Our recipe for digital transformation

Mayank Prakash talking at a whiteboard with post-it notes on with people in the background

Written by Mayank Prakash, Chief Digital and Information Officer at DWP

The frequent recognition across numerous award categories and in Computer Weekly UKTech50 brings a long list of leaders to our doorstep – curious to learn about our secret sauce. Key performance indicators for our digital services are widely published, and the experience across pensions, carers and working age services has been markedly transformed.

Check Your State Pension digital service has been used over 8m times with 90% users delighted with it. Weeks of writing and multiple calls have been replaced with a simple digital service.

We have reduced service incidents by 46% over the last three years. The Net Promoter Score has more than doubled last year to +51. We have saved an unprecedented 37% of our spend and re-invested it to refresh ageing technologies. The performance indicators are off the charts and the change shows in every part of our business. Our ageing data centre has been replaced by hybrid cloud services, a new telephony platform underpinned by next generation multi-channel contact centre delivers dynamic call routing, and our digital workplace gets rave reviews from over ten thousand colleagues who are now using it. The determination of colleagues and partners – to achieve more together – shows.

We have much more to do, and we are not alone in driving digital transformation at a pace. So we often wonder why people come to us when much has been written on this topic and transformation has many lenses.

Conversations usually start with innovation, technology and culture and soon progress to ‘what is the secret sauce?’.

We don’t compete with anyone so we can openly share what we have learnt from other industries. We realise that most visitors are not interested in us but our delivery experiences. Digital transformation is a messy affair as transformation journeys are never a straight line.

Luckily, our strategy is to deliver.

We learnt this from Mike Bracken, and the simplicity of our strategy separates those who talk a good game from others who do.

The recipe of our secret sauce is simply all about purpose and design thinking:

A. Clarity of purpose: Rob Nail and the Singularity University team are right about the grand challenge of our time – to adapt to a world of accelerating change and apply technology for the greatest good.

We are lucky that DWP’s important, life-changing work affecting 22 million people inspires a hundred thousand people to achieve more together. Every organisation’s purpose needs to be complemented with the desire to achieve an outcome worth being proud of.

The key to achieving business outcomes is organising around solving a problem or pursuing an opportunity. This requires the unique ability to find where value is likely to be disrupted within the business or the market. Most executive teams are so occupied with current challenges that they miss the opportunity to re-imagine customer experiences and identify the alpha/ leapfrog opportunity for their business.

You know you have found a transformation opportunity when you can describe an outcome from the user or customer’s perspective. These outcomes could be new ways to purchase a product, moving into new businesses by expanding journeys, or exploiting competitive advantages such as data to re-imagine customer experiences.

We now live in a world where regulations and legislation are driving transformation of industries. MiFID and PSD are enabling the transformation of banks. Non-banks are taking an increasing share of market making activities starting with FX and developed equities markets, swaps are likely to be next. APIs are challenging the traditional boundary of a bank.

B. Design thinking: Design starts with an outcome in mind to solve a problem, and ends with a solution.

Design thinking needs to complement systems thinking to create amazing solutions. For decades the tech industry has been very busy automating processes across industries and selling solutions. Automation is still necessary but not sufficient. Steve Jobs championed design thinking and proved beyond doubt that user experience trumps functionality every time. This video from Apple (where every word matters) is a master-class in design thinking compressed into 90 seconds.

When organisations bring together their marketing, customer experience, business process, tech and data teams to become an agile enterprise, magical solutions are found and the experience can be re-imagined as all the necessary design components are brought together. Design Council has mapped out the approach to finding and delivering agile solutions simply in the illustrative Double Diamond approach.

Re-imagining experiences requires an outside-in approach instead of an inside-out approach. For example, in FX markets – there is a choice to internalise flows or trade in public wholesale markets.

So there you have it – the recipe – out in the open. It is all about purpose and design thinking to achieve outcomes.

Digital transformation is a lot like cooking. The mess does not show in the end result but unless you get your hands dirty, you have nothing to show. You know the recipe is good when chefs have a smile on their face.

92% of our colleagues in DWP Digital say that they lead our transformation.

Now that is award-winning performance because when people want to do something at DWP Digital, they find a way to do it.

We are lucky to learn from several inspirationally humble people like Gene KimIan LevyJim ArnottAshley Machin and Peter Sondergaard. We love meeting people from different industries and countries as we learn from them and happily share our progress.

This article was originally published here.


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