Getting Digital Transformation Right and Promoting Collaboration
In the world of business, Uber has become the largest taxi company without owning any vehicles and Airbnb is the biggest accommodation provider without holding any real estate. Equally, more people access their daily news from Facebook than a traditional newspaper making it the most powerful media platform, but it does not actually create any content.
As consumers, our expectation levels are now ruled by instant gratification thanks to one-click ordering and having a wealth of movies or music on demand within a few swipes of our smartphone. Complexity and cumbersome processes are being replaced by simplicity in every area of our lives.
Only ten years ago, there was no iPhone, Netflix or Facebook. But in this relatively short time, we have lost household names such as Kodak, Polaroid, and Blockbuster video that all failed to adapt and evolve with the times. Because of the radically changing landscape, organizations across multiple industries are now under immense pressure to embrace a digital transformation project and prepare to disrupt before they are disrupted.
However, preparing for disruption is much more than just another buzzword, and it’s also about people, not just technology. Collaboration and engagement with relevant business stakeholders are critical to making any initiative a significant success.
The days of any organization sticking its head in the sand and blaming market conditions or everyone but themselves when disruption comes knocking is no longer going to cut it. We need to learn from the mistakes of those that failed to evolve and lead the way forward.
To put the magnitude of change into perspective, many leaders are already labeling the digital transformation as the beginning of Fourth Industrial Revolution or 4IR. We all know where we need to get to what we want to avoid. But this is a journey that we must all embark on together and understand how we overcome the inevitable obstacles ahead.
How can we improve chances of digitalization success?
Why do we need to take the digital transformation seriously? A recent report by SAP revealed that a meaningful commitment to digital is providing ROI that is becoming impossible to ignore. The report advised that digital initiatives lead to better profits for 80% of companies that pursue it and are also delivering greater employee engagement too.
Those that are Investing in their workforce are inadvertently ensuring they are adequately equipped to meet the challenges of tomorrow. Do not underestimate the importance of cultural change. Albert Einstein once said the definition of insanity is doing something repeatedly while expecting a different result. There are also few things more dangerous to an organization than the words “We have always done it this way.”
Even the most perfectly orchestrated digital strategy will fail without the buy-in from all employees. Tackling deeply ingrained beliefs and assumptions within a company are possibly the most challenging and important of all tasks. But it is imperative that everyone is on board and feels that he or she can contribute their ideas too.
Question the old way of doing things. It should be no surprise that business models or processes from 15 years ago are becoming irrelevant. Our world has dramatically evolved, and it’s time to innovate and think how we can do things differently to increase efficiencies. The process of transitioning into a digital business will naturally involve the creation and adoption of new business models. But this is an exciting opportunity rather than something to be feared.
Encourage Greater Collaboration. The introduction of new processes is not something that can be created by a handful of individuals and enforced in a dictatorial sense. Digitalization requires a joined-up approach that will need high levels of collaboration across all teams and departments.
Innovative Learning. A common mistake in business is the concentration on employee’s weaknesses rather than playing to their strengths. Advances in education technology are allowing organizations to move away from one size fits all approaches to learning and a greater emphasis personalized teaching to individual needs. Ensuring teams are armed with the right skills to drive digitalization forward is something that should not be overlooked either.
We cannot do everything ourselves. It’s easy to feel defeated by the notion that we don’t have all the skills we need in-house to complete our journey. Equally, the task at hand does not justify adding a new role either. Thankfully, advances in technology are removing this dilemma by providing a virtual pool of short-term contracting and freelancers with a unique and diverse range of skills at your disposal.
Admitting that we cannot do everything ourselves is a significant step forward in thinking differently. The ability to flex creative resources and secure skills as and when they are required will quickly deliver the elusive tangible results you have been searching for.
Digitalization is everyone’s business. Traditionally, too much process can stop people drifting from the script in front of them as they blindly work in silos without questioning anything. This is an ideal opportunity to bring all staff on a journey together where collaboration is the new currency.
Rather than just having a handpicked team of the major stakeholders, it’s crucial to actively encourage experimentation and continuous learning among all staff and ensure their voice is heard too. Brand ambassadors are possibly our greatest assets and will help deliver meaningful change within an organization.
A digital strategy should be about uniting both internal and external business stakeholders on a journey of collaboration. By transforming engagement, we can deliver a positive digital business experience to customers and employees.
To reach this brave new world, we need to change the thought process and organizational culture to align with the business requirements of a digital age and drive innovation. The process has no finite end-point and will involve a continuous improvement of everything that we do around our operational processes, business models, and end-user experiences.
As we evolve into a more digital business, I am confident that we can unlock value-producing opportunities. But, I am genuinely interested in your valuable insights during this digital era of change.
Please share your experiences by commenting below.