There is a misconception that digital transformation is an IT project and the majority of the focus is on technology. But this could not be further from the truth.
When done correctly, digital transformation generates a change in individual behaviour that alters the way people interact, work and live. Thus it demands that businesses take great care in the methods used in attracting, engaging and retaining the best talent in order to stay competitive.
Furthermore, it is important to note that businesses cannot be operated without people, and likewise technology cannot run without people. Even with new technology such as AI and VR, a human implementing changes, installing updates on machines or training others on how to properly use the tools will still be required for the foreseeable future. Even AI as we know it is entirely dependent on humans training the machines.
In this blog, I will share key tips on how to successfully implement people as a critical component in a digital transformation journey.
*Approx 10 minute read
Who Is This Post For?
- Local business owners small to large
- Multi-unit brands such as franchise groups, dealer networks and national brands with a local presence.
- Any brand, whether you’re just starting in your digital journey or you’re advanced, this post is for you.
Commonly Asked Questions That I Will Address:
- What is digital transformation
- What are the steps to digital transformation
- What people’s roles are in digital transformation
- How to get the right people for a successful digital transformation
What is Going Digital?
Going digital is “the transformation of business by revamping the business strategy or digital strategy, models, operations, products, marketing approach, objectives etc., by adopting digital technologies. This accelerates sales and growth of the business from end to end.”
This process is fast becoming a competitive necessity for many businesses. Hefty and fast-moving technological advances coupled with swift market and competition changes and growing customer expectations are intensifying the need for companies to evaluate their business models, internal capabilities, and customer experiences.
Steps for Going Digital
- Embracing a culture of change
As previously mentioned, going digital, demands a change in the company culture. In such a fast paced technological world as today, businesses simply need to be in a state of constant revolution. Once any changes are made, then more follow and so on. It is important for businesses to build a momentum that is in tune with any new trends in the industry.
Having a culture of continuous change and evolution is key combined with a strategy of continuous improvement.
- Measure your KPI’s
In order to truly embrace continuous change, businesses have to analyse the methods by which they measure themselves – the key performance indicators (KPIs) as well as the analytics tools used. Establishing new KPIs that reflect fast-paced market trends, technological advances, as well as increasing amounts of data consumption and collection is vital nowadays. Likewise, reviewing any old and outdated KPI’s is just as important.
- Take action
Both of the above two steps are futile if no action is taken. It is imperative that change is embraced, measured and implemented. Furthermore, in going digital, the whole organisation needs to be in complete alignment with the changes taking place. The journey needs to become everybody’s job, everyone’s responsibility.
People’s Role in Digital Transformation
Without people, there is no business.
- Deeper Connection
People have the ability to connect on a deep level with each other, and ability that machines do not possess. This is especially important when looking at customer user experience – people make all the difference. Humans are capable of feeling emotions, can think and empathise. Thus, no business can completely substitute human nature with any form of technology.
- Critical Thinking
As technology is advancing at a rapid rate and massive amounts of data become available, there surfaces a vital requirement for thought-jobs. Roles such as strategist and analyst all require a human element to be successful. They require critical thinking and creative skills that technology simply does not possess. Machines can magnify the volume of data that can be processed, but it will require collaboration with humans to maximise the power analytics.
All humans are peculiar and therefore possess unique talents that your business needs to succeed. Who is going to fix that tech problem that occurs inside of your new productivity tool? Who is going to make suggestions based on the usability of your website? People will.
How to Get the Right People for a Successful Digital Transformation
According to TalentNow, 42% of employers are worried they won’t be able to find the talent they need.
Hence, businesses need to focus on creating a culture of happy, engaged workers that people want to be part of. To do this, businesses need to focus on any refinements they can make within the employee journey, from how to attract people to how to develop and engage them.
“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” – Steve Jobs
It is important to hire in accordance to where the business is headed, and not where it is currently. Real digital transformation needs resilient people that can handle continuous change, adapting and acquiring knowledge as they go. Preferably, the person hired is already digital savvy, eager to learn and contribute.
75 percent of the global workforce will be made up of millennials by 2025 — and one of the top things they expect in a job is a less constrained environment that can adjust to meet their needs. That means a business will need to allow autonomy within their workforce and provide the right tools they need to get work done on an individual level.
As automation eats up the easy, repetitive labor, human work will continue to become less routine, requiring people (and the technology supporting them) to be highly dynamic and agile. Be sure to give your employees the trust and ability to own and tweak their workflows, make decisions and even challenge old workplace policies.
Connect and Communicate
It’s simple – communication is key.
Employees need to be treated like a customer. Barking orders at your staff won’t deliver an effective digital transformation message, thus hindering the process. This means letting go of rigorous controls that have been in place for many years and really opening up your business.
In order to attract the right people and get the most from them, leaders need to be mentors as well as bosses. And this is why communication is so vital. When your employees feel valued and have a sense of growth, the digital transformation journey kicks up a notch.
Subsequently, businesses need to have healthier top-down internal communication, as well as horizontal peer-to-peer connections.
According to a study by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), 75 percent of businesses see digital transformation as their top priority. And by 2020, 60 percent of all enterprises will be in the process of implementing a comprehensive digital transformation strategy.
Change presents opportunities, and leaders see digital as a chance to improve their competitive position. Factors that will have the greatest influence on business digital transformation priorities are “areas where they can seize competitive advantage”.
With these figures in mind, it is imperative businesses focus on attracting the right people and nurture this talent though flexibility and communication. It’s perhaps the most critical — and most overlooked – success factor in digital transformation today.
To sum it up, digital transformation is technology enabled, but people led. Thus people have to be at the heart of any successful digital journey.
Leaders must put employees first because at the end of the day, people are the drivers.
By giving more autonomy, communicating effectively and focusing on people to people connection, the digital transformation process will run much more smoothly resulting in greater success.
To discuss how you can enhance your digital transformation journey with the right people as well as specific solutions I have developed, contact me today for a confidential discussion.