by Peter Bendor-Samuel

CIOs must undertake digital initiatives, even the hard parts

Aug 05, 2016
CIOTechnology Industry

Putting the value of digital projects in the perspective of customers.

hiring chief digital officer
Credit: Thinkstock

As businesses today face ever-increasingly competitive markets, many react by trying to leverage the new opportunities from digital technologies. In fact, the world is awash in digital technology offerings. But many businesses don’t reap the anticipated ROI of their digital investments. Very few make real changes to a company’s competitive situation, customer experience or employee experience. Why not?

It’s because the company forgets to keep value in mind while implementing the digital project — and value can be considered only from the perspective of the experience of external customers and internal business users. When we’re talking digital, “simple” and “complete” describe the value experience to customers. But simple and complete are really hard to do.

Let’s look at these two characteristics of really effective digital experiences.

  • Simple – This means that it’s obvious how to use the digital product or solution; it’s easy to use and requiring little to know or learn in order to use it.
  • Complete – This means that once the user goes through the app or procedure, there is nothing left to do. The user doesn’t need to initiate a call to someone else or have to go to some other department in order to complete the experience.

Apple iPads are an example of a truly powerful digital experience. You can get an iBook immediately on your iPad, and it’s ready to read. It’s a simple, complete experience. 

Just as you can’t win a game of lawn croquet without propelling your ball through all the wickets, companies developing digital experiences must also go through all the design “wickets” to ensure value. Two of the digital “wickets” are the focus on making it simple and complete.

Consider the money and the time Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple and other consumer products giants spend to make their products simple and complete. Digital technologies make things simple for users, but for the company developing products and solutions, it’s hard to do. And expensive. But essential for ROI.

Without spending the time and money to go through the wickets for simple and complete, the end result will be ineffective in capturing the return on the digital investment. CIOs need to make sure a digital initiative creates changes to a company’s competitive situation, customer experience or employee experience.