Partnering with a digital agency is a key strategic decision for organizations made by c-level executives. It usually starts with an ambitious new digital initiative, made the responsibility of a handful of people. These kind of projects will quickly demand the need for a business case in order to validate its feasibility. Did you know that the right digital agency can support you at even the earliest stage of defining your business case?
In a time where digital growth is key and competition is relentless, it’s essential to focus on delivering value, always combined with measurable outcomes. Budget can only be spent once after all. That’s why we believe selecting the right digital partner is key for your success. What role does a digital agency fulfil exactly, and how do you select the right partner to drive your organization forward?
We believe it mainly comes down to two things; focusing on customer centricity and your digital transformation.
The motivation and need to reach your digital goals, support organisational change, and allocate your budget wisely should always be the same, regardless of the market your organisation operates in. The right digital agency can guide your way, making sure you stay customer-centric and achieve digital transformation. Reaching these goals requires organisational change, in addition to establishing processes and a knowledgebase. This will cement the use of digital products and enhance the complete end-to-end customer journey throughout your business. Without organisational change, customer centricity will never truly become engrained in your DNA, and any digital transformation will lack longevity.
When you get to the point a new digital initiative requires a business case to prove its feasibility – with goals such as increasing scalability and the quality of your digital output, decreasing customer service costs, or increasing sales via personalisation – there are a myriad of factors to consider. These include topics such as speed vs. adaption, benefits vs. cost, your in-house capabilities, and whether or not a team with both internal and external expertise is the right solution, all further underlining the necessity of a strong partnership. There are numerous digital agencies out there to choose from, ranging from full-service to specialised agencies, with the latter focusing on niche competencies or industries.
In the end, your choice should come down to these deciding factors; an agency’s understanding of your business strategy, and their ability to support, execute, and sometimes even challenge it. Your digital agency partner needs to understand exactly what phase of digital transformation you’re in, and have the ability to support and guide you in drafting a business case.
First and foremost, we value customer centricity at SQLI. Ensuring that your customers’ experience remains your top priority, from their first point of contact and onward, is crucial in today’s environment where customer experience is king. Companies have to keep track of customer needs and preferences in order to remain competitive. Especially in regards to the digital experience you provide them with – over 65% of customers confirm their experience on a website or app plays an important part in recommending a brand to their friends and family (Qualtrics).
Online interactions are comprised of a many different touchpoints and customer journeys. A digital agency can help you map these customer journeys, providing an overview of every scenario and experience your customers might have. This is imperative to the success of a customer focussed strategy. Once you have a clear understanding of your customer journeys, we can support you with critical input to further refine and prioritise business goals.
Placing your customer at the centre of your business doesn’t only mean focusing on them when starting a new initiative. It requires continuous validation and iteration, to ensure that both qualitative and quantitative data can be looped back into the work stream. This also allows you to identify which areas of your business will require the most focus in order to achieve organisational change. Sustained and companywide success demands that a customer centric approach doesn’t only live within a small team working on a single project, the concept needs to deployed throughout your entire organisation.
We identify six stages of commerce and business transformation. From the least mature ‘Business as Usual’ stage, where a company operates with a well-known legacy perspective of customers, processes, metrics, business models, and technology, to the most advanced ‘Innovative and Adaptive’ stage, where digital has become a way of conducting business, and executives and strategists recognise that change is constant. At SQLI we’re truly digital at heart – it’s our core competence, not just a subset under a vast array of other activities. Additionally, every team member at SQLI actively supports multiple clients across various industries, all working with different solutions and levels of digital maturity.
This dedication to digital, and large pool of experience, gives us a breadth of knowledge and expertise, successfully guiding many businesses through the process of digital and organisational change. Cross-segmental experience means that learnings can be taken and applied to new challenges, especially to the necessary step of breaking down silos within an organisation. Even your in-house capabilities can’t grow continuously without the external expertise a digital agency brings to the table.
Preferably the partnership between your business and a digital agency will result in a long-lasting relationship. Depending on your needs, a digital agency can provide valuable expertise, and even become embedded within your company if so desired – not just providing a platform or a service, but actively guiding your organisational change. SQLI can play a vital role within your organisation, assisting you with challenging c-level discussions, important decisions, and initiating change. Your digital partner should never lose sight of the endgame; customer acquisition and retention. In both B2B or B2C environments, there’s a clear trend of putting an ‘outside-in’ or Customer Experience (CX) approach at the forefront of decision making; “at least 80% of B2B buyers now expect the same buying experience as B2C customers” (Lumoa, 2018).
The process of validating, learning, and iterating should lead all customer related business decisions. However, this process can be hard to implement without external expertise. As your digital partner, we can assist you in defining your strategy, and successfully executing it by breaking it down into measurable and more easily managed goals.
Even if your organization has a comparatively high level of digital maturity, or you effectively need to start from scratch, you may still be wondering if you really need a digital agency. We’re not just here for organisations requiring a bottom up transformation. As a full-service collaboration agency, SQLI provides various levels of support and organisational integration, tailored to fit your strategy, maturity-level, and goals.
When your organization lacks digital expertise, and there is no time to develop these capabilities in-house, the most efficient way forward is by partnering with a one-stop-shop agency that can drive your digital initiative from beginning to end. This requires a full-service digital team, working either remotely or fully embedded in your organisation, providing consulting, and defining, designing, and implementing a full solution.
When your digital initiative requires a combination of different capabilities, and your organization can provide some of them, you can have your digital agency focus on a specific division. For example, a UX and Visual Design team can work together with key members of your organisation, delivering a revised digital platform and handing it over to an internal team for further development.
An agency can provide you with key roles of expertise, to embed within an internal digital team. This way specialists can be hired for an extended period of time to support your own teams, not just assisting them with their expertise but at the same time also transferring it.
You may require external expertise for a fixed-term initiative. An agency can provide the necessary competence to run a Google Design Sprint for instance, or conduct a series of workshops for key members of your organisation. Optionally, the agency can perform an independent audit or assessment on a desired topic, such as branding, user experience, business processes, agile coaching, accessibility, and architectural setup.
A fun but very true fact; SQLI has been designing and building websites since the 90’s, so we can wholeheartedly say we’re digital at heart. The wealth of experience we’ve gained the last decades allowed us to grow into a renowned full-service agency, that thrives especially when functioning as a committed and long-term partner. We offer a full range of services, that have already successfully driven the success of many great brands. These services include, but aren’t limited to, creating a complete digital strategy, business consultancy, branding and visual identity, user experience design, experience management, agile coaching, and complex tech implementations.
We never lose sight of two key pillars; customer value and business value. We always aim to implement evolutionary architecture based on strategic insights, working with products that are scalable and future proof. We prefer proven SAAS or MSA solutions, if possible, rather than battling with complex custom builds.
Our clients describe SQLI as a collection of sincere, pragmatic and experienced people who deliver on their promise. We love working with great brands and companies with a rich history and heritage. Helping them define, design and deliver proven, scalable and reliable digital products. Are you ready to find out what we can do for you?
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