A Story of Digital Transformation in Golf: Our Key Takeaways

The Delete team were in attendance at this year’s Sitecore Symposium conference in Florida in support of our client the R&A, in particular their UX and Design Manager, Karen Lyttle, who was presenting her talk ‘Finding the Fairway: A Story of Digital Transformation in Golf’.
Karen Little

Karen’s talk detailed the journey that the R&A had gone through for the digital transformation of The Open.com, in which the Delete team of course played a big part.

What’s more, as well as showcasing the development and eventual success of the project, in her presentation Karen also offered a number of key pieces of advice based on her experiences and learnings throughout this journey. We’ve recapped these for you below as our five key takeaways:

#1: Be Patient as Digital Transformation Doesn’t Happen Overnight

Karen knew that achieving a successful digital transformation for The Open wasn’t going to be easy - particularly with a significant workload and a large number of stakeholders. She understood that it would be a lengthy process and that there would be challenges and setbacks with potential unexpected issues cropping up.

The lesson here was to simply be aware that a digital transformation can be quite a culture shock for some in terms of timescale and that you should expect to experience a few bumps in the road.

#2: Be Realistic with What You’re Looking to Achieve

For Karen and the team, once the strategy phase had been delivered, it was clear that there was a lot of work to be done with a hard deadline that couldn’t be moved.

Her advice, which ultimately built on the last point, was to be realistic with what can be achieved within the time given. In addition, she recommended taking a phased approach as this can help make the workload more manageable and won’t see you compromise on quality.

#3: Create Building Blocks for the Future Rather than just Delivering an MVP

Despite the strict time pressures of the project, the team also wanted to ensure that they were creating something that had longevity. They weren’t just thinking about The Open for 2019, they had 2020 in mind for this digital transformation as well. So this meant creating a robust platform that would grow with the organisation’s digital ambitions, rather than quickly launching as an MVP.

What Karen recommended here was to essentially instil this mindset into any similar project you might be working on. In other words, to think about the future as much as the present for your platform.

#4: Know your Audience and Their Needs

With the ticketing platform, Karen and her team chose to adopt a mobile-first approach because their thorough research showed that over 52% of their digital audience were on mobile. This research proved invaluable and ultimately ended up being a very smart, worthwhile move.

With this Karen was championing the benefits of carrying out audience research as it can help you choose what approach you should take and what will be the most beneficial for you – much like with TheOpen.com.

#5 Make Sure your Stakeholders are Fully Engaged with the Project

Karen explained how she had an awkward run in with key stakeholder on the project when the new site went live. In short, the Director of Heritage asked where the ‘History of The Open’ section of the site had gone – as he was unaware that changes to it had been agreed and signed off during the strategy phase.

The advice Karen gave here was to make sure that all stakeholders are continually kept in the loop, especially on any bold decisions (like this one) that are made throughout a digital transformation process. She also stressed how important it is to keep everyone aligned on the strategy and that stakeholder expectations are managed on aspects which made lead to disagreements.

So if you’re about to embark on a similar project, be sure to consider the above advice and you may see similar levels of success to what the R&A have seen with theirs so far.

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