How Digital Transformation Impacts Software Development
Digital Transformations (DX) are typically big drivers of change and determining future direction in companies. They often modify or disrupt every part of an organization––and that is by design. Changes may be moving from on-premises infrastructure to fully in the cloud. They may be focused on taking advantage of online capabilities in ways your business never has before. Additionally, earning and revenue streams may be optimized and improved.
Make no mistake, everyone involved will feel the impact of these changes. They also come with significant software retooling and platform availability for applications being used. We often think about how these changes will have an effect on end users. Just as important is a question less frequently asked: How will this affect software organizations whose responsibility is software development in the first place?
Digital Transformation Means Increased Customer Experience
“Organizations as a whole have to evolve to manifest consumer-orientation throughout their customer-facing processes, and eventually in their end products.” –Source
What does “manifest consumer orientation” actually mean? To put it simply, DX projects are undertaken to help an organization’s bottom line. The goal of any organization is to be viable, make money, and be the choice for customers to return and be happy to return. This translates to a greater focus on Customer Experience (CX).
In 2016, high-tech B2B companies reported a cost reduction of 10% to 20% and revenue growth of 10% to 15% after digitally transforming their customer experience processes. The less friction and difficulty our customers face to do the tasks that they want or need to do. The more likely they will want to keep working with you.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given us a number of examples to consider. Just about everyone has seen or experienced the curbside pick-up of items in some capacity. I’ve gone out for food on a number of occasions and scanned the QR code on the table to receive either a menu or a self ordering app. What is the benefit of these? In short, it was driven by health concerns but some of these have transformed the way that businesses interact with customers, helping to make orders more rapid, more specific, and eliminating confusion or mistakes.
Doesn’t this sound great? On the surface, yes. It’s promising and exciting to consider the possibilities. However, the key consideration is that the software has to be made by someone, and if you are in the business of developing software, that software is likely to be coming from you.
More Software, More Problems
Enterprise Software spending is expected to increase 10.8% in 2021 compared to 2020 –source
Just having an app that customers can interact with isn’t enough. There are so many choices and the chance to abandon frustrating apps and experiences is relatively easy. To say the least, this is a frustration most companies don’t want to have to deal with. If your customers are external, lowered CX means the app gets uninstalled and they move on to the next one. 67% of consumers cite bad experiences as a reason for churn -source. Only 4% of unhappy customers complain -source. To put it simply, you may well lose market share or customer participation and not know why.
Even if your customers are internal to your organization, lower CX may mean lower adoption of the changes made. This may mean wasted money and lower overall productivity at best, and an addition of a frustrated and possibly hostile customer group at worst. This is why it makes sense to put our efforts into developing software effectively and with better quality for our customers
Building More Quality Into Our Software Products
While DX projects can seem daunting, there are ways to make sure that we get off on the right foot. It may seem like an obvious first maxim but it is vital that we put the customer first, and do our best to put ourselves in their shoes. As we develop products, we do ourselves a considerable service to consider how the software we are developing would be experienced by our users. If possible, actively use the software under development the way our customers would use it.
More to the point, try to set aside the preconceived notions we have about our software as much as we can. By doing this, and making an effort to see the product from our customer’s perspective, we will likely find things that bother us. If they bother us, they will more than likely bother our customers even more.
As a Software Development organization, there are many ways that we can help to streamline our development processes to help aid in DX. I will not make a sweeping statement that every organization will face the same challenges but there are key benefits to be had by adopting key Software Development principles. Having a robust system to deal with Continuous Integration (CI), Continuous Deployment (CD), and Automated Testing of new feature development will certainly help to make development more efficient and overall faster. By breaking up feature development into smaller pieces and to have the ability to test those features as the software is being built will aid us in deploying more frequently. This will also help us by lessening the risk of many changes happening at the same time. With infrastructure in the cloud and Software as a Service (SaaS) models, this level of CI/CD can be set up and achieved. Even if our organization doesn’t have this kind of delivery model (our software may be a mobile app or a desktop application that is not practical to release frequently) there is still a great benefit to having the capability to build and deploy often.
By moving to a model that automates many of the tedious setup tasks and examining common workflows, our organization can be more proactive in our development efforts, pushing the ability to test our changes sooner, run feature flags to determine if certain changes are beneficial or not, perform real time A/B tests to gauge interaction, and to monitor what happens with features after they have been released. By focusing on quality as early as possible, we make it possible to find problems earlier in the development cycle, remove many of the tedious and time consuming setup and configuration options, and also continue testing and improving quality by monitoring and gathering feedback from our customers after features have been released.
Seek Out Guidance and Expertise
DX projects by their nature are never completed, they are merely expanded and continued. The possibilities of what we can build, and the various ways we can go about building them, are endless. Of course, while our imaginations may be boundless, the capabilities we can bring to the table, here and now, may not be. That’s where we come in.
LogiGear Group offers world-class Software Development solutions aimed to capture the most value from your tech investment; check out our Software Development services today and see how you can be confident in the software we deliver, with a guarantee of data and security.
At the end of the day, every DX project is a people project. Our customers are people, whether they are people who we would like to pay us for our services (external customers) or people we pay specifically to do work we need done (internal customers). Our goal is to improve CX and to make our customers happy, whoever they may be and wherever they may be. We want them to be willing participants in the changes we plan to make, so let’s make sure we address their needs, put ourselves in their shoes, and get them to be excited about the changes we plan to make for them.