William Waldron, our Client Services Director, and Julie Gibb, Technology Director with Travelwin, were featured together in this month’s TechPro to talk about successful digital transformation.

If there is one prevailing trend that has made itself heard above the noise in 2019, it has to be digital transformation, writes Alex Meehan from TechPro. The reason is simple — technology has reached the point of utility when it makes sense for companies of all sizes to take stock of how they do things and ask the question, is there a better way? This time, TechPro is looking at those organisations that have taken these journeys as well as the companies that have guided them, to see what transformation has enabled, and where the onward journey might lead.

Continual reinvention

According to William Waldron, Client Services Director with Singlepoint, digital transformation should not be thought of as a one-off process, instead in an ideal world, companies should continually reinvent themselves to keep up with the market. Customers typically start with a definite business goal in mind when they set out on a digital transformation journey, but the reality is that things often change along the way and the most effective journeys are those where the company remains flexible” he said. There can be unforeseen developments and that can be anything from realising how much their internal culture has to change to perhaps identifying opportunities in the market that had been overlooked. The important thing is to be open to these developments.” The most usual way in which companies experience change on these journeys, according to Waldron, is in their internal organisational structure.

Omni-Channel Contact Centre for the ISPCC

That always seems to change. If a company is in the retail space for example, they often move into the online space and that naturally is going to have a big effect on how you’re structured internally and on how they service customers. The kind of culture that’s needed to underpin one versus the other is quite different”, he said. “For example, we worked with the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) to bring in a new digital platform, an omni-channel contact centre, that would allow volunteers to talk to children through various channels but using the same interface. All of sudden, the ISPCC was able to facilitate people working remotely where it hadn’t been able to do that before.” That required the ISPCC to restructure its resourcing, but it also required retraining. It is one thing for a staff member to talk to a child on the phone and quite a different thing to manage a text interaction with one. 

There is a different approach needed in order to build trust. Essentially though, you never finish the journey – transformation is an ongoing process”, said Waldron.

The Travelwin Case Study

Julie Gibb is chief technology officer of SimLocal, a Singlepoint customer that engaged in a digital transformation project with the company that ended up being so successful, it was used by Google as a case study at a conference in the US. We were primarily a provider of physical SIM cards but last year we saw the arrival of eSIM technology on the horizon and recognised that this new development was going to have a big effect on our business model. Our existing technology allowed customers to top up and activate prepaid sim cards in seconds while standing in a retail store, but we needed to make ourselves ready for this new development”, said Gibb.

Embracing the Change

We decided to embrace the change and to become the first integrated online store for digital SIM cards as they’re otherwise known. It’s a brand new technology that’s being built out as an industry standard as we’re getting our business ready to adopt it.” SimLocal has a network of retail outlets at airports in the UK and Ireland but this new offering needed to be supported online as well as at these stores. From the beginning we had a clear management strategy that was underpinned by technical expertise both in house and through Singlepoint, our technology partner. It was able to draw on expertise from all over the world to support us on our journey as well as expertise we sourced ourselves to help us define what the technology looked like and how it all needed to hang together”, said Gibb.

Showcase at Google

Because we took the time to strategise and plan what we needed to do, the roll out went broadly speaking as we expected, but there were also lessons learned on the way. I was recently invited to Google’s head office in California to showcase the online platform we built. The product team there were really impressed with the industry leadership we showed in doing this.What SimLocal managed to do was to crack the complexity of delivering an eSIM on demand directly to a customer’s device, something Google hadn’t seen done before anywhere else.

It was all very much conceptual until we showed them it actually working in real time. The consumer can buy an eSIM from a network and download it onto their device. Getting this up and running involved liaising with the networks, the mobile operators and the handset manufacturers all via indirect channels” she said.

Choosing the Right Partner

Our advice to others considering reinventing the way they do things to develop a digital product is this — I would strongly advise you pick your partners well. Also, build out a minimum viable product – this allowed us to fully test and operate the system without the pressure to have to get it to market by a certain deadline.

Let’s talk about how digital transformation can work for your business, contact us now.

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