Membership organisations play a vital role in the communities they serve: offering valuable information, resources and services; raising public awareness of specific issues and sectors; and fostering vibrant and engaged communities of like-minded individuals. However, in today’s rapidly-changing digital landscape many of these organisations may feel ill-equipped to make the most of new technologies and trends – while at the same time facing increasing pressure to deliver the value needed to stand out from the wealth of information now available to members online, as well as compete with the high-quality experiences they’re being exposed to in other areas of their lives.
For many that find themselves in this situation, this is the result of legacy working practices that have left them constrained by operational siloes, with one hand not knowing what the other is doing. The challenge is often exacerbated by the different demands placed on membership organisations, which see heads of departments – from member services and online communities through to content and publications – seeking to balance achieving their own particular goals with serving the overarching needs of the organisation.
This can lead to an inefficient use of resources, as teams focus on solving their own challenges unaware of any potential solutions that may have been developed elsewhere – or indeed whether they could address similar needs from outside their department in the process of defining their own solution. And, perhaps even more importantly, a siloed approach can negatively impact the member experience too. Without the ability to join up common user journeys and share data on preferences and interactions, the full value of membership may not be effectively communicated or realised, leading to lower satisfaction and engagement levels, and even reduced member bases.
What, then, can be done to resolve these issues?
It’s clear that direction is needed at a high level if membership organisations are to achieve a coordinated, unified strategy that allows them to effectively capitalise on digital opportunities. While the extent to which this can be achieved will depend on the time and additional resources individuals can commit to the initiative, ideally all digital activity should be overseen by an executive or C-Suite board. The board should also be cross-disciplinary, to provide a unifying link between departments, encourage collaboration, and foster an awareness of core business requirements – making sure, of course, to keep members at the heart of all activity.
By switching focus in this way, siloes can be broken down to facilitate the creation of an organisation-wide digital transformation roadmap that involves team members from all departments and at every level – ensuring they are part of defining the solution as well as implementing it to help secure buy-in and ensure a smooth transition. Additionally, with the backing of a high-authority board any roadblocks can be removed swiftly and efficiently before they become major challenges, to support the speed, flexibility and decisiveness needed to maintain momentum and stay ahead of emerging threats and opportunities.
Effective leadership is at the heart of a successful digital transformation – one that delivers long-term benefits for your members and your business alike, and safeguards your position in the face of increased competition from both within and outside the industry. It’s important to remember though that the ultimate objective of a digital strategy is to get to a point where it actually isn’t needed as a standalone initiative. Rather, digital should become embedded into every aspect of your organisation, and fully integrated with your wider business strategy – ultimately becoming the standard way of doing things, as it most likely is for the majority of your current and prospective members.
If you want to learn more about the qualities of a digitally-engaged leadership team, along with the other key considerations that must be addressed during an organisation’s digital transformation journey, download our latest white paper on Digital Transformation for the C-Suite, from Box UK Managing Director Benno Wasserstein.
To learn more about the key considerations that must be addressed during your membership institution’s digital transformation journey, watch our webinar “Demystifying your digital transformation: practical steps towards achieving your goals”. In the presentation, delivered at this year’s MemCom conference, our consultants explain how to establish a single (globally understood) vision for your digital transformation, as well as how to onboard teams and install ‘change champions’ to ensure success.