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Kickstarting Digital Transformation

Tony Nappi

Now that pay-TV providers recognize the importance of digital transformation, they are starting to acknowledge that a company-wide approach is necessary for success. We discussed the drivers and challenges as part of the first blog in this series, "Embracing the Digital Transformation."

As MVPD decision makers give the "thumbs up" to begin transformation efforts to boost customer satisfaction, reduce costs, empower customers and help consumers go "digital-first," it is fundamentally important that they properly organize and initiate these efforts across their companies. IBB has identified three principles to guide a successful digital transformation.

  • Ensure strong governance is in place to provide effective leadership and symbiotic cross-functional planning;

  • Define a clear vision that the company can rally around and consistently focus efforts towards; and

  • Organize critical pillars to enable the essential digital experiences, shift customer behavior and, ultimately, transform the company.

Establishing strong governance
A successful digital transformation will produce change throughout the entire organization. New capabilities will be developed that will change both employee and customer behavior, with ripple-down operational and financial effects. Consequently, executive buy-in and sponsorship at the senior-most level are critical to infuse a sense of urgency and momentum throughout the organization.

While this is a shared company-wide transformation, there should ultimately be one executive responsible for the overall program. Ideally, this "owner" would be someone with at least a 51% vote who can be the final decision maker and be held accountable for managing convergent planning and execution.

Besides executive sponsorship and a clear owner, cross-functional alignment must be established early in the process. Multiple teams will be diverting resources and efforts toward the transformation, making it critical to align all efforts. To be truly effective, the digital transformation must be a priority across the entire company.

One vision, one path
Once the proper executive sponsorship and company-wide support have been established, teams must have a clear, consistent understanding of the goals. Defining the overall vision and scope early on is crucial for ensuring that all efforts support the transformation’s long-term objectives. It is also critical that executive leadership help evangelize the message top-down throughout the enterprise to make sure that the vision permeates effectively and the required commitment is in place.

Further, in support of the new vision, clearly defined KPIs should be documented, projecting targets for several years. Teams should know the key drivers of the overall transformation, as well as the individual specific functions needed to achieve the expected results and objectively measure success.

Building critical pillars of success
With the proper governance and vision in place, the organization must be effectively mobilized. By their very nature, digital transformations will span multiple groups that must work together to deliver the vision. IBB has found that focusing teams around the following three key pillars can support a successful digital transformation:

  1. Enablement: Teams focused on building the digital functionality;

  2. Adoption: Teams focused on changing employee and customer behavior to use the digital experiences; and

  3. Transformation: Teams focused on reshaping the company to maximize benefits.

Enablement: The first requirement for digital transformation is to build the digital experiences. MVPDs should focus on balancing digitization of existing manual transactions and enabling differentiated experiences. This is a golden opportunity to design ideal customer journey maps to make sure that optimized and innovative experiences are built with a customer-centric lens. By prioritizing the digital experiences, pay-TV providers can develop short and long-term roadmaps that address quick wins and foundational pain points while delivering enhanced, omni-channel experiences aligned with the vision.

Adoption: "If you build it, they will come" is not necessarily true for MVPDs considering digital transformation. For decades, the only support option for customers was to place a phone call. Whether ordering a new service, managing an existing service or reporting an issue, they had to call customer service. As new digital features and functions are enabled, proper training and communication are needed to drive both employees and customers to think "digital first."

Employees must know and understand these new experiences to properly socialize and advocate benefits to consumers. Likewise, customers need to know that new digital functionality is available, and in most cases, their typical patterns of calling first may no longer work best. Such change requires analyzing customer segments and developing marketing and communications tactics that can be executed at appropriate trigger points to shift behavior towards digital.

Transformation: As the transformation process progresses, a virtuous cycle is created as more features are enabled, and more customers begin to adopt them. Company-wide changes can be made and policies implemented to encourage or even require digital interactions moving forward. Likewise, as calls begin to diminish, resources and facilities can shift to focus on more white-glove experiences, or greater technical challenges. There are multiple levers that can be pulled, in alignment with the long-term vision and KPIs that the company is seeking to achieve.

The digital kickstart
Due to the age of the telecoms business and the many legacy networks, services and solutions that must be maintained, pay-TV providers are not inherently digitally native. As they fully embrace digital transformation, it will ultimately change the way employees and customers interact on every level. As part of the process, transformation leaders should properly rally and organize the entire corporation behind the program. The process can only succeed with the entire weight of the organization behind it, adding momentum to the snowball with each passing subscriber interaction.

This blog is the second in a multi-part series from IBB Consulting Group.

— Tony Nappi, Principal Consultant, IBB Consulting Group

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A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.

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