The very first step of the digital journey is all about asking the right questions. This allows us to envisage what the journey will look like — not only for our clients but for their customers too.

"We immerse ourselves in our clients' worlds to fully understand their business goals and aspirations. Part of this process is stakeholder interviews, during which we find many of our clients have a broad idea of what they want to achieve but lack focus. We identify common themes through contextual enquiries to solve the customer needs and business goals," says digital strategy director Brandon Fairweather. 

We help customers articulate what they want to achieve, which is sometimes a challenging task in itself. This is done through collaborative exercises that build up a collective knowledge base aimed at reaching shared objectives. Adopting a solution-led approach and falling in love with customer problems are key to developing products that build business value.

Business director Marsh Middleton says that this is identifying the sweet spot where design comes in and customer centricity and user experience is of vital importance.

Once established, the process evolves strategically with a mutually agreed-upon approach to how the journey will progress. Strive to integrate highly complex technical systems with customer experience to ultimately serve business needs in a simple and intuitive way. It's about people-centricity and using technology to enable that.

Creating the idea

A seamless transition from this initial discovery phase is important when starting the technology build, though this phase remains experimental.

"From a design perspective, we ideate and test concepts to outline what solutions will look like. Keep the customers in the loop at every step, at a feature-by-feature level," says Fairweather.

"The approach is not just to adopt technology but to understand what is going to work best for the customer in the long term. The recommendation not only needs to match but also exceed the customer's expectations," says head of digital Matthew Crockett.

"Broaden perspectives to really look at what this means for the client's customer. Consider the entire process and remain focussed on people at every step. Sometimes the perfect technology is not adaptable for the client, but this is why you can adapt and pivot pretty quickly," adds Crockett.

"This is an integrated and living process — a journey of prototyping design, learning and bouncing off the client to make sure you deliver the best possible solution for them," says Crockett. 

"People don't like change. It is a complex environment and there are 'unknown unknowns', but it's about building a relationship of trust with the client, so learning as we go is okay. We're all focusing on the same goal and there is always room for creativity and change," Crockett adds. 

Look to build that relationship and foundation to success with the client from the very start so that the process through the journey is about executing the dream of the customer.

The magic lies in the passion of team members, who are committed to building the right thing. Each part of the team comes together with unique specialised skills bringing together tech and design.

That's truly where creativity and innovation come from because they are constantly challenging each other to deliver the best.

Deep dive into the tech and design

The various stages of the journey are not disparate; everything is interlinked, and we should consistently reflect as we build the solution.

"Looking at digital transformation holistically from tech to design to build," says digital principal Daniel Horne. "Continuously engage with the customer to ensure that they are comfortable with each step of the process."

For clients who prefer a 'just get things done' approach, try to pull them into the conversation more because that is the only way to ensure that you deliver on the expectations that they have.

"Communication is key; request that project managers are frequently involved in stand-ups. This enables you to adapt and pivot quicker, avoiding any delays in the process," says digital principal Aleshan Maistry.

During deployment, use this process to create a comfortable space where the client is happy with what you ultimately want to deliver. Make changes, create a framework and align to the design so that the client can visualise the end product.

At this stage, there is greater flexibility for modifications. During production, identify and rectify bugs. Even with proactive expectation management, challenges can still arise in addressing bugs. It's about recognising the iterative nature of the process, building trust and confidence with the client and demonstrating that value will be delivered at every step towards the ultimate goal.

"Developing communication skills is also really important when it comes to establishing the relationship with the client," says Horne.

"The priorities of the team change when you get to the go-live stage. The focus is on adding features as it is now a solution that people are already using, so it's about maintaining what has been built and making sure it is running effectively," adds Maistry.

Reflecting on a storyboard is the final step, where you illustrate your progress and your vision for the future. This not only excites customers but also motivates your team to advance applications, generate innovative ideas and truly disrupt the field.

"Learn at every step of the way with your clients," concludes Maistry. 

It's an exciting space to inhabit — building innovative technologies that generate business value.

For more information, visit You can also follow Synthesis on Facebook, X or on Instagram.