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Helping Your Company Shift to a Digital-First Culture


Back in June 2018, our Chief Marketing Officer, Mark Floisand, presented at our annual customer conference. His message: digital transformation isn’t just a buzzword. Mark’s vision of true digital transformation meant equipping your customers, partners, and employees with the most relevant information at hand for an exceptional end-to-end digital experience. But first, you must focus on behaviour that can enable the shift towards a digital-first culture. Tony Colon of Salesforce, took to Forbes.com to write about the first steps that the c-suite should be taking to shift to a digital culture.

Tony Colon of Salesforce, took to Forbes.com to write about the first steps that the c-suite should be taking to shift to a digital culture. Tony outlines five characteristics that organizations need to embrace in order to really push that culture forward:

  • Customer-obsessed: Everything is about the customer, and all efforts and mindsets return to creating customer value.

  • Collaborative: People are empowered to execute via cross-functional, connected teams.

  • Responsive and agile: People create value by quickly learning and adapting to changes in processes, structure, strategy and technology.

  • Transparent and open: People feel safe to candidly share ideas, and leadership clearly communicates strategy and priorities.

  • Risk-taking and innovative: People understand that calculated risks — and learning from mistakes — fuel innovation.

All the points ring true — but number one is especially pointed. While looking to shift into a digital first mindset, you must keep your customer close to your heart with every change in mind. It’s no surprise — customers demand a personalized and relevant digital experience, and if they don’t get what they expect, don’t be surprised when they leave your site feeling frustrated. 74% of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content appears that has nothing to do with their interests..

Tony goes on to state that we have to think beyond “proclamatory” emails that are jam-packed with buzzwords but include little follow-up. Your organization needs to focus on building new cultural characteristics:

“Smart leaders approach building new cultural characteristics differently by focusing on desired behaviors and rewarding the new behaviors appropriately […] For instance, if you want customer experience to improve, you need to focus on it to shift your employees’ behaviors appropriately. Leaders need to model, acknowledge and recognize the behavior of asking how each decision being made impacts the customer experience in every meeting they attend and every conversation they have. […] As conversations happen, and acknowledgements of the correct responses are given, people across the organization quickly recognize that customer experience is now highly valued in the organization. People’s mindsets then shift, and they realize that the best way to have a valued impact in the organization is to focus on the customer. With every decision they make, they begin to ask how it impacts the customer. The behavior spreads, and a new cultural norm of customer focus takes root.”

Tony’s argument takes me back to Mark Floisand’s presentation on digital transformation that took place during Coveo Impact. While your organization’s culture is shifting, you must also be ready to have this digital-first mindset set to scale. Globally, less than one out of five CIOs have reported that they have yet to scale their digital business initiatives, and an even smaller minority have embraced AI to help them scale.  AI-powered search, AI-powered insights, and AI-powered predictions are all enablers of scale — and organizations need to start taking the power of these technologies seriously, or risk being left in the dust.


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