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    I hate to start another post with yet another invocation of the COVID-19 crisis, but when it comes to digital transformation, it’s hard not to.

    That’s because the pandemic has forced the world to digitally transform.

    And anyone who wasn’t already on-board with digital can’t afford to put it off any longer.

    My guest today is Aman Sethi, Senior Director Commerce & CoBrand Acquisitions at Marriott. He’s an expert on digital transformation and innovative product development and he’s also a die-hard mobile evangelist. 

    He came on the show to go over:

    • What to keep in mind when it comes to digital transformation
    • How full-stack development teams are changing product development
    • Why mobile is more important than ever

    Digital transformation means delighting your customers

    COVID-19 is leaving companies with no choice but to accept they can no longer afford to put off digital transformation. 

    But in order to adapt to this change in the world, companies need to change, too.

    It starts by looking at your various business units and functions that have different missions, where digital can come on board and help build the experience for you. 

    But as the crisis continues it’s grip on the world, businesses also need to look at maximizing their efficiency with, potentially, smaller workforces.

    Merging certain roles now thought of as distinct may actually be helpful in making sure you are meeting your business objectives.

    With digital, this means perhaps merging a business owner’s role with that of a digital product person. That way, they can be accountable for the business side and the digital side — where a majority of the revenue and engagement is now happening.

    And in order for this to work, a company really needs to analyze what the right roles and the right people are for their business needs.

    Who can solve your business problems and your digital experience simultaneously?

    But wait, there is another layer. On top of this, the people and roles you choose need to also make everything better for your customers. 

    When it comes down to it, digital transformation is really about that long-term play of making engagement better and delighting your customers. 

    Full-stack development means people are happier and products ship faster

    It’s not just roles that need to be merged to adapt to this new world. 

    We also need our development teams to communicate better, to be less… I was going to say “socially distanced,” but I’ll go with “closed off.” 

    And one of the ways we can do that is through something Aman says Marriott has recently adopted: full-stack development.

    Marriott has abandoned the idea of looking at products through a frontend, middleware and backend lens and instead start with the customer journey. They look first at the systems and experiences required to make the customer journey come to life. 

    And full-stack development is making that much easier to execute.

    Having all of your people on one team understanding each part of the system you are trying to build and put together leads to happier team members because they get to understand the full journey.

    And it avoids all the messy misalignment issues between so many frontend and backend development teams, who often don’t communicate with each other at all. 

    The future of mobile

    Building a strong mobile vision can be a challenge for many companies. 

    Not that long ago, everyone essentially built mobile apps for the sake of it, because it sounded fun and cool.

    But mobile can be expensive — especially mobile app development. So, you really need to be thinking carefully about whether what you are doing is going to help serve a need.

    And, again, this comes down to really understanding exactly what the problem you are trying to solve is. 

    What’s the business problem? The user problem?

    As with many things digital, it comes down to fully understanding the customer journey, whether you’re developing an app, mobile web experience or even just trying to use things like push notifications or SMS.

    How will this actually solve the customer or business pain point? 

    Answering this is the only way to provide a really good value proposition to your stakeholders and your customers. 

    Mobile is another area where new use cases are appearing every day now that we live in a socially distanced world.

    Aman’s favorite coffee shop, for instance.

    To cope with social distancing requirements while still providing customers with their much-needed energy-bean juice, they put a QR code out front. 

    Customers now can scan it, get directed to a menu and place an order with a simple payment system. 

    Then your food and coffee will be ready on a table outside in about 10 minutes. 

    We’ve entered a world where certain interactions can be entirely done through mobile which most users probably didn’t think possible before the crisis. 

    And that’s why these innovations are likely to be here to stay. 

    Not only are businesses who may have been reluctant before using mobile to adapt, but users who may have been just as weary are adapting to mobile. 

    This post is based on a TechTables podcast with Aman Sethi. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to TechTables here. 

    PS: You can also email me at joe@techtablespodcast.com for anything related to the podcast and joe.toste@nagarro.com if you are interested in learning more about Nagarro and our philosophy on #thinkingbreakthroughs. 

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