastically increase the value of your web properties and keep the company moving forward in a way that’s ready for the next big thing. Simply put, your website is a tool for whatever your organization’s mission is and it should be well minded at all times. Taking this sensible approach helps everyone to view it as a critical component to your organization’s long term success.
We are always available to provide any guidance we can on how to get the most out of your web properties. If you have any questions or thoughts, please do not hesitate to contact us.
410.864.8980 Ext. 103.