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Core digital transformation metrics:
A guide to measuring progress

Illustration of a yellow measuring tape

Digital transformation is no longer a choice. It’s a necessity for survival. But how do you know if your digital transformation initiatives are‌ paying off?

This question becomes even harder to answer as the pace of digital change becomes a continuous flow rather than a static transformation event. As we move away from a project-based digital transformation mindset, we need new digital transformation success metrics.

Measuring what matters is a known challenge, according to our 2024 Leadership Priorities in Tech survey, with only 30% of business leaders fully trusting the data inside their organizations. Despite this uncertainty, 75% want to continue investing in digital transformation in the next year. The problem is clear: Businesses have more data than ever, but they struggle to organize that information in a way that empowers them to make good strategic decisions.

Let's walk through some key metrics for digital transformation to add to your dashboard to measure the success of your innovation initiatives.

Measuring customer engagement and satisfaction

Customer engagement and satisfaction are critical metrics for measuring the success of digital transformation initiatives. Engaged and satisfied customers are more likely to remain loyal to a brand, make repeat purchases, and recommend the brand to others. There are several key metrics that businesses can track to measure customer engagement and satisfaction.

Customer satisfaction scores (CSAT)

CSAT surveys are a direct way to measure customer satisfaction. Businesses can send out CSAT surveys after each customer interaction, such as a purchase, service call, or website visit. CSAT surveys typically ask customers to rate their satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being "very dissatisfied" and 5 being "very satisfied."

Content engagement metrics

Customer engagement metrics measure how customers interact with a brand's website, social media pages, and mobile apps. These metrics can include website traffic, social media engagement (likes, shares, comments), and app usage.

Customer retention rates and churn rates

Customer retention rates measure the percentage of customers who continue to do business with a company over time. Churn rates measure the percentage of customers who stop doing business with a company over time.

Customer service response times

We can measure the quality of customer service by looking at how long it takes to get a response from different channels like phone calls, emails, and social media. Businesses can also track customer satisfaction with customer service interactions by using surveys and feedback mechanisms.

By tracking these metrics, businesses can get a clear picture of how their digital transformation initiatives are impacting customer engagement and satisfaction. This information can then be used to make adjustments to improve customer engagement and satisfaction and drive business growth.

Tracking employee productivity and engagement

Change initiatives require the entire organization to understand why the transformation is occurring and why they should embrace it. Employee satisfaction and morale are key indicators of digital readiness.

Employee performance

Key performance indicators (KPIs) related to employee productivity may include task completion rates, project delivery timelines, and customer satisfaction ratings. By monitoring these KPIs, organizations can gauge the effectiveness of their digital transformation initiatives in enhancing employee productivity and efficiency.

Employee engagement in innovation initiatives

This metric assesses the level of employee involvement in the innovation process. A high level of participation indicates a strong sense of ownership and commitment to innovation across the organization.

This can be done by tracking the number of employees actively involved in digital transformation projects, their level of enthusiasm and commitment, and their willingness to embrace new technologies and processes.

Workforce skills development

Digital transformation often requires employees to acquire new skills and adapt to new technologies. Organizations can help their employees succeed in the digital age by recognizing and addressing skills gaps early through frequent training and development opportunities. This enhances employee productivity and engagement, as well as future-proofs the organization against evolving technological advancements.

By tracking these metrics related to employee productivity and engagement, businesses can gain valuable insights into the impact of digital transformation on their workforce. This information can be leveraged to make informed decisions, address challenges, and optimize digital transformation strategies for long-term success.

Employee turnover

Employee turnover metrics before, during, and after transformation initiatives can inform whether the changes have improved the customer experience and made life easier for your workforce.

"Behind the scenes of that ideally seamless omnichannel experience, you're also ideally creating a situation where you've opened up the arena to allow employees to upskill themselves. They no longer have to spend time on more mundane, rote tasks."

says Stephanie Shine, Strategy and Innovation Principal at Kin + Carta.

High turnover rates may indicate underlying issues such as outdated systems, excessive tech debt, or inefficient processes that hinder employee productivity and job satisfaction. By contrast, engaged and satisfied employees are more likely to go above and beyond for customers, leading to improved customer retention and growth.

Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS)

Net Promoter Score (NPS) ‌measures whether customers are delighted enough by your brand that they'll recommend it to other people. Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) is similar, measuring the likelihood of your employees recommending working at your organization to other people.

Your eNPS is a good proxy for workforce satisfaction—especially if eNPS remains high during and after complex digital transformation initiatives. “Empowered, happy employees deliver better experiences for customers. They understand that every role in the organization—whether it's customer-facing or not—has a direct impact on customers,” says Jeannie Walters, CCXP, CEO & Chief Experience Investigator at Experience Investigators. “When employees are aligned around goals, that's magic. Customers feel that. And employees are more likely to stay at an organization that has happier customers. It's literally a win/win! It's a winning combination of more customer and employee retention, more efficient workflows, and happier environments for all.

To measure eNPS, organizations can conduct surveys that ask just one question: "On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend this organization as a place to work?" Employees fall into three buckets: promoters (scores of 9 or 10), passives (scores of 7 or 8) and detractors (scores from 0 to 6). Calculate workforce eNPS by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.

