Digital Technology
May 18, 2018

DigitalOps: The link between digital and operations to deliver your brand promise

“Be big and fast and flexible." – Reed Hastings, Founder and CEO, Netflix

Winning in business is increasingly about speed and scale. How quickly an enterprise—or start-up—can deliver a great customer experience (CX) at scale separates the winners from losers. At the intersection of digital and operations, DigitalOps is focused on the “north star" of customer experience. Developing a DigitalOps core competency is the way companies will increasingly deliver on their brand promise and differentiate themselves in the market.

What is DigitalOps

Let's begin with definitions from leading industry analysts. Gartner defines DigitalOps as: “the 'process' center of your digital transformation, providing the coordination orchestration of systems and other resources. It incorporates mechanisms for sensing and responding, while potentially supporting dynamic learning and optimization."

At a high level, Gartner views DigitalOps as the beginning of a business discipline for increasing organizational agility. It encompasses a holistic set of methods and enabling technologies which are associated with how the firm delivers value via a digital platform in real-time.

While Forrester does not use this term, their recent research report, entitled “The Growing Importance of Process in Digital Transformation," discusses how customer journeys have become the major driver of process design. And Forrester states: “Seamless CX requires process leaders to take a more holistic approach, paying careful attention to both front- and back-end operations."

Their research confirms the primary focus of process improvement has evolved from cost reduction being the primary driver (two years ago) to improving CX (today) to accelerating digital business transformation (two years from now).

CX as new corporate battleground

DigitalOps is the key enabler for companies to deliver on their brand promise and differentiate their firm. Let's look at Netflix as an example. Originally a mail order movie CD provider, Reed Hastings and team have digitally transformed their business to build a compelling streaming service with over 125M subscribers and a market capitalization of over US$140 billion. Correspondingly, their corporate vision has evolved to “becoming the best global entertainment distribution service."

Netflix is a company with a DigitalOps core competency enabling them to create a great consumer experience at scale. Other enterprises need to learn how to build and leverage their DigitalOps to generate similar compelling experiences for their employees, partners and/or end customers.

The analyst firm HfS states: “Creating an engaging customer experience is more readily achieved by embedding increasingly sophisticated digital and cognitive technologies into the very fiber of an organization's processes, from its front office right through to its back office."

Yes, companies striving to win in today's marketplace recognize they must reimagine entire customer journeys. Just like Netflix did. These are the end-to-end processes that customers experience in getting the product or service they need, across whatever channel they would like. And in order to scale, business operations are becoming increasingly digital and real-time in nature.

Successful companies must be agile, leveraging the power of real-time data to enhance their effectiveness and predict customers' needs faster than their competitors. DigitalOps enables them to not only act on those predictions, but, more importantly, to deliver on their brand promise.

Challenges and next steps

Process automation is the lifeblood of digital transformation, but companies are challenged to coordinate and automate interactions in real-time with customers. In addition, companies struggle to connect the needed changes in business and operating models to their process-centric execution models and operational platforms. Lastly, companies are challenged to build greater visibility into how they are performing during customer journeys and to dynamically reconfigure processes, as needed, in order to better deliver their brand promise.

McKinsey, Bain and PWC have all written on how to go about transforming operations in an increasingly digital world. Company recommendations for next steps include:

  • Experiment on how to shorten and evolve business product offerings by reconsidering your approach to business processes
  • Prioritize quick wins that improve alignment across initiatives using intelligent business process management software (iBPMS), robotic process automation (RPA) and advanced analytics
  • Sell the benefits of using process-centric models and technologies to drive digital transformation in operations to your executive team
  • Look for a service provider partner with deep digital and operational expertise who has helped companies in your industry develop DigitalOps capabilities 

DigitalOps will enable your company to be, in the words of Reed Hastings, “big and fast and flexible." This competency will enable your company to create compelling customer experiences at scale and to deliver its brand promise. Get started now because your customers are demanding it.

About the author

Dan Glessner

Dan Glessner

Vice President, Digital

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