Digital Transformation remains high in the agenda of companies across the world and all industries. Available on the internet or with limited access through intranet applications, content integrated with back-office functionalities, commerce features, and custom workflows gain significant popularity, exposing an increasing number of services, supporting organizations’ digital strategies and business plans.
Technologies, platforms, and tools have grown and matured substantially, allowing faster and easier implementation and deployment cycles, providing rich-featured environments, interconnectivity, enterprise levels of performance and availability, accessible in the past only to big corporations with large teams, huge budgets and long planning periods.
Continuously monitoring the evolution of our profession and the progress of Technology and Marketing, the main pillars behind Digital Transformation all over the world, we have identified 5 core components that you need to grasp, evaluate and apply in your strategies and plans moving forward 2020:
1. Experience-driven strategy
Starting from the Experience-driven strategies, it’s more obvious than ever that User Experience plays a significant role in the success of Digital Transformation projects, since it affects qualitative and quantitative elements, influencing implementation time plans, teams collaboration, user satisfaction, business goals' accomplishment, budgets, brand loyalty and many more.
Therefore, Experience strategy should start early in the project lifecycle, researching the application on target user audiences, identifying personas, their needs, goals, and ideal user journeys, preparing UX deliverables such as wireframes and user flows, feeding UI and Development teams, working together with Copywriting teams, validating ideas through User Testing sessions, optimizing through user monitoring and traffic analyzing tools.
2. Design System-driven design
It’s been a long time since we started designing in detail every single application, page or layout, including all controls and fields. Actually, we designed them in multiple dimensions, in order to support desktop, mobile and tablet devices. All controls, input fields, tables, grids, menus, error messages, media containers are drawn pixel by pixel, in order to get signed off before they move to code implementation. This was a very time-and-effort consuming phase, with many reviews and risks.
The modern and efficient way of designing User Interfaces these days is to design a library of user interface components that can be reused across many pages/templates. Starting from a mood board depicting brand colors, typography, icons, and graphic elements, we build a Design System consisted of simple, stand-alone or complex, combined UI elements, multi-step user journeys, images, language, and content tone of voice and guidelines, even technically implemented, ready to include working UI controls.
3. Microservices-driven architectures
Monolithic platforms are powering most of the applications we use every day. Our favorite News portals, preferred eShops, our e-banking and all ERP or CRM systems supporting the world’s business processes, are implemented based on architectures that integrate data, functionalities and user interfaces, building single codebase applications, that are hard to be maintained, upgraded, deployed and scaled.
Big service players like Amazon, Spotify, and Netflix, build their applications on microservices architectures, the new standard in application development. Autonomous UX/UI/Dev/Infra teams working - sometimes - on different technology stacks, create fine-grained, loosely coupled, end-to-end, microservices implementations that accelerate new features introduction and continuous deployment.
4. Agile and Product-driven development
A long time ago, applications were implemented in sequential phases, using waterfall project management methodologies and well-defined, early-agreed, detailed requirements that were hard to change or get extended. Projects were running for several months on signed off specifications that in most cases were obsolete and ready to be replaced, long before their launch date.
The new thing in project implementation is to consider them as digital products that can start small, delivering value to their users very fast and continue to grow forever, driven by current real business needs. Teams consisted of product owners, scrum masters, business analysts, UX and UI designers, engineers and testers, create feature backlogs, set priorities and progress project execution in sprints.
5. Omnichannel digital journeys
Online applications, although their significance, is only a single component of the multi-step, multi-device customer journey. Therefore, an effective and omnichannel approach should incorporate a larger set of digital touch-points, such as social media, online advertising, search engines, email marketing, direct messaging and more.
Awareness, engagement, lead generation, sales, whatever is the goal of our digital strategy, our tactics have to integrate all available channels and practices in well-orchestrated marketing automation workflows, able to follow complex customer journeys, identify users and intentions, provide personalized experiences that create memorable moments, fulfill their needs and move them deeper to well-defined conversion funnels.
Digital transformation is not easy; it is not hard, but it is definitely exciting, can grow your business and is going to stay with us for a long time. You should start exploring it.