Does your organization have a Digital Transformation Success Architect (DxSA)? Someone dedicated to improving business process, advancing the use of technology, and committed to delivering the highest ROI and user adoption? If not, you definitely should and perhaps you're the person for the job! But how do you go about it? What does it take to be a DxSA?  

It starts with something we all have - curiosity. Curiosity about what makes a process work or not work, what tools exist to make a process easier and faster, and how can you measure improvement with indicators that matter most to the business? Keeping a curious and open mind will provide the foundation as you go through the areas below and develop your DxSA skill set.  

DxSA Tool #1: System Knowledge - Get to know the basics about the industry leading tools for a given process

Let’s start by adding some system knowledge to your tool belt. You don’t need to be a developer but the more you know, the more valuable your input will be when selecting new systems or evaluating existing ones. So how do you get to know the basics?  

Cloud systems usually have free trials or “developer only” instances that you can log into for free. Sign-up for free trials and “test” environments and go through the basics. By logging in, navigating to the different parts of the application, viewing out-of-the-box reports, and just getting a feel for the overall use of the system is a good place to start. Contact the company and ask for a walk-through of their functionality. Be sure to ask what makes them different than the competition and why people like their product. Try to stay as objective as possible when going through the various platforms and applications. We can all become enamored with an application’s interface but make sure you dig as deep as possible into things like APIs for integration, depth within the various modules, industry focus, partner community, and cost.  

DxSA Tool #2: Metrics - Have 3-5 key reports/dashboards that will measure the good and the bad of a given process

Now that you know about systems and tools, let’s talk metrics. These are the numbers, charts, and graphs that tell us how we’re doing. Are things working better, faster, more efficiently? Are we saving time? Are we helping the bottom line or adding to it? Are we creating safer, more effective products and services for our customers? Each area of a business is going to have certain metrics that matter most. In Sales, things like Cost of Customer Acquisition (CoCA), Revenue, and Gross Margin are pretty standard where Service looks at things like Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), Net Promoter (NPS), First Contact Resolution (FCR), and Cost per Call/Contact. Whatever the process, a good DxSA comes to the table with industry metrics and KPIs to measure success. Without them, you’re left with subjective thoughts and ideas about how things are going that won’t hold up with management who are funding and supporting your projects.   

Pictures can be more powerful than lines on a report so make sure you’re using charts and graphs to show performance within a certain group, trending over time, and progress towards a goals. Show multiple graphs together to show an overall picture of the business or process. With metrics, you want to tell a story, not just provide numbers. There are many types of charts and graphs so try to use the right type that provides a powerful picture of exactly what’s going on.  

DxSA Tool #3: Ask the right questions because sometimes, a great question is the best answer  

While functional expertise is nice, it's not a "must-have" in order to break down and fine tune a process. The key is asking the right questions. Below are three questions you can ask a process owner to dig in a bit and get started on digital transformation:  

  1. "How do you measure how well the process is working?" This question will tell you a ton. If the process is being measured, you'll learn the steps, the tasks, the players, and the end goal. If it’s not being measured, that’s your chance to ask why and then define the metrics for success.
  2. “What are the costs and time involved for the process to run start to finish?” As nice as it would be to know that a process costs $1,267.87 and takes 8.21 days to finish, it’s not always that exact and in most cases, we don’t need it to be. A ballpark cost and time estimate is enough to gain valuable insight. For cost, ask what systems are involved and if they’re license based, how much is each users license? If the systems are not licensed, it’s more about time so try to figure out how many people have to put in how many hours to complete the process. Multiply that number by a reasonable hourly cost and you’ll have your cost. Now, as a DxSA, you have a baseline to go after and improve. 
  3. “What is about the process that works? What doesn’t?” I know this might seem like an obvious question, but the trick is not just asking one person. You need to ask different users at different stages of the process to truly understand what’s going on. A person at the beginning of the process might think things are great because they have a good amount of automation but a person further down the line might feel the process is too time consuming because it’s mostly manual.  

With these tools, you’ll be a key asset to any business. While the DxSA is a relatively new role, it’s now more critical than ever with almost every company doing some type of Digital Transformation (Dx) and almost everyone is struggling to make sense of all the technology options, process questions, and means to measure success. Were any of us hired to be a DxSA? Likely not, but service companies are ramping up to provide this expertise to companies that don’t have this resource internally. Become one, hire one - whatever it takes to make sure that someone is doing these things within your organization. Know the systems, take a fresh look at processes, and show valuable pictures (charts/graphs) to tell a story and define a path to success.


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About the Author

Bryan Coddington is the Vice President of Cloud Technology at USDM Life Sciences. For almost a decade, Bryan has been a senior executive in the Cloud space with in-depth knowledge of sales, marketing, and service and support processes and best practices, helping companies maximize their investment in cloud-based CRM applications.

About USDM Life Sciences

USDM Life Sciences is a global life science and healthcare services company, providing strategy and compliant technology solutions to regulated industries. If you work in Life Sciences or Healthcare, partnering with USDM Life Sciences makes it easy to accelerate innovation and maximize productivity. USDM Life Sciences only focuses on regulated industries and has built trusted partnerships with the most innovative technology companies in the world, and boast a staff of industry leading experts in the areas of technology and compliance.

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