We live in a global digital economy where consumers can (and do) access over a billion websites, on an ever-widening variety of devices, and maintaining a range of digital outlets is the lifeblood of modern business. As such, the battleground for customers now firmly focuses on who can offer the best digital experience. Indeed, companies that deliver exceptional digital experiences outperform the stock market by a factor of three, while those who do not deliver have lost 34% of market value over the past five years.
Yet while resources in terms of time, money and people have been allocated to help drive digital growth, the same cannot be said of digital operations management. However, efficient digital operation management directly supports effective digital customer experience.
If overlooked, poor management of digital operations can, and will, lead to a myriad of costly issues, including putting reputations severely at risk. This happens when organisations fail to join the dots and see clear, actionable ways to implement digital operations management strategies.
> See also: How CIOs can plug critical gaps in IT governance
Encouragingly, we are beginning to see a shift in perspective starting to occur. Organisations are beginning to wake up to the reality that there is now a real need to fulfil the potential of digital operations ensuring they are efficient, deliberate in practice and measurable in order to maintain and improve customer experience.
Developing a structured and actionable strategy for digital operations management is becoming a necessity. However, there are three key areas that are most commonly overlooked when implementing a digital operations programme. By ignoring these, companies risk losing their competitive edge.
Misunderstanding digital governance
Digital governance is a term that is increasingly being used in the marketplace. Yet while there is currently a lot of talk about this topic, very few people are adopting an approach that exploits the insights that can result from monitoring adherence and compliance to digital governance. Many organisations will have now put in place policies and guidelines and even tools to assist with digital governance, however if these are not monitored then the effort made has been redundant.
For example, B2B sites are often the biggest channel for group level marketing. For any size of company, this is an outlet to be able to speak to journalists, customers, career finders and a multitude of different readers and it is essential that the material the user finds on the site is up to date and correct in order to maintain effectiveness and integrity as a leader within the industry that they are a part of.
Digital governance tools can be used to provide the safety net for B2B and corporate sites in monitoring that the messages they are intending to convey are on brand and accurate according to guidelines.
Even for the more digital governance aware organisations, data and report outputs from monitoring tools are often not understood or converted into actionable intelligence, leaving them with just a small fragment of the story.
There is a common misconception that digital governance is merely about who has the authority to add and remove content to websites and social media accounts, as well as having a chain of command in place to ensure no unauthorised activity takes place. Though this is key, having a roadmap that clearly defines roles and responsibilities for managing a digital presence is only one point in the triangle of governance.
Equally, if not more, important are monitoring that policies, standards and guidelines are being adhered to and then translating the resulting data combined with multi-sourced information into actionable and meaningful intelligence to continuously improve the digital presence and the management of the web estate.
What is absolutely vital in terms of driving change and achieving competitive advantage is recognising that governance is not just about implementing a framework to control digital processes, but realising the value of the information that implementing tools to monitor this can produce, and creating governance analytics to embed into the process.
Neglecting big data
Evaluating and reporting on organisations’ KPIs to highlight areas for improvement and inform future optimisation of the digital estate and its operation is, by majority, an untapped area that can give insights and help gain competitive advantage. Key to this is the ability to analyse data collected through multiple sources including that generated by governance tools, to give a big picture view on how digital operations are performing and ensure that digital processes are as efficient as possible.
For example, if a business has a very high error count on its website or sees a drop in its engagement within its analytics program, by tracking back through the multi source data to the root cause it can highlight where and why issues are occurring in effectiveness and then implement a structure for improvement in the efficiency of its operation.
It may be that a local branch of an organisation is not adhering to guidelines and that a firmer protocol is needed, or that a new member of staff has joined and is in need of some training. While these issues may seem simple, translating the available data to pinpoint them can be highly complex – a bit like searching for a needle in a haystack – unless you have the expertise and tools to do so.
Failure to train staff properly
Key to ensuring that processes are continuously monitored and improving, is implementing structured training. Client knowledge can be improved through formal training sessions, Q&A surgeries (for ad-hoc training) and master classes, each providing expert-level tuition on all or specific aspects of digital operations management.
What is important to highlight here is that this does not refer to just practical training in terms of how to publish content on websites. What also needs to be prioritised as part of the over-arching strategy is the need for on going training that focuses on context of their role and their responsibilities, not just content, and ensures that staff are being as efficient and effective as possible.
The content manager sitting in the investor relations team will have a different perspective to the content manager sitting in the careers team who also looks after the Events section. The needs of either of these people when it comes to training will be different. Their needs will also be different to the heads of their departments who will be asked by their organisation to think about delivering content through a new global website that the marketing team have procured.
Without the contextual training what often happens is either the responsibility for administering the different sections will fall back to the marketing team who will be stretched with their workload trying to maintain all channels successfully or the people in the different departments will not understand what they are trying to achieve as a part of the whole in using digital channels and do not utilise the digital estate to the breadth of capability it can provide for them.
Delivering competitive advantage
Organisations are standing on the threshold of a new era in driving even better customer experience through digital effectiveness. Improving digital operations management is absolutely vital to this and understanding how one’s web presence is being managed is not only possible, it is necessary for success.
A shift in perspective is needed from businesses, looking at digital operations management less as a means of just publishing content and more as a means to provide consistency within the digital estate – even at a global level and — unlock valuable intelligence and insight to drive and improve digital operations, and ultimately customer experience.
Those forward-looking organisations, that can see the intrinsic value of investing the time, resources and effort into implementing a new approach to digital operations management that encompasses the four key steps outlined earlier, will be the ones to ultimately profit from the very real business benefits such a framework can deliver. If digital experience is the new battleground for gaining competitive edge, then efficient digital operations management is a key tool in an organisation’s arsenal.
Sourced from Amanda Follit, head of digital operations services, Amaze