Making the case for digital transformation

Companies are seeing the growing need to become more digital — now is the time to get everyone on board


9 minute read

Key takeaways

  • It’s critical to use hard data to demonstrate to senior leadership the ROI of meeting the needs of a more digitally savvy marketplace
  • Digital transformation can translate to a better customer experience and higher employee retention rates
  • Embracing digital can also help you reduce costs and become more efficient

Whether it’s boomers and seniors finally embracing digital banking, or consumers figuring out how to use QR codes, the global pandemic has galvanized digital transformation across almost every industry. In fact, 97% of enterprise decision-makers say COVID-19 sped up their digital transformation.1 But even in the face of unprecedented digital adoption, transforming your business through technology isn’t one-size-fits-all, and leadership buy-in is rarely a rubber stamp.


Each company is on a unique digital journey and stakeholders need to understand the value proposition from many angles. And regardless of whether you’re addressing a formal board of directors at a multinational company or the owners of a family business, the key to securing support from company leaders is to provide real data and metrics that focus their attention on three critical drivers: improving the customer and employee experience, increasing efficiency and attracting and retaining top talent.


Improving customer experience in a tech-driven world


It’s no secret that business longevity has been declining at a rapid rate. In 1965, a company’s lifespan on the S&P 500 was 33 years on average, but that’s forecast to shrink to below 20 years by the end of this decade.2  


To stay relevant in this fast-paced environment, today’s companies must prioritize and improve customer experience. “If you’re not growing with your customers — as they embrace digital technologies in the rest of their personal and business interactions —you’re not going to retain your customer base, much less increase it,” says Julie Harris, enterprise chief experience officer for Data, Digital and Marketing at Bank of America. As more technology-driven companies begin offering seamless customer service and rapid response, their user experience expectations will be higher than ever. To help your stakeholders connect the dots between the customer experience and return on investment (ROI), be prepared with metrics on sales growth, customer retention, customer satisfaction, user preferences and more.


Operational efficiency is a business imperative


Being successful in business doesn’t always require working more — but it does require working smarter and more efficiently. This means you have to think about operational excellence; and to do that you have to become more efficient and productive. Investing in the digitalization of manual processes, for example, not only helps your company become more efficient, but also frees up resources that you can invest into new technologies and capabilities that will help retain and attract customers — in other words, boost ROI. 


Moreover, the benefits of increased efficiency aren’t just about making your business run more effectively — operational improvements can enhance the user experience both internally and externally, while improving customer satisfaction in the process. “Digital transformation is the key to running our businesses better and delivering experiences to our customers and employees that, put simply, make their lives easier and better,” says Harris


Of course, becoming more efficient relies on removing barriers to success and having the right teams in place, and a governance structure that reflects your company’s goals and objectives. For example, you may want to have teams with clear decision-making authority, intuitive and outcome-focused processes, metrics that align with your strategic objectives or guidelines on how resources should be allocated, suggests Deloitte.3


Operational efficiency also goes hand in hand with managing risk. With your operations running efficiently, you’re in a better position to identify any risks threatening to derail your business. “At Bank of America, managing risk is at the top of our minds,” says Harris. “Across every level of our organization, we believe that technology plays a pivotal role in operational excellence, risk management and ultimately delivering the best client and employee experience possible.”.

“If you’re not growing with your customers — as they embrace digital technologies in the rest of their personal and business interactions —you’re not going to retain your customer base, much less increase it.”

Attracting and retaining talent


By 2025, digital natives are expected to comprise a whopping 75% of the global workforce.4  Gen Z and millennials — for whom digital platforms have always been the way of life, socializing and working — have higher technology expectations as employees, and aren’t as willing to perform manual tasks that could be more efficiently accomplished by using technology. A good digital strategy will help companies harness their skills, while also driving employee satisfaction. 


Keeping digital natives satisfied and engaged isn’t just about retaining talent either. Understanding this generation of tech-savvy knowledge workers can directly affect your bottom line. According to a Citrix study, a 1 percentage point increase in digital-native population in a country is associated with a 0.9 percentage point increase in profitability in terms of EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization) margin.5


Ultimately, demonstrating a digital transformation’s ROI to skeptical stakeholders means challenging them with the following: As you look at metrics such as sales growth, user preferences, customer retention and customer needs, what is the data telling you? When thinking about your company’s human resources, do you need to invest in tools to enable an increasingly digital-savvy workforce to avoid losing your competitive edge when hiring and retaining the best talent? And lastly, where do you see your business in the next two years — as a disruptor or the one being disrupted?


Julie Harris | Enterprise Chief Experience Officer for Data, Digital and Marketing, Bank of America


1“Covid-19 Digital Engagement Report,” Twilio, September 2020.

2“2021 Corporate Longevity Forecast,” Innosight, May 2021.

3“Digital product management,” Deloitte Insights, 2019.

4“Driving Digital Transformation with a Secure Digital Workspace,” Citrix, October 2017.

5The Born Digital Effect: Young workers and the new knowledge economy,” Fieldwork by Citrix, May 2021.