Marketers are adding to or overhauling their technology stacks, media and channels have proliferated and people and processes have had to adapt.

This is the root of the need for digital transformation.

But is the talk of agile change just lip service? What is it? And what are its benefits?

Off the back of roundtable discussions at our Digital Cream events, we write up trends reports detailing current obsessions within a particular discipline.

Last week we published People and Process: Agile working, collaborative tools, social enterprise and cloud-based marketing tech, in association with censhare.

A big title for a burgeoning issue in digital.

Phil Arnold, censhare UK MD, sums up the mood of the discussions around this nebulous topic:

Some [companies] are more advanced than others, having broken from functional silos to implement an integrated marketing approach and using processes and tools to improve their collaboration, agility and transparency.

However many are still frustrated by a lack of digital ‘buy-in’ from senior management or a fear factor engendered by lack of skills or education.

In short, the balance of people, process, tech and culture is a difficult one to strike.

Here is some of what delegates had to say.

How are businesses defining agile?

A move to social business

Social business is the engagement of the customer in product development and the company as a whole. This helps to drive change and customer satisfaction.

Agile with a capital A (not waterfall)

Agile in the project management sense differs from waterfall's very linear approach to the stages of software development (conception, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing, deployment).

Agile sees incremental development stages with testing and market response occurring throughout the process.

waterfall

Using new communications technologies

Increasing the use of social and digital technology to support the flow of information in and out of the business and also around the business.

This could be using Slack to enable collaboration between teams, or Facebook Messenger to serve customers.

slack

More bottom-up approaches to the business

More input from staff who work closer to the customer via rapid, concise weekly meetings. As opposed to the HIPPO effect (highest paid person's opinion).

Working with greater efficiency

Working quicker and in a more efficient manner. This isn't magic, but has to be engendered by empowering staff and changing processes and personnel.

What are the benefits of transformational agility?

Competitive advantage

To be at the forefront in order to stand out from the competition. This differentiation is often more than simply customer-facing factors.

Companies often seek to recruit the most talented staff, by promoting progressive values and investment in digital.

Rationalising of costs

Digital transformation as a way to save money and to cut down on wastage. For example, moving a publication online.

Making products hit the market sooner

Measuring in weeks and not months.

agility 

Business understanding

Teams which were once siloed are increasingly working together.

Weekly catch-ups bring staff together and give people a more comprehensive/top-level understanding of what the business is up to.

Responsiveness

Marketing and PR teams have the freedom to be more responsive and spontaneous.

This is ideal for jumping on trends and industry news.

Entrepreneurial behaviour

Teams have a clearer idea of who is responsible for what.

Developers have increased scope, which allows BAU to be more impactful on customer experience and product development.

scope 

Education = satisfaction

Education about new channels and other areas of the business leads to higher job satisfaction.

Newly gained skills improve efficiencies within the business but also expand individual job roles. Staff want progression.

More satisfied customers

With more channels open, and more time dedicated to hearing from customers, companies are delivering more.

Customers are in turn more satisfied, more engaged and more likely to provide repeat business. 

For more on the people and processes of digital transformation, read the following:

Ben Davis

Published 9 May, 2016 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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