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How service design principles yield blissful digital transformation

8 March 2016 <> Written by Simon Scott Tagged: transformation contextual design service-design service

“Digital transformation” is happening all around us; the application of digital technology in human society: online banking; smart homes; self-driving vehicles; it’s everywhere.

Many of these transformations are enabled by processes which are made up of online and offline functions, for example: someone could adjust their heating remotely by signing into an app or website (online), making sure that it’s warm when they get home; the heating system would then adjust the temperature (offline), and when complete, report the result back to the user (online).

What if the result wasn’t reported back to the user? They wouldn’t know whether to expect a freezing cold reception or a cosy warm welcome when they got home. This would sour their experience of using the product or service; it would appear temperamental, unstable, unreliable.

As more and more services are ‘transformed’, users and customers have ever-increasing expectations about the systems they use. We don’t expect to wait for feedback, and we don’t tolerate interfaces that are more hindrance than a help. It should just work!

Given these high expectations, how do we go about creating a system or process which can track and automate or knows when to notify people and provide them with the right information at the right time? Something that works as expected, every time, or provides reliable feedback and fallbacks when it doesn’t.

How does this translate to transforming business processes? When it comes to the digital transformation of businesses, we adopt Service Design principles to gain an understanding of how different departments and workflows work together. We usually conduct contextual research and collaborative workshops with the client to achieve this.

The result of this is a detailed overview of how the business functions; we map the processes on a blueprint, including any touchpoints with customers.

When we have a clear picture of what the ‘service’ entails, we can think about where it can be improved; using the blueprint helps to highlight inefficiencies, bottlenecks and pain points, which informs the roadmap for change.

A Service Blueprint

These problems form the basis for digital transformation, which is entirely centred around creating efficiencies for the business, whilst effectively maintaining the best experiences for customers and staff.

We specialise in using technology to transform business processes using automation and enhance user experiences.

Recently, we’ve been working with Your Own Brand Golf to transform their internal processes, including their customer notifications, shipping, and manufacturing workflows.

Having spent some time working with the team at Your Own Brand, it was clear that they knew they had to make changes to their processes, but it wasn’t initially clear what they needed to change.

After conducting some contextual research and requirement capture workshops we had captured the business processes in their entirety. At this point, we were able to produce a set of aspirational service blueprints which would represent the business process post-transformation.

Your Own Brand has embraced the aspirational blueprints; using their large format plotters to produce huge banners which now line the walls at Your Own Brand HQ.

We are continuing to work with Your Own Brand creating and implementing tools which will help them to effectively transform their service; making sure that they are as efficient as they can be, that their production happens on time and that their customers are provided with the right information at the right times.


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