People, processes and culture: building the foundations for digital transformation

Gill Andrew

Digital Transformation

In an era characterised by rapid technological advancement and shifting customer demands, businesses have two choices: evolution or extinction. In the space of a decade, digital transformation has soared in the list of leadership priorities, with 76% of CEOs viewing the speed of technological change as a threat to their growth prospects and 38% “extremely worried”, according to PwC’s 2018 CEO Survey.

Leaders know they need to move faster; they acknowledge the power and potential of cutting-edge digital tools in driving efficiencies and enhancing operations. Eager to jump on the digital bandwagon and avoid getting swept under the wheels of change, organisations are often too quick to make sweeping changes to infrastructure without building the non-negotiable foundations to successful transformation: people, processes and culture.  

Defining digital transformation  

If your business is to reap the benefits of a true digital solution, it’s simply not enough to buy new technology without determining the intended impact and effect on all functions of the organisation. If your aim is to deliver a more effective way of working, your focus should be fixed on the people who will be affected and the new processes that will need to be implemented. Will they make things faster, or a team more efficient, for example?   

In our work with companies across multiple sectors, we often see mass-adoption of several platforms that serve similar functions in one department – it’s a classic case of adopt first, ask questions later, one that can be counterproductive despite the benefits of each individual solution. The lesson here is that technology should not be viewed as a silver-bullet that can solve all your problems, and transformation should not be one static goal. Given the fast-paced nature of technological progression and ever-changing customer expectations, digital transformation should be treated as the on-going act of improving the business, driving growth and profitability. 

Encouraging cultural evolution  

If your workforce isn’t ready for change and the company has no industry-oriented roadmap to guide it or objectives to steer towards, transformational change could result in loss of productivity, not to mention low staff morale. Prior to presenting and implementing solutions, companies must take a step back to assess their place in the transformation journey, create both immediate and long-term goals and assess which project investments will help them in achieving digital maturity.  

The aim should not be “keeping up with the Joneses” – in fact, what digital transformation means to one company will be completely different for another. Once you’ve determined what it will look like for your organisation, it’s essential to consider what culture you will need to make it a reality. True digital maturity demands a business-wide culture with the flexibility and agility to achieve growth; it requires leadership, governance and talent management process to support progress.  

Clear communication of your goals and intentions with regard to organisational culture should go without saying, and letting your employees weigh in on such decisions will undoubtedly help in encouraging behavioural change. Taking a collaborative approach will encourage joined-up thinking.  

Preparing for impact 

Technology underpins the success of a digital strategy by enabling people to work more effectively and ensure an impeccable customer experience. However, digitally maturing organisations understand the need to prioritise the attraction, recruitment and development of digital talent. In these companies, talent development often exceeds traditional training – instead, they create compelling environments for achieving career growth ambitions.  

At the end of the day, transformation won’t be achievable if you don’t have the people in place who can get to grips with new tools and are willing to get on board with organisational change.   Similarly, companies who rush to implement solutions without a roadmap that addresses the operational changes necessary can find themselves suffering decreased efficiencies, increase in chaotic work environments and revenue loss.  Establishing clearly defined processes and communicating them to each and every member of staff is fundamental in creating connectivity across the business.  

When we work with companies at OJO Solutions, we often start with a meeting involving key stakeholders. Find the people who can tell you what you’re doing well and how you can improve. Understanding what you need to change and why will help to focus your efforts.  

Together, we help companies identify the areas where productivity is slowing, and costs are mounting up. If you’re looking for an experienced consultancy team to guide you through digital transformation,  get in touch with a member of the team today by emailing hello@ojosolutions.com or phone 01225 220155. 

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