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COVID-19: The Great Re-Prioritization

COVID-19: The Great Re-Prioritization

Written by

Jordan Schwartz, Business Architect, Traction on Demand

The new rulebook for delivering value within your digital transformation roadmap. 

In an effort to respond to the sudden virtualization of our world, organizations are scrambling to identify areas for investment in their digital transformation roadmaps that will enhance customer connection. 

During this shuffle, organizations are rapidly re-prioritizing year’s worth of initiatives overnight. Over the past three months a new rulebook has emerged, one that puts customers back on top and sets new criteria for a minimum viable product.

Throw Out the Old Rulebook

Imagine it’s the fourth quarter, with four minutes left, down by a touchdown and you’ve just received the ball back on offence. You’re fighting an uphill battle but you’ve been here before, with the same team and playbook that’s led you to victory before. Suddenly, the referee says you’ll be playing soccer, not football for the rest of the game. 

Forget throwing out the playbook, the ref just threw out the rulebook!

In 2020, the rulebook for prioritizing a digital roadmap has been tossed out the home-office window and onto the empty street below. Organizations must learn how to play with the new rules or lose; fair or not. 

Re-Defining the Criteria for a Minimum Viable Product

At the core of this re-prioritization is the shattering of pre-existing criteria for defining a minimum viable product (MVP) or service. Prior to 2020, organizations have been increasingly cautious about releasing digital offerings that could be conceived as “half-baked” by customers. Why risk it when core revenue streams are strong, and an unflattering “side-stream” launch could turn-off customers from a brand? 

Enter 2020, and the rug has been pulled out from under companies’ core revenue streams. The time available to complete a finished product has evaporated as quickly as in-store revenues. The priority of digital initiatives that put customers’ needs first have gone from nice-to-have to critical and timing expectations have gone from eventually to yesterday. With resources being cut or held constant at best, organizations have no choice but to reduce the criteria for minimum viable and launch offerings well before they’re perfected.

The twist? Customers have been understanding, accepting and in many cases, excited to get their hands on those “half-baked” offerings.

Customers are suddenly being invited to participate as innovators; a new wave in customer-centric digital transformation is beginning.

The engagement from customers in a live and high-stakes environment is allowing organizations to accelerate initiatives that have been in the backlog for years. 

The New Rulebook

Over the past three months, there have been some incredible success stories of organizations moving fast to launch MVP offerings to bridge the sudden gap with their customers. So what is the rulebook these organizations are following to be successful?

1. Shift, don’t Drift. Align your digital strategy with your core competencies

While it may be tempting to chase a shiny solution, make sure it’s a real problem that you’re solving for your customers. Don’t assume that your organization must provide a solution to every challenge your customers are facing. A restaurant shifting to offer take-out meals through an established digital ordering platform is different from one drifting into developing their own virtual reality cooking show.

Additional resources: Shift or Drift Keynote with Greg Malpass

2. Re-Define the criteria for a minimum viable product

Question the assumptions you held about what customers require in order to adopt solutions. Look for places to compromise functionality in favour of speed. Build on existing platforms such as Salesforce Community Cloud to accelerate your MVP offering further. Don’t make compromises on your values, or your customers’ privacy. A good example of this is our latest offering, Traction Gather, which leverages Salesforce Communities to provide a virtual event platform. 

3. Prepare your business alongside your technical solution

Determine the minimum viable business support that’s required to ensure your offering doesn’t fall flat. Remember, even simple offerings may require new support functions and change management considerations. Like the technical solution, don’t overdesign the first iteration of your business functions. 

4. Ship it; then talk to your customers

Endeavour to get the offering out the door. If possible, build mechanisms directly into the solution to absorb feedback from customers on day one. Find ways to communicate directly with customers and engage them in the innovation process. Ensure you feed their responses into your immediate backlog for improvements.

5. Invest in iterations 

When budgeting for the rapid launch of a new digital offering, ensure that your organization is prepared to fund the necessary iterations to make your innovative solution a success beyond the first weeks. Set goals to measure the success of the launch and be prepared to pivot if when the rulebook changes again.

Next Steps 

The rulebook may be thrown out the window, but we’re still playing ball. We’re here to help walk you through the new rules and ensure you come out of this pandemic on top. Get in touch with one of our digital transformation experts to discuss your options. Game on!

Shift, don’t drift

Let’s talk about your new normal. Where do we fall into your digital transformation roadmap?

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