If you're investing into digital platforms and solutions, channel shift will be an integral part of your strategy. But how do you figure out an appropriate budget?
Truly successful channel shift is a long journey - one that actually doesn't ever really end. There's always a new channel to develop or enhance, or new customers to keep shifting.
To understand what kind of budget you'll need to successfully deliver channel shift, there's a lot of factors to take into consideration...
Channel shift is something that will affect the entire business. So it is important to communicate across teams; gather as much info as possible to shape and steer the digital transformation for the mutual benefit of everyone.
By taking into account the entire company’s input from the offset, you shouldn’t have so many unexpected additions to the plan further down the line. Additionally, working collaboratively and demonstrating value in your plans will help to garner support across the board and thus more easily initiate sign-off. Read more about getting stakeholder buy-in over on our Franklin blog...
As with any new strategy, it is important to be flexible and have sufficient contingency funding to resolve unforeseen extra expenditure. It will also need to be a plan that is able to adapt to meet both short term and evolving long term goals, which inevitably mean slight changes in directions along the way.
Consider the implications of data
Data migration is one of the factors most commonly overlooked during channel shift budgeting. Data is an integral part of your marketing strategies and running of day-to-day services, so factoring in data migration to your digital transformation plan is imperative. The outlay may seem costly, but a safe and efficient data move is a worthwhile investment to ensure no data is lost or damaged in the process.
By putting the time and energy into this area early on, you can then actually use your data to inform decisions because you know it's accurate and up-to-date. Unlocking access to your data - things like customer behaviour, habits and patterns - can drive future innovation by streamlining processes around the end-user.
The cost of time
Whilst budgeting for new systems, software and outsourcing are all at the forefront of budget plans, considering the resources required internally and the time needed for an investment to a channel shift is another factor often overlooked.
Consider the hours required to implement the digital transformation and allocate funding accordingly. How large is the team you have set up to deliver the project? Is it big enough - will it need to expand in the future?
Invest in training & resource
As new systems and software are approved and put in place, it's worth investing in training for wider teams to see a smoother, quicker transition. Gaining the support of employees across the business will help to see a much more successful channel shift.
You also want to make sure you have the right people leading your channel shift project from the outset - this might involve training existing resource or employing new people that can bring in certain skillsets like business intelligence analytics or UX designers and developers. Channel shift involves many different areas of the business and your project is destined to fail if you don't have the right people to steer it.
Alternatively, you can use external agencies to fill gaps in your skillset and bring in wider expertise. Have a read of why working with a digital agency can do wonders for your organisation!
Your existing and future tech-stack
Another major element to consider when drawing up budgets - it might seem obvious - is the technology stack and integrations you'll require to realise channel shift.
If you're starting from scratch, you'll need everything that's going to drive digital behaviours - a new website, a self-service customer portal, an app, a chatbot, an email platform - on top of your existing Housing Management Software, payment systems, appointment booking applications, etc.
You might already have some of these set up but you'll need to consider whether they need optimising or refreshing to truly drive channel shift. And if you do have existing systems in place, how will they integrate into your new platforms for a seamless, end-to-end experience?
Enable Research & Development (R&D)Testing, research and development will be at the core of your digital transformation. You’ll need to continuously monitor and report on successes and pitfalls to shape and structure your ongoing plans. Certain elements will see a greater reward for your business and therefore may become a more prominent component - it all harks back to the need to be flexible and adaptable. Innovation will see the greatest reward.
Risk vs. reward
The core balance of your channel shift budget ultimately falls on this final point. Every strategy is a fine balance of pushing the boundaries and taking risks with the ambition of progressing and advancing your company for greater reward.
Channel shift is certainly a key strategy that can save you money and time further down the line. The fact that 26% of transformation budgets grew 'dramatically' as pandemic speeds up digital just shows the demand for digital is here and is a worthy, tried and tested strategy that is worthy of investment.
In considering each of the above steps, you should be successful in budgeting for a successful channel shift. But it may be worth considering working with a digital transformation agency to guide you through the process and help you to make the most of your budget.