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Digital Transformation

A Guide to Helping Your Digital Transformation Journey with Process Audits

Karel Žitný
November 23, 2022 | 11 min read
As companies grow, there is usually space for improvement in productivity, work effectiveness, and communication. When talking about improvement, we typically recommend to clients as a first step to starting company processes transformation that they instigate process audits.

Digital transformation is not just a trend

Digital transformation is not digitalization for the sake of “going digital” because it’s “trendy”. This is not how digital transformation should be viewed. When done correctly, there are many significant benefits for a business and there becomes a holistic level to approaching how you use and work with your data. We will discuss this approach in this blog post.

For any enterprise to become competitive in the digital world and enable growth, it is vital to transform not just the data or processes but also change the business model to create new market opportunities and revenue streams. Online environments and the increased number of digital customer touchpoints are generating volumes of data that can be further utilized to understand customer needs better and use such information for improved business results. Therefore, organizations nowadays need to be what we call “data driven”. And, in fact, even now, this may not be enough. We really like to help our clients become “data enabled”.

Your organization and business need to instill an internal data culture, which has to happen at all stakeholder levels, from employees to C-level executives, and encompass as much of the company as possible. Such data culture then enables everybody to make informed decisions based on data. If you are interested in learning more about data culture, Accurity, our data intelligence platform, recently put together a free, downloadable data culture infographic to help you out.

Key points to consider for digital transformation

The journey to digital transformation to enable growth will get easier with an internal process audit as a starting point. Such process audits help you identify gaps and the right steps to move forward with.

Process audits are needed in almost every company. At first, they can often be perceived as something very hypothetical. Still, for companies that implement such process audits, it results in many rewards that can impact the bottom line of the company, such as:

  • Increased efficiency

  • A better understanding of KPIs

  • Quality control

  • Quicker standard project delivery

  • Improved communication across the organization

To get you started with a process audit, the best strategy is to create a framework and roadmap for the audit’s stages. You first need to ensure you are ready, so in line with these key points to consider, it can be helpful to create a checklist of what must be done. Secondly, consider that a good framework can also be used as a template for additional audits. Thirdly, you then carry out the audit.

It is essential to monitor and measure the outcomes of the audit process to identify improvements and where the next stages in the digital transformation journey should focus for the best business benefits.

If you need guidance with the process audit, Simplity’s expert team is ready to give you such advice and deliver process audits for you.

What does a process audit consist of?

Starting out, it is always best to better understand the goals and then identify the relevant data and processes for audit. For instance, the basic goals might be to increase sales in new ways/channels using data automation and the streamlining of business processes.

We would then work with you over a period of time e.g., three to six weeks, to create a readiness assessment, analyzing the current state of your business processes and the functioning of the company so that you can plan for the opportunities:

  • Description of the current situation and vision

  • Identify use cases to increase sales

  • Check the readiness of processes, systems, and data for identified use cases

  • Identifying steps to achieve use cases while respecting the vision

  • Rough estimates to achieve identified use cases

Process audit schema for digital transformation | Simplity data intelligence professional services

Prerequisites for this stage, during the gathering of information, an auditor needs access to systems to describe what equipment is used e.g., software and hardware, the freedom to perform interviews with personnel so that there is an understanding of who is involved, and the provision of relevant data.

This leads to SWOT analyses and the creation of a responsibility assignment matrix (RACI). To increase sales in new ways/channels using data automation, we might identify opportunities for your website, such as creating a strategy for the website, implementation of a customer data platform (CDP) for cookies, introducing personalization, creating a single customer view, other marketing opportunities, and the possibility of developing traffic through better SEO. The SWOT analysis for a website might look something like this:

SWOT analysis for a website as part of a process audit | Simplity data intelligence professional services

During the process audit, Simplity follows a specific definition and methodology where we identify and map the following:

  • How processes are defined

  • How the process is executed

  • How processes are monitored

  • How are the processes improved

For each of the steps mentioned above, we have a set of questions that we ask and that need to be answered. Our process auditor often uses a predefined checklist that is adjusted based on the goals and situation of our client.

The result of this Q&A helps guide the recommendations for the roadmap to your success. One result of the process audit for a particular process might look something like the scorecard below:

Process audit scorecard and result for digital transformation | Simplity data intelligence professional services

As the questions are asked the answers are rated from doing it well, doing it okay but could need improvement, doing it badly, to doing it really badly (or not at all). Each section of Q&A (definition, execution, monitoring, improvement) then have their scores averaged to create the assessment of how well the process works within the company. These scores can also be averaged to give an overall rating. A lower score is good, and a high score means the process needs attention. So, in this particular example, the process needs attention as it has an overall score of 3 out of 4.

Identified opportunities and results

Based on the scores and identified gaps we are able to suggest recommendations for process improvements. Such identified opportunities are relevant to each category and may include tools, personnel, controlling, outputs, processes, KPIs to measure, etc.

An example of such a recommendation can be, for instance, a way to increase sales - the next best offer. Once identified and accepted, we can help by creating an algorithm (including reporting and A/B testing) with segmentation analysis. The algorithm would use customer and transactional data (such as goods that customers usually buy after the first purchase, visits to the site, and pages visited) to offer new and complementary offers relevant to the customer based on data inputs about the customer.

This has the opportunity to increase conversion rates and improve personalization of marketing campaigns, reduce customer churn, create customer loyalty, and increase revenue. The return on investment (ROI) would be justified through the increase in sales, revenue, and profit.

The list of identified opportunities is then discussed with the client, prioritized based on the feasibility and impact and the next steps can be agreed upon. Below is an example of such a plan.

Plan to increase sales using data:

  1. Description of the current situation and vision

  2. Identifying use cases to increase sales

  3. Readiness of processes, systems, and data for identified use cases

  4. Identifying steps to achieve use cases while respecting the vision

  5. Estimates to achieve identified use cases

Be flexible and ready to adapt, and don’t forget about scaling

Finally, you may need to change rapidly and pivot on demand based on the stages and outcomes of each process audit. Flexibility during your journey is paramount! It is usually essential to forge key partnerships with companies like Simplity, who can help you understand the journey and advise on, or even provide, the right tools for the job because all digital journeys require investing in the right software and technologies. And, importantly, these solutions must always be scalable to allow future growth.

Helping you on your digital transformation journey

For your digital transformation, you need to take a holistic approach to working with data, instill a data culture, and identify the opportunities and processes that need implementation.

If you or your organization needs help with your digital transformation, at whatever stage you are at – just starting out or needing specific help – get in touch with our consulting services or reach out to me: Karel Žitný on LinkedIn.

Karel Žitný
Data Solutions Director