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The human side of digital service

Updated: Mar 3, 2023

In my last blog I talked about digital first strategies and digital transformation - if you didn’t read that blog just go here - obviously after you’ve read this one ;) Plus there are lots more of my blogs you can catch up on too!

In the digital service blog I gave details about the digital first service approach we took at Pure Planet, a GB renewable energy company. I talked through the channels we offered and what it delivered; and for those of you who like numbers it includes some impressive stats demonstrating what tangible results can be delivered from a digital first approach.

It was a case study, if you like, of how you can approach digital service as a greenfield site and equally useful if you’re moving to digital as an existing operation.

Now I’m really proud of everything the teams achieved and of course the technology and data is crucial to delivering the outcomes BUT you can’t just deliver technology expecting everything else to fall into place - in parallel you have to consciously think about your culture, your people and your organisation design.

And just like I said in my last blog, it’s not something you do once, it’s something you need to review, adapt and develop as your digital service morphs and changes. During my five years at Pure Planet I reviewed our service strategy and operating model every nine to 12 months. Always making changes, taking it as an opportunity to improve and adapt as the business developed - all part of our flexible way of working.

If you’re a leader about to start the move to digital service, or have started, that move to digital service gives you the opportunity to drive up engagement across all of your teams - no matter which part of the operation they work in. It gives you a chance to look differently at ways of working and the opportunity to (re)design roles for your people that add interest, challenge and learning - something today's employees, particularly Gen Z, crave from the work they do.

Moving to digital often starts with removing the simple, high volume and low complexity work - which makes perfect sense - it’s a relatively safe place to start, lower risk and immediate returns if done correctly - with no negative customer impact.

Starting with the simple stuff is great for improving the customer experience, removing or deflecting demand and therefore reducing your cost to serve. The potential unexpected consequence of this is that your people are left with only the complex work - which can be exhausting and make them seem less productive as they can complete less work items.

That’s why when moving to or evolving your digital service you must take into consideration how people's roles are designed, what responsibilities you provide to your people, and how teams can work together; ideally using digital platforms to interact internally too.

Designing a target operating model as you build out your digital service strategy is an essential thing to do - here’s some things I recommend considering:

  1. Is your current structure fit for digital service?

  2. What frustrates your people that you could remove?

  3. What targets can you get rid of or change?

  4. What responsibilities can you give to your people?

  5. How can you build variety, challenge and learning opportunities into roles?

  6. What digital tools could you give to your people?

  7. What opportunities for greater flexibility come from digital?

  8. How can you design out any communication issues across teams?

  9. How can you use all of these things to attract people to join your business?

At Pure Planet our internal ways of working, our absolute focus on our people as well as our customers and how we trusted everyone to do what was needed were crucial cultural aspects of making how we worked a success - in many ways: people; efficiency; performance and customer satisfaction.

If you’re embarking on, or in the midst of moving to digital service, and would like a conversation about any of the topics discussed here, or any of the services sooth consulting offer, just contact me

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