Digital | 2020-01-24 | 4 Mins

Millions poured into Digital Transformation globally. But is it money down the drain?

Alisha Srivastava

When it comes to influencing experiences with relevancy in today’s digital era, companies confidently go for digital transformation. It is because they are striving to compete and differentiate themselves in a dog-eat-dog market. Increasing challenges and an ever-volatile environment is driving them towards digital transformation.


While a lot of money had been invested in the process, there looms the question - has this contributed to the topline or are we peddling ‘new wine in a new bottle’? Where’s the ROI on digital transformation - the question’s coming and looks like we’re not ready with answers.

According to Bain & Company’s research, only 8% of global companies have been able to achieve their targeted business with digital transformation. CNBC reported $1.3 trillion was poured into transformation initiatives in 2018-2019. Only 16% brought improvements. While 70% were wasted on unproductive programs that led to further failure and low ROI. So, where is the glitch?  


The answer lies in the amalgamation of business and digital technology’s stepping stone. By stepping stone, we mean the backbone of the digital transformation process. There’s no secret formula or silver bullet used by those 8% companies.


Amongst focussing on other fundamentals like technology stacks, cost restructuring and onboarding the right talent, the key differentiator was building their digital transformation on a solid foundation of User Experience.


Amazon, Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, digitalized themselves by keeping the impeccable user experience as their primary priority. This ensured they remain committed to user success and consequently ensuring design cascades across their organization and not just another department operating in a silo. 


Perhaps, this is where most of the other companies fail on the digital transformation front. Most of them have simplified their businesses with the help of technology but forget to redesign their products and services using intuitive UX design. They targeted enhancement of user experience with technology instead of taking into consideration that while technology is what powers it, the users don’t care, making design the real enabler.


Digital Transformation and UX Design

“A user comes in direct contact with products and services, not with the technology being used in the company.”


Fidelity Investments understood this and it came a long way with digital transformation done right. Their mobile app, in particular, is the reason for their stellar performance. Built with great UX design, the app gives customers the best experience they can ask for.


The multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate, The Walt Disney Company chose to leverage the perfect combination of digital transformation and centred on user needS, fulfilling the same by robust UX design. Its Magicband, driven by RFID tech, acts as a wallet, room keys, and even ride tickets, storing data seamlessly while taking away the hassles of misplacing things while having fun as we all do. That’s a great user experience delivered. In this way, these companies found the best way to drive a successful digital transformation is on the backs of user-centred design. 


It isn’t surprising at all when you look at it; digital transformation keeps business up to date while UX design helps users to adapt to technology easily. One without the other, it’s a lost cause.


“We had a poor experience,” complained one of the users of the BMO Harris Digital Banking app.

BMO digital banking came into being somewhere late 2015. They were among the early movers to adopt digital transformation for banking. Breaking through their traditional shackles and understanding the breadth and depth of such an endeavour was not easy. But they adapted. They improved the user experience over time with progressive UX design. Today their app has over 85% 5-star ratings.  


“There is only one boss - the Customer/User.” 

– Sam Walton, Founder, Walmart


Walmart is becoming a digital winner. Its e-commerce is growing fast with digital innovations with satisfied customers.  


Digital transformation has two sides. One, it hypes up the operational efficiencies and on the other hand, it helps in identifying trends, patterns, and customer expectations.

This latter part helps in redesigning better products and services, helps to generate revenue by delivering enhanced user experience on the basis of trends, patterns, and expectations identified. Hence, UX Design is the key to Digital Transformation. 


Understanding the Relationship between UX design and Digital Transformation:  


Remember the time when the game Ghostbuster World launched? 

People assumed it to be similar to PokemonGo. It was but with smart Augmented Reality. Finding ghosts in a timeframe within their surroundings was a good experience for people. Talking about the experience, did you ask your digital assistant to set an alarm for you last night? Sure you must have! We have got accustomed to our digital assistants, Cortana, Siri, Google, for every little step in our day to day lives. The reason is the level of experience we are availing through technology intervention. 


Another example that comes to mind is the Bank of America’s banking touchpoint transformation. They identified and funded a UX design project for improving the interface of their online banking site. Various design solutions yielded success in primary metrics. The intuitive design solved the problems of users. The yield metric doubled and exceeded the desired ROI of the bank. 


“In creating a great user experience, you have to take care for the following, stay relevant with what people are looking for, collaborate digital transformation and UX Design, think how to increase your ROI using them”

 - Rachel Iannarino, Vice President, Marketing, Continental Office


Continental Office decided to revamp their 6-year-old website. The purpose was to integrate the buyer persona in their website to enhance the user experience. UX design helped them to narrate a story to bring out the persona. This resulted in traffic increase by 103%.


A digital transformation process that has the design in its roots contributes to the best user experience and increment in the ROI of the firm. 


Digital Transformation + UX design = Great User Experience + Satisfied Customers = Increase in ROI


From the above examples, there’s no doubt that following UX design principles with digital transformation, an organization could cultivate a much greater sense of its purpose while delivering success to its customers and itself. 


Get your Digital Transformation with right UX Design  

  • Understand that investing only in digital transformation programs will not help in the long run and that the real key to lasting success lies is the positively evolving user experience.
  • So, do not go for transformation without a true vision of the user’s goals, needs, and wants
  • Build a comprehensive cross-functional strategy that can produce a cadence of improvement; don’t fall for “this is cool to do, we’ll figure out the ROI later” strategies
  • Integrate UX design and technology with strategic goals to achieve success as you define it with a good share of the desired ROI




At the crux of digital transformation, there is a single cause-and-effect reaction and that is the User Experience and ROI. Companies that are digitally transformed by placing their customers at the centre with good UX design are successful with a brimming ROI. 


So, be the brand that focuses on user experience and find your way to leap forward with digital transformation done right


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