Digital transformation: The top of your 2021 to-do list

Digital transformation looks different for each business. Learn how Kin + Carta uses Contentful to help customers move beyond the website to custom software solutions that elevate their multi-channel content strategy.

Digital transformation is no longer an option — it’s required

Although Covid-19 created a short-term disruption to strategic digital transformation spending, the long-term impact is expected to accelerate digital transformation across the board. Embracing digital is no longer a strategic choice born from months or years of planning — it is a strategic imperative. 

Digital transformation was a $280BN market that grew around 17% per year before 2020. Now that number up to 23% and counting. The number of consultants operating in the digital experience space is growing faster than their peers in the enablement or marketing categories. Digital transformation has risen way up on our to-do lists. 

Successful digital transformations never look the same way twice

Now, what the heck is digital transformation? I’ll use an annoying consultant answer, it depends. Depending on the industry, the size of the company and what services the company provides, digital transformation most likely means something different for each company.

For most companies, digital transformation means getting their workforce online, onto the cloud and using digital tools like Slack, SalesFore and Zoom. For others, it means something more. Think about a company that sold rubber gaskets for the last 30 years. They might transform into an IoT enabled tech company that detects pipe leaks in factories

But all digital transformations depend on microservices 

What is the same across each company, is that each company needs a set of flexible tools that can get them to market faster, test ideas quicker and prove revenue under hyper-scrutinized budgets. Microservices-based tech stack components are the answer. 

Microservices are SaaS-based technologies that do one thing really well. These kinds of components can easily connect with technology already in place or slated on the roadmap. 

Spire and Kin + Carta work with enterprise-level clients who need flexibility and easy integration with legacy tools. This, combined with increased IT involvement, has led us to recommend a shift towards microservices

CMSes have traditionally been used to power page-driven, static digital experiences like a website or mobile site. But these days, everyone is streaming, everyone is online and everyone expects top notch digital experiences. We’ve seen traditional, monolith CMSes falling short in this area, and we’re starting to explore tools and platforms to compose an agile digital experience platform.

Challenges for teams building digital tools

For 22 years, Spire and Kin + Carta have lived and breathed in custom software, modernization and digital transformation. Here are some of the challenges our clients face as they build experiences for their users and customers.

Time to market

We ship code fast and frequently. Shipping code means our clients get their products to market quicker, which gives a “first-mover advantage” or an improved user or customer experience. Moving fast can be a challenge if you use monolithic technology and non-agile processes.

Content as a scalable and manageable asset

Content is a core differentiating asset for many companies, and it is used in every part of the customer lifecycle. There are now more content cooks in the kitchen from multiple departments and business units. Managing this content effectively across large organizations is increasingly difficult. This creates the risk that the same content is duplicated (often incorrectly!) in disparate systems. With content living in different systems, scaling content is tough and content managers are copying and pasting content.

Omnichannel means more than simply being on all the channels

Customers and users expect to have a great experience on their preferred channel whenever they want. Simply showing up on all channels is no longer enough. Companies need to be on the right channels, delivering the perfect content, in the right context and at the right time. Phew!

Case study with above-average marketers 

Real estate agents, financial advisors and insurance brokers believe that they're above-average marketers. But the stakes have been raised, ROI is more elusive and entire industries are changing. 

In place of notepads with headshots, Spire and  Kin + Carta are building digital marketing hubs that give agents and advisors a one-stop shop for spinning up ads that meet with HQs approval, distributing them across the web and social channels and monitoring their results. We've made the complex easy, helping agents and advisors up their game while earning accolades from our clients along the way — including companies like RE/MAX, one of the top ten franchises of any kind in the world.

To build such an experience, we needed a microservice, API-first approach. With this plan, any industry-leading tool could be used on the backend, while the frontend user experience stayed consistent, seamless and customized specifically for our non-technical, non-marketing users. 

We design these hubs to be microservices-based, API-first, and headless:

  • Content platform: Contentful

  • DAM: Bynder, Distribion, and homegrown databases

  • Deployment & Delivery: Netlify

  • Search: Google Analytics

  • CRM: Homegrown systems, Salesforce, and Microsoft Dynamics

  • Frontend: React, Angular

Most of the tools already have native integrations. For those that did not, our team created custom webhooks and tapped into a variety of different APIs and SDKs to finish off the integration process. 

With the microservices approach, our team could spend more time on the frontend user experience and less time integrating tools that typically don’t play well together in traditional monolithic approaches.

Learn how Spire Digital, of Kin+Carta, helps businesses through their unique digital transformations.

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