Design transformation can help software sector build for success

20 June 2023 6 min. read
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Software organisations are increasingly looking to the world of design transformation to provide more user-centred and human-centric approaches for enterprise software design. Experts from Super User Studio explain the concept, and how software companies are embedding the approach successfully.

Design transformation (or design-led transformation) refers to the process of improving the functionality, user experience, and overall value of a company, by reimagining, redefining and redesigning existing products, services, or systems. To do this, firms must apply new technologies, methods, and ideas to create innovative solutions.

At the same time, the concept necessitates the empowering of design teams to be able to realise innovations and ideas quickly, so the business can be responsive and agile to emerging challenges.

Super User Studio - Design transformation

Over the years, design transformation has taken many forms, depending on the context and goals of any given project. For B2B enterprise software businesses, the methodology often involves rethinking a software delivery model, making it more efficient, accessible, and responsive to the needs of its users.

However, in other cases design transformation requires a more drastic overhaul of a complete system or processes – defining, testing and creating a new solution from scratch.

Determining which kind of design transformation is the right fit for the priorities of a particular firm adds to the complexities of the process; especially by international enterprise software organisations which have not only their needs, but those of a wider business chain to consider.

If businesses succeed in pushing through this, it is clear that many firms reap the benefits of design transformation, while those which resist change often fall behind in the market.

What does design transformation involve?

One of the most important factors behind successful design transformation for enterprise software organisations is remembering to take a holistic approach. Working collaboratively to identify opportunities for improvement can develop creative solutions that address the underlying challenges. But like any transformation, changes that fail to involve multiple facets of the organisation – such as design, engineering, research, product development, marketing, customer support, stakeholders and leadership – can create silos of resistance.

To help ensure a holistic delivery, organisations may implement changes in structure, processes, and overall culture, helping to better enable design thinking and design-led decision making on all fronts. Among the tactics that this can involve, firms may invest in design talent, redefine the role of individuals, or create cross-functional teams which involve designers, along with incorporating user research and testing into their design processes.

At the same time, organisations looking to apply design transformation methodologies will have to secure company-wide support and buy-in from the start. Only then can they ensure a successful transformation, which truly futureproofs the organisation.

What benefits does it have for enterprise software firms?

At the heart of design transformation, the concept aims to create a more user-centred and human-centric approach to the design of enterprise software. This leads to not only enabling organisations to create products and services that are functional, but also engaging for the people who have to use them. That comes with notable benefits across many of a firm’s functions – from employee engagement, to customer satisfaction, to agility and the ability to marketise change.

Organisations can expect to see positive boosts in the following areas:

More intuitive user experience
Enterprise software organisations can use design transformation to create software that is more user-centric and easy to use. Thanks to this, the software is likely to enjoy increased user satisfaction, while reduced the cost of training required to use it – enabling greater efficiency and improved productivity.

Boosted customer loyalty
Focusing on design helps enterprise software organisations to create software that really focuses on customers’ needs and Alongside the previous point, this can lead to a greater level of customer loyalty and competitive advantage among a firm’s client base.

Better decision-making
Design transformation also assists enterprise software organisations build software which can better-provide actionable insights. This can support users in making better decisions, boosting business outcomes and increased revenues.

Quicker time-to-market
By empowering agile decision-making, design transformation allows software organisations to capitalise on new opportunities. By streamlining and speeding up their development processes, they can stay ahead of the competition.

Tighter collaboration
The involvement of designers from the very start of the development process, enterprise software organisations can foster a culture of collaboration and cross-organisational Thanks to this, firms can enjoy improved communication, increased innovation, and better results.

Next steps

Overall, then, design transformation is presents a major opportunity for enterprise software organisations create software that is more user-centric, competitive, and profitable. But how can organisations looking to benefit from design transformation get started?

Firms looking to transform should consider the following stages:

Audit to build objectives
Defining the aims of a transformation before it begins is crucial to success. Organisations should audit their business model and analyse current capacity to identify strengths and weaknesses, which the goals of the transformation can be built around. Then, a strategy can be developed to reach those end-points.

Team development
As cross-functional work is an important part of design transformation, the organisation must establish a dedicated cross-functional team, or appoint design leaders within existing teams to drive the transformation throughout the company.

Internal stakeholder buy-in
Securing company-wide support and buy-in requires communicating the benefits of design transformation and involving stakeholders in the process. This also enables elements of the business in need of greater support – such as design software and training programmes – to secure the necessary resources for success.

Iterative launch
The transformation should be carried out in phases. This helps to build clear metrics established to measure progress and success – with early targets being low-hanging fruit to help build an early sense of momentum. On the way to those early goals, continuous evaluation and adjustment are essential to ensure that the design transformation is delivering the required benefits already established.

These steps can help those embracing design transformation to ensure they are adaptive to changing market and user demands, while also boosting value creation for customers and stakeholders. But for best results, organisations should seek guidance of an external expert or advisor in the area, with experience from with similar businesses on their design transformations.