“What if THAT CHANGE you’re avoiding is the one that gives you WINGS…”
Synchronizing with the Era of Digital Transformation, businesses are fast embarking on a transformative initiative. The rise of emergent technologies like machine learning, AI, chatbots, IoT, big data and the blockchain technology are fundamentally altering every facet of corporate and social landscape; transforming the established business practices and operations. However, on a broader connotation, it extends much beyond technological evolution, it encompasses strategy, people, and business processes. Thus, when Technology is seen as the tool, ‘WE’(Humans) are the engines.
Digital businesses like Netflix, Uber, Airbnb which didn’t even exist until 2008 are now considered as multibillion dollar businesses created by digital disruption. Netflix expanded itself across the globe, in less than a decade - roughly ten times faster than Disney or Time-Warner did!
Enterprises nailing it aren’t the ones waiting to see how trends play out but the ones who foresee what is coming next and aggressively taking steps towards it. According to a research by Capgemini, the greatest barriers that the enterprises are facing in accelerating the digital transformation doesn’t revolve around the technology itself, but the cultural change required to extract value from it.
Do you wish to drive change or be driven by it? How do you create a culture that serves to promote the digital transformation?
(1) Collaboration not Competition
The key is to make the most of the ‘man and machine’ collaboration. More importantly, this can have positive and tangible impact on organization’s employees- from freeing up their time for higher value or to increase productivity by making the work more enjoyable. Thus, this concept of people and technology working symbiotically, and not competitively is at the very heart of digital transformation.
For instance, an elevator giant deployed Microsoft’s HoloLens to assist the elevator engineers/technicians at work. The technicians can always connect to their experts who can show them what to do if they are connected via HoloLens which makes their jobs easier.
(2) Embracing fear in an organization
Holding on to the notorious ‘L’ word – Legacy is holding organizations back from flourishing. The millennials have a very distinct mindset in comparison to digital latecomers in their attitude towards respect for hierarchical organization structures, their comfort with technologies, attitude towards privacy and adherence to regulations. Organizations need to redefine their core people ideologies to live up to the expectations of the smart phone generation. The desired employee attributes today are shifting to innovation, adaptability and learnability; former one being skills, experience and execution abilities. However, the greatest barrier to the legacy system is time and efforts required to make changes in the long-established companies with several generations of IT systems with restricted enterprise-wide integration.
It is very important to shift the ethos to a shared struggle where mistakes are unavoidable, and your team mates and organization have your back. By creating a surrounding where the employees can freely voice their concerns, feedbacks and collaborate with technology, we can likely create a culture where fear is recognized, sensitively tackled and ultimately overcome.
Embracing fear promotes open culture, facilitating employee partnerships and here technology can be viewed to enhance and advance human motives.
(3) Demonstrating value of the strategy/ethics/structure/ in an organization
Innovation isn’t something that is made and handed over to different people. It is something that evolves in a process of discussion and experimentation. Although, the vision and strategy may be built-in the board room but conclusively, it must be driven from ground to the top for it to succeed for longer term. Precisely, that means providing employees with required time and resources to test, develop and report new ways of working on real scenarios.
Generating a deeper sense of involvement in the transformation journey amongst the employees is highly essential to make them feel more involved and valued in an organization, they are more likely to adopt the mindset of ‘why wouldn’t we?’ than ‘why should we?’ which would push them confidently to try something new which will in turn improve their tasks and performance.
(4) Living Agile
In digital age, agile and adaptive technology infrastructure and systems are critical enablers. To invade this digital shift, organizations must consider swapping the conventional ‘command and control’ structures in favor of agile approach that will distribute decision-making. Organizations, today, needs to thoroughly evaluate their portfolio of IT infrastructure and systems to develop the right architectural blueprint for a digital enterprise.
Back in 2014, the UK based train operating giant made cumulative losses of £6 million. By engaging and communicating better with its workforce; deploying and using tools like Microsoft Office 365, creating a SharePoint repository, they have become more agile in their thinking and have transformed to a thriving company from being a loss-making one.
(5) Respecting your Ecosystem
Regardless of the size of the organization, it is crucial to understand the political, ethical, regulatory and stakeholder ecosystems in which new technologies will operate because that will help us evaluate how and where to implement them. It is not possible to create an agile digital culture in silos rather it should be sought holistically, covering all the components-internal and external.
Just as the caterpillar sheds its cocoon to spring as a butterfly, organizations need to shed the burden of the legacy processes, people, strategies along with the technologies to emerge as a digital enterprise. The digital transformation is neither an instant procedure nor is painless one, but is very crucial for the long-term sustainability and survival of the organization.
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