The modern website is a critical tool for engaging with and serving customers and other stakeholders. We need to ensure that we equip our employees with the right tools to continue their day to day actions to manage the organisation’s relationships and support the brand.
A website essentially serves three functions:
- Provide information
- Automate processes; and
- Deliver services.
In order to ensure that the right tools are available, we start by looking to the organisational and divisional strategies asking questions like
- What is the vision and mission?
- What does the organisation do?
- How does it do it?/What are the key process?
- Which competencies and skills do we have?
- What products and services do we offer?
- Where are our markets?
Having examined these key areas, we then start to translate the answers into a Digital Strategy, by asking questions like:
- Where can we enhance these products and services using the web?
- What processes can be automated?
- What digital products could we provide?
- What are customers looking for?
- Are there any additional markets and geographies that we could serve through the web?
- How does our brand translate digitally?
- Which other technologies (Geographical Information Systems, Enterprise Resource Planning Systems etc.) do we have which can enhance our digital offerings?
The we look at what web tools could be created to assist the employees to enhance their work through the web and what do they need to be able to do? For example:
- If they need to be able to post events to a calendar, should there be various views, by event type, by date, month, day etc.
- If events must be created, they need to give the date, an expiry date (after which the event won’t be visible in the current view) a title, a description, a date, a venue, key words/tags so that the event can be searched, RSVP, share on social media sites, the ability to synch into the viewers’ Outlook calendar etc.
- Press releases need headings, introductions, the body of the text, release date, meta-data for searches, downloadable pictures etc.
- Blogs need a heading, the body, meta data, tag clouds, share on social media sites, defined audiences using key words such as type of audience, geography, interests, profile etc, who can comment. Wiki’s could be similarly designed.
There are many universal tools that can be made available to employees who should be allowed to use them using permission based access.
When enabling employees to interact directly with customers, the same care must be taken as in the real world to make sure that they act in the best interests of the organisation. With the web we suggest that policies and procedures, content architectures and on line brand iconography guidelines be developed.
The core processes need to be mapped or redefined for the web. Examine who requires the automated process (could we use Geographical Information Systems or Profiling to customise his view?), where they will find it (what meta data will help in the search?), where other technologies will be integrated (Where do we get data about an account e.g. SAP?), how do we route queries? Should we use SMS’s or eMails to let the user know how far we are in the process? etc.
The next phase is to review our services. Could we create additional value for our audience by providing digitised products such as templates, calculation tools etc.
The modern website provides endless opportunities to surprise and delight our stakeholders, by giving it some careful thought we can also enable self service and reduce our costs of delivery.
About Digital Bridges
Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication and manage brand conversations with consumers.
Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia.
Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.
To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on firstname.lastname@example.org