Digital Transformation projects can be quite complex and it is not uncommon to spend weeks or even months preparing for development. Even with the most talented developers, many Digital Transformation projects fail. The reason? A lack of client involvement during the critical discovery phase.
A successful Digital Transformation entails a multi-phased project that demands a fair amount of client engagement if you’re going to see success and maximum ROI. But what is the discovery phase? And why is client engagement so important?
What is the Discovery Phase of a Digital Transformation Development Project?
The discovery phase is the first — and perhaps most important — phase in the mobile app and software development process. Although it is important to note that similar processes can also be utilized for other digital solutions, such as the development of a cloud-based data management and storage platform.
During the discovery phase, there is one key objective: to gain as much information as possible about the client, their business, their challenges, their goals for the future and their needs from the project itself. The Digital Transformation developers will ask questions such as the following.
- Who is the client and what is their industry?
- What challenges or pain points is the client facing?
- How can we solve these challenges or pain points through Digital Transformation?
- What features and functionalities does the client wish to include?
- How will this technology be used and by whom?
- Who are the primary users?
- What is the client currently using by way of software, mobile apps, etc?
- Will the platform developed as part of this Digital Transformation project replace the client’s current technology?
- What platforms does the client intend to keep? Will integrations be required?
These are just some of the questions that a Digital Transformation development team will need to address during the discovery phase. The overarching goal is to learn as much as possible because this creates a foundation that will position the project for success.
Why is Client Engagement Important for Digital Transformation Success?
The information gleaned through this Digital Transformation phase is critical to success because it will inform all subsequent phases of the project. The discovery phase is where you establish a foundation for the Digital Transformation project and begin to flesh out the software requirements document. If something is omitted or overlooked during the critical discovery phase, it won’t be included in your platform.
The client and users are going to have insights and knowledge that the development team simply doesn’t possess. In order for the Digital Transformation to bring maximum benefit, that information needs to be conveyed at the very start of the project. This allows for the creation of a complete requirements document and the development of a platform that meets or exceeds all expectations.
Without client engagement during the discovery phase, the chances of project failure are rather significant because you are almost guaranteed to encounter problems such as the following.
Unplanned changes in project scope – The client is typically pulled in at various points during the development process and on these occasions, they may discover that a feature or functionality has been overlooked. Often, this is because the feature was never addressed during the discovery phase and as a result, it was omitted from the project’s requirements document.
Unexpected cost overruns – Those unplanned scope changes come with a price tag and if the required changes or additions are significant, that price may be rather steep.
Longer project timelines – If the scope is expanded, this may necessitate changes to the project timeline. That could be problematic, especially if the client is expecting the project to be completed by a very specific point in time.
Reduced ROI – If a platform is missing features or fails to align with the client’s needs in an effective manner, you’re not going to see a maximum benefit. That translates into a reduction in ROI.
Digital Transformation Phases and Continued Client Involvement
Ideally, client involvement should continue throughout the entire development process in order to ensure success. For example, client input and engagement is very important for the UI/UX design process because they’re extremely familiar with the users and how they will be engaging with the mobile app, software or other digital interface.
At 7T, we’re big proponents of client engagement. In fact, we go the extra mile during the discovery phase with company leadership available to perform site visits to observe operations and to gain new insights into the client’s Digital Transformation needs.
Digital Transformation for Maximum ROI
At 7T, we specialize in Digital Transformation, using a collaborative development process that engages the client from start to finish, Our many Digital Transformation service offerings include process automation solutions, enterprise software development for ERP and CRM systems (among others), along with SaaS development for web apps and mobile apps, amongst others. We have extensive experience working with cutting-edge technologies and we help our clients to achieve goals such as scaling by delivering exceptional results that are truly transformative for our clients and their companies.
We’re guided by the approach of “Digital Transformation Driven by Business Strategy.” As such, the 7T development team works with company leaders who are seeking to solve problems and drive ROI through Digital Transformation and innovation. We then provide collaborative, multi-phased and impactful Digital Transformation solutions.