Motorized Mobility – AAA’s Digital Journey

By Adam Curtis

How does an American institution digitally transform without interrupting its ability to keep drivers safe? At the Gartner Application Strategies & Solutions Summit, AAA’s Josh Clements, Director, Digital Development, and our own EVP Scott Harris discussed this process, including the creation of engaging end user services, positioning IT at the center of business transformation and the overall journey to build a sustainable, innovative culture.

Below is a curated list of tips, insights and reflections Josh’s shared with the audience during his talk.

Q: Why has AAA digitally transformed?

A: The rise of digital and mobile has impacted each of our vertical markets, from roadside assistance to insurance. Many of our competitors are built with a digital-first mentality. They are starting from a position unburdened by 100+ years of legacy and leadership. We have to change the pace at which our IT organization builds, deploys and maintains applications. We recognized that if AAA wants to continue to lead, we have to transform and move IT a lot faster.

Q: What is the relationship between business and IT?

A: It’s always been, and continues to be the case, that business wants more than IT can deliver. We want to be as responsive as possible to their needs. To be better partners, we’re changing the relationship with the business by looking holistically. When building something new, we need to iterate on it fast. That way we can see quickly if it’s working and/or if it’s something we want to continue to invest in.

Q: What has been your focus throughout AAA’s digital transformation?

A: First, any digital transformation is a journey. It’s not something that really has a defined end. Our first step was realigning our IT organization by breaking down silos. This allowed us to work in a more agile way.

You need to set expectations for change while on your digital transformation journey. Communication with key stakeholders throughout the organization, not just in IT, is important for gaining buy in and showing your progress.

You can also score some early wins by focusing energies and budget on the most important products first. This shows you can still meet business commitments while going through change.

Q: How will AAA keep up the digital transformation momentum?

A: We’re starting to invest more in training our people. This way, they have the skills we need going forward. It’s a concerted effort to make sure we don’t fall behind on emerging technologies.

We will use data to see how an individual change will impact the entire organization. But, you can’t leverage that data until you collect it.

The key is looking across everything – technologies, process, programs, people – and identifying where we can simplify and streamline. If your tech stack is too sprawling, or you’re trying to be too many things to too many people, connecting everything becomes more difficult and you get slower, rather than faster.

Q: Is there any difference between digital transformation in a B2B or B2C enterprise?

A: In B2B or B2C, the concepts are the same. How do you build the organization to make things go faster? Regardless of your market or target customer, you need to find that sweet spot in the digital world. What do you want your company to be “when it grows up?”