Insights | By Howard Tiersky

What Is a Digital Transformation Agency? 

Businesses that successfully resonate with today’s customers often utilize the help of a specialized company to help navigate their digital transformation

These companies are called digital transformation agencies. If you don’t have one working with you now, this article will help you understand what they are, what they can offer, and why they can be so critical to success. 

WHAT CAN A DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION AGENCY DO FOR YOU?

Here are some of the reasons why you might want to hire a digital transformation agency, as opposed to trying to do it all yourself.

Provide outside perspectives. The agency you hire has probably worked with many other organizations. When you work with a company that has a wide breadth of perspective, it gives you a lot of knowledge and experience to draw on.
Offer frameworks and methodologies. A digital transformation agency should bring you a set of proven methods to help figure out what your customers’ greatest needs are, develop product concepts, assist with journey mapping, help you with IT modernization, and provide a new digital strategy.
Bring independent facilitation. It's a good idea to have someone experienced who can help facilitate conversations and decision making without having a stake in the internal politics that often come with transformation.
Act as an independent voice to top executives. Sometimes companies put more trust in the opinions of an outside consultant than they do in their own employees. This isn’t necessarily a positive thing, but it’s helpful to your agency who can provide external validation when driving decisions.
Knit together the cross-channel picture. Providing a great user experience across every touchpoint is important. This includes interactions on your website, mobile app, call centers, and in your stores. Your digital transformation agency can help you think about the whole picture and make sure all the pieces fit together to provide a consistent customer experience.
Help teams work better together.  Most organizations operate in silos. You may have dedicated teams for marketing, IT, sales, etc. That’s normal, especially for large organizations, but it can cause problems as well. Sometimes, each team is focused on their own piece of the puzzle instead of looking at the big picture.  Your digital transformation agency can help by facilitating communication, and identifying areas of improvements that will ultimately allow teams to work together better.

Expanding your team. You may have a bunch of designers, UX experts, and technologists, but usually their “day job” is sustaining your current operation, not transformation.  Oftentimes, a transformation requires a temporary surge of resources to accomplish its goals. Your digital transformation agency can help you by providing the additional resources you need to get things done and move forward in your transformation process. 

HOW TO PICK ONE

The best way to assess a potential transformation agency is to evaluate their experience and approach to supporting your company through each of these typical steps of a digital transformation:

Assess where you really are. How successful or unsuccessful is your brand in the marketplace? Where are you on your digital transformation journey? What's the quality of the components that make up your digital infrastructure?
Help you establish a vision. The agency should be able to facilitate the creation of your future vision, including activities such as research, ideation, and prioritization.
Find the gaps. Often the components of a new vision are not entirely unfamiliar. Why hasn’t your company already achieved these things? Usually it's because there are obstacles holding the company back from moving quickly towards its destiny.  A digital transformation agency can help you overcome challenges that are standing in the way of achieving your company’s vision—whether they relate to  technology, user interface, data or organizational resistance to change.

Craft a bold but implementable plan. It should offer a realistic timeframe with clear goals for each quarter and identification of the resources likely required. It should also identify potential risks and strategies to minimize them.

Build a case for change. They should be able to build both the financial and emotional case for change to help others understand the value of transformation.

Figure out how to organize the teams and their work. Your agency should be able to recommend how best to organize various groups to accomplish the work needed, assess whether or not additional roles are required, and can help develop systems of governance and accountability to track work as it progresses.
Define clear goals and measure them honestly. Your agency should work with you to ensure your transformation has very well defined and understood target outcomes and methods to evaluate progress against them each step of the way.
Accompany you on the journey. A digital transformation agency should be your partner from strategy all the way through to business victory. They should be ready to be “in it” for the long haul and share accountability for success of the transformation.
Recognize problems quickly and deal with them right away. The agency needs to be able to help you resolve problems quickly. The reality is, when going through a digital transformation, there will be problems. It’s never easy, but the agency is there to support you when you encounter those issues, whether it's politics, budget, technology, or any one of a hundreds other possible potholes.
Be fun to work with! The agency team should be people that you enjoy working with. After all, you could be working alongside them for years.

THEY ARE THERE TO HELP, BUT THEY NEED YOUR HELP TOO

When hiring a digital transformation agency, you’re not bringing them on to do something for you, or to you, but with you. 

No matter how much you pay them, they can’t do it without your active involvement and collaboration because you and your colleagues know your company best. You will always understand your brand, teams, customers, and products, better than an outsider. 

Ultimately, your company must own the outcome. Digital transformation agencies can help create the plan for you to follow. But, you will have to approve their plan, and whether it leads you to a successful transformation will largely depend on your organization’s determination to see it through.

I’m a big believer in digital transformation—so much so that I built a business around it. I founded FROM - The Digital Transformation Agency, to help companies navigate their transformations. Reach out to me on LinkedIn if you would like to talk about how my company can help with your digital transformation.

Many of the points that I talk about here are covered in greater depth in my Wall Street Journal bestselling book, Winning Digital Customers: The Antidote to Irrelevance. The book contains a lot more detail about the actual digital transformation methodologies and techniques that have been proven to work by many successful companies and which you can apply in your own business. Download the first chapter for free at https://WinningDigitalCustomers.com.
Get FREE access to the first chapter of FROM`s
Wall Street Journal Best Selling Book

WINNING DIGITAL CUSTOMERS


  • Learn the three patterns of all successful digital brands (including companies like Apple, Netflix and Uber).
  • Understand why many great new products fail, and the formula for building products that won’t.
  • Discover the key reasons companies resist change and how to overcome them.
Get FREE access to the first chapter of FROM's
Wall Street Journal Best Selling Book

WINNING DIGITAL CUSTOMERS


  • Learn the three patterns of all successful digital brands (including companies like Apple, Netflix and Uber).
  • Understand why many great new products fail, and the formula for building products that won’t.
  • Discover the key reasons companies resist change and how to overcome them.