3 Steps to Get Your Digital Innovation Journey Started

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The overarching goal of the true omnichannel commerce experience has been to improve customer experience as a whole. The more consistent the customer journey across every touchpoint from initial marketing to purchase, the better the customer experience should be, and the more likely it is to lead to brand loyalty (in the best case scenario). However, it is not always apparent when planning innovative changes what that omnichannel experience entails, from a technological and organizational standing.

Today I want to talk about the stages a company must go through on the path to true digital transformation. From my experience, these are key points to understand when building your roadmap to omnichannel commerce. It’s easy for marketing or sales to ask for a very exciting and innovative platform, benchmarking off leaders in the industry, or conceptualizing new functions, without understanding the development challenges in implementation. I like to give an example of a duck – on the surface, its movement looks smooth and graceful, but below, its feet are paddling wildly. What we want to avoid, as a system implementer and professional and managed services provider, is to relieve some of that stress, by using our expert capabilities and experience in omnichannel commerce.

In my experience leading digital transformation projects, and now consulting for other organizations looking to progress, I have realized there are three major stages that most organizations will experience in their journeys. I call them Foundation, Distinction and Innovation. Ideally, an organization passes through all three in order to support a digital transformation journey that is sustainable, robust, and scalable. While I say there are three stages, it is also good to remember that Digital Transformation is a journey – not a destination. Also, each stage has its own customer experience “indicators” that define the stage – but what is more interesting to me, is how they get there. What are the organizational requirements for each stage?

I’d like to take you through three steps of creating an actionable plan towards moving from your organization as it stands today, to your next level of aspiration. Of course, if you ever have any questions, feel free to contact us for a consultation.


Step 1: A reality check or an honest audit of your organization

Instead of saying “let’s improve our customer experience journey”, you need to do a realistic audit and see where you are at today, and set up realistic goals for where you want to get next. Everybody wants to improve customer experience – but what do you already provide? Without honestly answering these questions, you cannot understand the current pain points to address and tackle before moving onto the next step. This table should help you determine where you are in your journey today.

Foundation Distinction Innovation
Customer Experience
  • Consistent and frictionless experience across channels
  • Multi-channel customer engagement program
  • Selling and shipping from any channel
  • Supporting multiple payment methods
  • Digitized stores (digital touchpoints, associates empowerment tools)
  • Dropship partner network / digital marketplaces
  • Advanced marketing automations / customer journeys
  • Highly customized, flexible and decoupled user interfaces
  • High customer intimacy through 1-to-1 personalization in the touchpoint interfaces; dynamic pricing, content, recommendations
  • Conversational commerce and chatbots
Organizational Requirements
  • Traditional IT organization and delivery model with low agile adoption, mainly an iterative waterfall approach
  • Monolithic system architecture
  • Centralized order management, product and customer data
  • Comprehensive fulfillment network and capabilities
  • Rich customer analytics
  • Pervasive commerce services (e.g. cart, pos)
  • High inventory accuracy, visibility and ability to move it across channels and geographies
  • Microservice based architecture enabling highly reusable services across channels
  • Infrastructure automation (DevOps)
  • Advanced big data, real-time analytical capabilities, including AI and machine learning
  • Digital organizations that are highly agile, innovative and experience centric
  • Advanced testing automation capabilities
  • Ability to deploy and test very frequent, small changes

Step 2: Identify where you want to go tomorrow vs. in 3 years from now

There’s a customer experience you want to provide, but underneath there are certain organizational requirements to provide this experience. Is your goal still realistic? Sometimes an organization can have great funky project ideas, but then fail, because they don’t have the data capabilities underneath. Can you work on improving your data capabilities tomorrow, to support an innovative strategy and growth over the next few years?

Step 3: Talk to a 3rd party expert

Ok, it doesn’t necessarily need to be me, or my organization, although we do have a great track record of helping companies improve their omnichannel experience.

The reason why I mention this step is that a 3rd party can help you get through your audit and determine your organizational requirements, then facilitate the actual plan so you’re not a duck, paddling at full steam below the water. That approach is not sustainable, and will not deliver an ROI if you’re always backtracking, fixing problems, and spending money to prevent the disaster below from appearing on the surface. With the help of a company like Tenzing, you can avoid these pitfalls by relying on our experience and knowledge to guide you through making the right choices. This includes implementing the right eCommerce and information management solutions for your needs, and consulting you on topics like change management, so you can achieve operational excellence with less pain.


If you found this blog useful, or have any questions around this topic, I’d like to invite you to come speak with me and my colleagues at IRCE 2018. We’ll be at Booth #563 to discuss your current strategies on how to take the next step in your digital innovation and transformation journey.

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Serge Rose

Digital Transformation Lead at Thinkwrap Commerce
Serge has spent the last decade helping retailers transform digitally, analyzing customer journeys, and building innovative customer-focused technologies. At Thinkwrap, he leads the efforts in helping organizations to better serve their customers digitally.

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