Digital Transformation Is About People, Not Technology

According to an article published in The Economist, “the infusion of data-enabled services into ever more aspects of life”, shall be the most evident consequence of the enduring Covid-19 pandemic. Digital transformation is expected to have greater importance for companies in the future, very shortly.

A 2019 survey of CEOs, directors and some senior executives discovered that their #1 concern was risk involving the digital transformation. However, 70% of their initiatives towards this motion failed to meet its goals. Of a whopping $1.3 trillion spent on the new endeavors in 2019, unfortunately, $900 billion was wasted.

Why?

Fundamentally, digital transformation teams fail, despite the possibilities for growth and efficiency gains, as people lack the mindset to a shift. With flawed organizational practices, it is extremely difficult to transform completely. Moreover, digitization would magnify the flaws, only to make it appear bigger.

What is Digital Transformation?

When you bring in a new system into an organization, it is only obvious to get a little hyper with the plans for implementation, specification, and counting.
Digital change is one of the most critical processes today, which ensures organizations are relevant as well as profitable in this competitive market.
The process involves integrating innovative technologies and services into existing business practices and streamline operations. The idea is to improve and add greater value to the final product. This involves adding new tools and applications, storing data, recording information, and a lot of new techniques.

That’s of course, the digital aspect of things. But, if you spare a thought, we are talking about “transformation”, which means introducing innovative ways to work with the existing team.

Tricky, right!

Anybody would be willing to buy a new set of digital suites with the latest tools, but who would run it? The key here is to ensure that the talent, or people, onboard, and the company culture is prepared to adapt. A successful transformation is change management, and people can only make it happen.

Getting Your Team Involved

Any change is difficult. If you want to introduce major changes in your organization, you have to ensure everyone is with you, and not only your leadership team. Yes, you cannot let the team take big decisions for the organization, but involving your team in a process can give better results.

A McKinsey study showed that whereas 84% of the CEOs are dedicated to major transformation changes, only about 45% of the frontline employees agree. Obviously, connecting the dots is a primary obstacle to enact a successful strategy.

There are many ways to achieve this:
• Take feedback from the team about the changes you implemented
• Keep your team abreast of the implementation strategy
• Incentivize the team with internal marketing to convince new technology to the most reluctant team member

Transformation to the digital landscape can be potentially beneficial to an organization, but only if every single team member agrees and accepts the change. Make sure you have a positive digital transformation team that understands why it is important to adopt new technology and its benefits.

Invest & Train Your Team

Going digital would have hurdles. Some of the team members may not be as tech-savvy as others. However, you cannot leave them behind. To bring them up to that level, a lot of training is required to help them adapt to the latest technology and tools.
Remember, people have different ways of learning too, and speeds may differ. For instance, some team members may understand the concept in one demo session, whereas others may require multiple days of training to get a grip of the new technology.

Experiment with varied training materials, such as online courses and hands-on learning, and give them the flexibility to choose how they want to learn.
It may take some time to learn how to use new technology for better results, especially for team members who do not possess the natural inclination towards technology. Investing in training is a sure-shot way to leverage this transformation.

Digital Transformation Framework Doesn’t Change Everything

The digital transformation framework is not about changing everything at once.
When you start transforming the business, getting carried away is easy. However, it’s critical to know about the technologies to adopt. You may consider the one that employees would find easier to implement, and being selective to choose the best way.
Anything that glitters is not better. When you are planning to transform your business processes digitally, it is only to simplify the work process and facilitate your team members. So, do not make it complicated. If you have any doubt about the changes, consult the frontline staff.
For instance, if you want to adopt a new platform for online communication, but you cannot decide between Zoom, Teams, and Slack, consult your staff and take their opinion.

Broaden Your Vision

Do not have a myopic vision when it comes to a major transformation. Digital transformation services aim to make lives simpler and better. A successful transformation strategy is about introducing new changes into the business to make it more efficient and reduce employee workloads.

If executed properly, such a digital revolution can lead to improved working practices, increases value of customers, and lesser workload for the team. If your digital move is not ticking all the boxes, something is amiss.

Bring Change Right from the Top

The concept of grassroots change is intuitive. However, in reality, change is more likely to take place if driven right from the top. Again, that does not indicate a hierarchical or autocratic structure or a culture that breeds fear. It simply implies leadership, both transformational and transactional.

When digital change is concerned, the primary implication is that no major change or even an upgrade to the organization is possible unless you select and develop the top leaders to start. It’s very clear that leadership, both good as well as bad, flows down to affect every aspect of an organization. The single most factor that determines the effectiveness of the transformation of an organization is the CEO or the top leader of an organization. Of course, industry, culture, context, legacy, people, and real tech matter, just like other resources.

However, these things are rather too similar among competitors, while values, mindset, integrity, and competence of senior-most leaders stand out to be the primary differentiating factor. Needless to add, everything in an organization can be imitated, but not talent. So, invest in the best talent for greater impact, which is exactly where you would get the highest value.

Final Thoughts

Technology is all about doing a lot more with minimum resources, yet the arrangement is effective only when technology is paired with the best human skills. Like technological disruption leading to automation and eliminating out-of-date jobs, it has created more jobs. This is precisely why innovation is also called ‘creative destruction.’ Any creative facet of innovation depends on people. So, leveraging human adaptability to upskill and reskill the workforce can augment technology and humans simultaneously. Simply put: a brilliant innovation would be irrelevant if we do not have enough skilled workforce to implement it, and the most inspiring human minds would be least useful if they do not connect with technology. The core implication is – when leaders want to invest in new technology, they should consider investing in people who make technology useful.

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