Are you getting lost in the currents of digital transformation? A strong feedback loop can not only keep your digital transformation strategy moving forward but also give you actionable information about how digital transformation is going and increased buy-in from your employees.
Cultivating a digital-first corporate culture and strong leadership are both important to the success of digital transformation. But how do you know that your efforts are yielding the desired results? And with so much transformation underway, how do you know which direction to take?
Read on to learn more about why a feedback loop is so important in digital transformation, as well as how you can improve an existing one.
What Is a Feedback Loop?
You may have some understanding of what a feedback loop is, and maybe your team is already using feedback loops — especially in DevOps or other agile teams. Feedback loop is an often misunderstood term, so it bears repeating exactly what it is: a relationship between two (or more) entities where change in the first entity causes change in the second, which in turn causes change in the first.
For example, in a feedback loop between email open rates and number of emails sent in a month, a low email open rate may prompt the team to send more emails in the month. This, in turn, can cause the open rate to either increase or decrease. A decrease gives feedback that the amount of emails sent needs further adjustment. An increase (the desired outcome) may prompt sending even more emails.
Critically, it’s not enough to just collect data about email open rates. To be part of a feedback loop, the data needs to affect some other action or entity — in this case, the amount of emails sent in a month.
Benefits of a Feedback Loop for Digital Transformation
Feedback loops are critical for successful digital transformation because they provide valuable information that drives incremental improvements. Digital transformation does not and cannot happen overnight, and using a feedback loop guides the digital transformation team towards desired outcomes and away from unnecessary complexity and friction.
Digital transformation requires constant buy-in from internal and external stakeholders, as well as the employees implementing digital tools. In short, for digital transformation to work, you need to cultivate a digital-first corporate culture.
A digital-first culture does not happen by shutting your IT team away in a cave to work on implementing new technology — only to emerge with “solutions” that no longer meet business needs. Instead, your digital transformation team needs to provide constant output, whether it be in the form of MVPs (minimal viable products), software demos, or statistics on process improvement.
By constantly providing more output, stakeholders can in turn provide input, thus prompting the digital transformation team to make adjustments and provide further output. In this way, everybody feels involved in the process of digital transformation, and teams can receive feedback that they’re on the right track or investing in the wrong solutions.
Providing plenty of opportunities for feedback and showing your team that you’re implementing that feedback instills trust and confidence in the process of digital transformation. It also gradually increases buy-in from all stakeholders and employees because they’ve been an active part of this process.
5 Ways to Improve Your Digital Transformation Feedback Loops
Asking for feedback isn’t the only way to set up a feedback loop. The best feedback loop for digital transformation combines employee feedback with automated feedback and creates processes to quickly respond to feedback. Here are five ways you can improve your digital transformation feedback loop.
#1 Automate the Feedback Loop
Automation is critical for any feedback loop. You can set up processes to automatically gather feedback on how digital tools are being used. For example, how long does it take employees to go through a specific process? By automating data collection, you have quantitative data to assess in addition to the qualitative data of personalized employee feedback.
You can also set up a workflow to automatically gather information needed to resolve a specific ticket, and in some cases, automate the process of resolving simple issues like automatic invoice generation.
#2 Acknowledge Feedback
The goal of using a feedback loop in digital transformation is to reduce friction points in adopting new digital tools. A great way to do that is by treating stakeholders and employees like customers and providing excellent customer service.
When you get feedback, immediately acknowledge it — even if it will take a while to actually make changes based on the feedback. This lets whoever gave you the feedback know that you care about their input and are working to resolve the issue.
#3 Act on Feedback
There is no feedback loop unless feedback actually drives actions. Businesses make the mistake of setting up opportunities for feedback without actually developing a process for acting on that feedback.
Don’t let your feedback — whether submitted or collected automatically — just sit there. Take action early and frequently. This also lets your employees know that you are taking their concerns seriously, which will motivate them to provide more feedback and in turn fuel your feedback loop.
#4 Take the Right Action
Most issues have multiple solutions, but only one solution is right for your business. Don’t offer generic solutions based on what others are doing. Take the time to really understand the business processes and goals, and develop solutions based on that.
As an example, in a hospital undergoing digital transformation, somebody submits a ticket saying that the scheduling software isn’t working on a particular machine. A generic solution may be to just use a different machine.
In this case, however, the machine is in a doctor’s office and is being used to schedule surgeries. Using another machine means not only moving the doctor to another room but also redirecting surgeries and patients to that room.
By taking the time to develop the right solutions to problems in the feedback loop, the digital transformation team can provide incremental improvements instead of adding frustration and friction.
#5 Don’t Lose Sight of Common Sense
It can be tempting to automate everything in a feedback loop and create as many opportunities for people to provide input. Instead of trying to sift through data that may ultimately be irrelevant, make sure to target specific feedback and that you’re not creating unnecessary steps for employees.
It can be overwhelming for your IT team to sift through feedback and implement the right changes quickly enough to move things forward. A feedback loop is critical for navigating the currents of digital transformation, but it’s essential to tailor your feedback loop to your company’s needs and automate where necessary for the greatest chances of success.
Dyopath is your partner in digital transformation. We can help keep your digital transformation moving forward by providing an effortless feedback loop that simplifies your business processes.
Contact Us to learn more about our MSP and MSSP services.