Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Dodging A Digital Downturn

We all see the signs of a potential economic downturn on the horizon. There are no dumpster fires right now, but you can see signs of nervousness. Like it or not, uncertainty will impact all our organization’s digital efforts. It means that we will all have our outcomes tied to the kind of business outcomes that companies desire. If we want our digital initiatives to progress, regardless of their progression, we need to tie them to the best possible results from a business perspective. Here are the five desired outcomes that seem to appeal most to executives.

Increasing Revenues

The typical digital projects around revenue attract more prospects to your organization’s products and services. It usually includes adding compelling new digital channels and mechanisms to attract multiple generations increasing the sales funnel. Another primary stream is around speeding the progress of the prospects through the sales funnel by automating portions of the sales cycle. Care must be applied to not irritate prospects or add onerous tasks to sales professionals. Digital initiatives are often aimed a cross-selling/ upselling existing customers that are likely to accept offers.

Decreasing Costs

Often digital initiatives are aimed at cost reductions, and they usually deliver through various forms of automation and fast feedback from operational processes. Additional benefits can be gleaned by adjusting decisions and rules that govern/direct organizational processes and tasks. Adding more intelligence to processes and tasks is often another way to decrease costs by assisting or reducing the human resources necessary to complete work. The issue in cost reduction will be around competing with other efforts and expected rates of returns your executives expect. Linking silo efforts is a best practice for savvy organizations.

Reducing Risk

Preventing loss is a popular approach to justifying efforts. It can range from making sure your organization's actions comply with existing rules and regulations, planning responses to emerging threats, or taking proper advantage of apparent opportunities. Initiatives that bolster risk avoidance are always popular with executives making critical decisions often. Moreover, preventing loss is constantly on the mind of executives, so efforts to reduce any risk appeals.

Attracting/Keeping Customers

Initiatives that identify prospects by offering them a better experience for less money always attract investment. The more subtle efforts revolve around keeping the customers you already have. These days customer loyalty is not a given, so initiatives that help measure the voice of the customer scientifically and assist meaningful customer engagement are highly prized. It may be listening to your interactions with a customer looking for key phrases to indicate potential churn, customer satisfaction, promoter potential, etc. It may include watching the actual interaction over video channels as well. Some of the best feedback comes from employees on the front line working with customers. Adding new customers is one of the highest cost activities for organizations, so investments are needed.

Attracting/Keeping Employees

The days of employer intimidation are waning now, so attracting and keeping employees crucial for success is a more significant issue than ever. Savvy organizations are taking a new look at their processes and tasks for better treatment and leverage of employees. It may include more digital assistance for knowledge workers, but it includes removing friction from integrating silo systems and eliminating mindless tasks. Keeping employees requires creating a worker-friendly and trustworthy culture. Indeed, hybrid work environments help employees have more freedom, which is a minimal level of support. Digital initiatives can be used to gather input from employees to avoid things like we are experiencing today with the "great resignation."

Net; Net:

If the present nervousness is just a temporary phenomenon, rechecking how our digital efforts contribute to significant business outcomes is a great exercise. If more uncertainty emerges, linking to primary business outcomes will become a survival technique. If executives decide to pull back on digital initiatives, we will have to make sure key digital initiatives progress even if they become a lower priority. Remember that executives have to think they will beat their investment hurdle rate if they continue to invest in your digital projects. Knowing the hurdle rate for your organization or industry would be essential to understand when justifying digital projects. Keep in mind that digital initiatives that deliver a multitude of the five will get more support even in downtimes.


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