Combine eNPS with qualitative employee feedback to get a better understanding of where your organization excels and where improvement is needed. Measure eNPS before, during, and after digital transformation efforts to gauge how these often-complex change initiatives affect your employees' satisfaction levels.

Assessing operational efficiency

Businesses can improve their operations by looking for ways to make them more efficient. This can include finding ways to simplify processes, lower costs, and increase productivity. Here’s how to measure digital transformation success through the lens of operations.

Analyzing process cycle times

By measuring the time it takes to complete key processes, businesses can identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies. This information can then be used to make improvements that reduce cycle times and improve overall efficiency.

Resource utilization

Businesses should track how their resources are being used to identify areas where there's waste or underutilization. This information can be used to optimize resource allocation and improve efficiency.

Production output and quality

Businesses should track their production output and quality to ensure that they are meeting customer demand. This information can be used to identify areas where improvements can be made to increase productivity and quality.

Assessing inventory levels and turnover

Businesses should track their inventory levels and turnover to ensure that they aren't carrying too much or too little inventory. This information can be used to optimize inventory levels and reduce costs.

Supply chain efficiency

Businesses should evaluate their supply chain efficiency to identify areas where improvements can be made. This information can be used to reduce lead times, improve supplier relationships, and reduce costs.

Evaluating financial performance

By tracking key financial metrics, businesses can assess the impact of digital transformation on their bottom line and make informed decisions about future investments. Here’s how to measure digital transformation through the lens of financial goals.

Revenue growth

Digital transformation can drive revenue growth by expanding market reach, improving customer engagement, and increasing operational efficiency. Businesses should monitor revenue growth closely to assess the effectiveness of their digital transformation strategies and make adjustments as needed.

Cost savings

Digital transformation can lead to cost savings in various areas, such as reduced IT expenses, improved supply chain management, and increased automation. Businesses should track cost savings to quantify the financial benefits of their digital transformation initiatives and identify areas where further cost reductions can be achieved.

Return on investment (ROI)

ROI measures the financial return generated from digital transformation investments. Businesses should calculate return on digital investments to assess the profitability of their digital transformation initiatives and make informed decisions about future investments.

Customer lifetime value (CLV)

Just as employee satisfaction drives business success, so does customer satisfaction. That's where customer lifetime value (CLV) comes in, as it reflects the total business return from each customer relationship. This metric accounts for the initial purchase, subsequent business, and the potential for further purchases, upsells, cross-sells, and referrals.

"If you understand your CLV, you're going to be able to effectively measure if you're successful in your pursuit of continuous improvement,"

says Dave Clark, Vice President of Experience Design, Kin + Carta.

Measuring CLV differs depending on your ‌business and the available data. The simplest way to calculate CLV is by multiplying the average customer value and average customer lifespan for a generalized view of CLV. For more precise calculations, organizations can analyze historical customer data, including purchase history, average order value, purchase frequency, and churn rate. Statistical models and algorithms can help estimate the future value of these customer relationships.

Customer acquisition cost (CAC)

CAC refers to the cost of acquiring a new customer, which includes marketing and advertising expenses, sales commissions, and other related costs.

Digital transformation can help reduce CAC by streamlining processes and increasing efficiency, leading to a lower cost per acquisition. This can ultimately result in a higher return on investment and a more successful digital transformation. By monitoring and analyzing CAC, businesses can further optimize their digital transformation strategies.

Businesses can use financial performance metrics to understand how their digital transformation efforts are affecting their finances. This can help them make better decisions about how to improve their strategies for long-term success.

Monitoring innovation and agility

These metrics for digital transformation help organizations assess their digital maturity in adapting to changing market dynamics, creating new value propositions, and staying ahead of the competition.

Number of new products or services launched

This metric measures the organization's ability to continuously innovate and bring new offerings to the market. A high number of successful product launches indicates a strong innovation culture and agility.

Time-to-market for new initiatives

This metric measures the speed at which an organization can turn ideas into marketable products or services. A shorter time-to-market indicates faster innovation cycles and adaptability.

Measuring how quickly your business can acclimate can also provide a window into your processes and culture. "The speed test is effectively, 'How quickly can you understand the assignment and get it completed effectively?" explains Dave Clark, Vice President of Experience Design, Kin + Carta.

Success rate of innovation projects

This metric assesses the effectiveness of the organization's innovation efforts. A high success rate indicates that the organization has a robust process for identifying, developing, and implementing innovative ideas.

Adoption rate of digital tools

This metric measures the organization's ability to embrace and integrate new technologies into its business models and processes. A high adoption rate indicates a culture of continuous learning and a willingness to experiment.

Digital transformation success isn't just about completing the work. It's also about the speed of adoption and the ease of winning buy-in so your organization can seize opportunities and mitigate potential risks. As Ben Pitman, Director of Engineering Consultancy, Kin + Carta, puts it:

"How fast could you react to a change in the market or a new piece of technology for your teams? How fast are your teams adapting to that?"

Focus on the digital transformation metrics that matter for your business

With the sheer amount of data available now, it can be overwhelming to decide where to focus first. You can use these metrics as a starting point, as you develop a dashboard that reflects your organization's unique needs and challenges.


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