Inside Nuffield Health’’s digital transformation

Digital transformation has completely changed the customer journey for many sectors, granting businesses countless practical benefits.

Despite all that digitalisation has to offer, there are few digital teams that don’t experience reluctance from within their own companies on a daily basis.

Digital is too often seen as something that is done to the business, which costs money for things that are almost always intangible, and at the same time is not wholly owned by the business itself.

It is this feeling that digital teams must deal with before they can gain the support and funding to build successful projects.

Gaining a sense of ownership

We have found the key to overcoming this reluctance is building cross-functional teams for digital projects. Core members of each team must be in the room every step of the process.

Depending on the nature of the project, this can include members of human resources, finance, operations and those who communicate with customers on a daily basis.

For example, when developing a new front-end process for front desk services at a gym, decision-making must include everyone from the finance people who reconcile the money it generates to the front desk staff who will be using the new system on a daily basis.

Such a project would involve implementing an entirely new process within the business – the digital component simply being the method of delivery – so there needs to be input from those who will be affected by its implementation.

By adopting this methodology, all those affected will gain a sense of ownership over the project, allowing for a smoother implementation and therefore quicker and more meaningful results.

Defining innovation

The nature and scope of digital projects also need serious consideration. Digital teams are typically instructed to pursue “innovation” and so it’s worthwhile exploring what should be considered innovative in any particular context.

Digital projects are often overly ambitious or in areas that are only tangential to the business. Actually building unnecessary standalone apps or aiming to become the Facebook of whichever sector your company operates in could be considered the antithesis of innovation.

The most innovative projects are often the unsexy ones, working at the core of your existing business to digitise customer journeys and operational processes.

Digital teams need to build confidence in order to receive funding and support, and the easiest way to do so is often by building the very basic projects that can show clear benefits.

Projects like online booking, online payments and collecting data for marketing are examples that have worked for us as their impact is clear and benefits tangible.

Digital teams should always be focused on digitising the existing business, rather than inventing new processes and applications for spaces in which the company doesn’t currently operate.

Enabling online booking and payments in particular can have a tremendous impact on marketing, as they allow businesses to gather valuable customer data.

The more data organisations acquire, the more effective their automated marketing solutions will become.

In the context of health and fitness services, this starts with allowing members to book gym classes online.

As soon as that functionality exists, the company will know which members are taking which classes, and can tailor those members’ communications accordingly.

For example, if data indicates a member has booked zumba classes online, they can be automatically offered a discount on zumba classes when their membership is up for renewal.

Conversely, enabling online booking will also ensure customers don’t receive offers for classes that would be inappropriate, such as highly-intensive courses being offered to a customer who regularly attends physiotherapy classes.

Regardless of what services your company offers, the impact of smart, personalised marketing is undeniable. With this in mind, companies looking to gain more from digital should be driving as much engagement as possible through digital means.

The impact of digital transformation

Personal banking is a prime example of how big of an impact digital transformation can have on the customer journey. It wasn’t so long ago that banking was considered to be an incredibly painful process.

Nowadays, however, a majority of people handle most of their banking through an app or website, which has made the process incredibly agile and convenient.

>See also: 5 steps to making digital transformation a business reality

While most decision-makers in your company will be familiar with this, it’s surprisingly rare for people to draw the connection between the digital transformation that has already taken place in banking and the potential that digital transformation holds for their own sector.

The same was likely true in banking when the sector’s digital transformation first began. Whether executives understand the power and importance of digitalisation or not, its growth will not slow down.

With this in mind, digital teams must act as evangelists for digitalisation, pursuing digital projects that demonstrate value in a way that everyone, regardless of department, can understand.

Projects should focus on delivering tangible difference to the business through transforming foundational capabilities, and be implemented on a regular basis. By doing so, digital teams can ensure their projects are met with confidence, rather than reluctance.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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