This is part 2 of a 2-part series exploring 2018’s greatest organizational challenge: achieving digital excellence.

From communications to product to organizational efficiency, operating online involves significant depth of expertise. Digital channels and customer touchpoints extend beyond online to in-person and at home, widening the scope of understanding required to engage with customers.

To succeed, methodology matters. Human-centred design and lean and agile processes are essential because, with digital, we have the ability to learn from data and adapt quickly to current and evolving customer needs, and increasingly savvy customers are expecting more of the organizations they engage with, regardless of device or channel.

The breadth and depth of expertise extend across a wide variety of requirements phases and deep into areas of expertise, as we explored in part 1 of this series on achieving digital excellence. These areas include research, product strategy, interaction design, system architecture, build, launch and promotion, and continuous improvement.


Considering the scope of complexity from digital channels to customer engagement and from methodologies to the variety of areas of expertise, let’s take a look at the 8 most common organizational challenges which typically undermine digital efforts.

8 common organizational challenges

  1. Having limited competency in any specific area, where it is difficult to execute well and project team expertise is not deep enough to achieve best practices. This can increase cost significantly up front or over time and diminish value of products and services.
  2. Trusting a single vendor to have the capability of executive across all these multi-disciplined steps, each of which requires a high level of expertise.
  3. Taking a technical or engineering driven approach led by features-first and, at best, internal definitions of need, instead of taking a human-centred design approach which identifies user jobs-to-be-done and outcomes in order to align organizational goals and user needs.
  4. Effectively transitioning from research and strategy to product, bridging the gap between identifying an opportunity to improve customer experience or service delivery and how this is translated to service models and products that need to be delivered to capture this opportunity.
  5. Information architecture and interface design aligned to user mental models rather than feature lists and organizational requirements.
  6. Translating from design to code, with optimized and accessible front-end code that puts the user first, where typical engineering-team capabilities are strongest at the architecture and back-end, rather at layers where users interact.
  7. Continuous improvement, using the knowledge that can be gathered from every click and communicating with users on an ongoing basis to improve service and product.
  8. The ability to track performance, effectively run user tests and experiments, and then make the most effective decisions on where to spend ongoing resources to drive adoption and engagement.

Determinants of organizational success

Ultimately, success is determined by your organization’s ability to:

  1. Define an effective roadmap, meeting organizational and market needs.
  2. Execute at a high level across all stages of product and service delivery.
  3. Plan, scope, and evaluate systems that can make a measurable impact.
  4. Continuously improve across customer experience and service delivery efforts.

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