Despite understanding the importance of technology for their organizations, leaders fail to adapt to the digital world. What does being digital in the modern era mean? What should organizations avoid when preparing for digital transformation? Is digital transformation just about technology, or is it driven by the people?
“90% of CEOs believe the digital economy will impact their industry, but less than 15% are executing on a digital strategy. ”
— MIT Sloan and Capgemini
DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION has become a buzzword. Every company is undergoing digital transformation, but only in terms of IT and infrastructure. Organizations place digital technology over business models, employees, work culture, mindsets, and customer needs- a huge mistake!
However, real transformation happens when organizations embrace technology, not for its own sake, but rather as a means to enhance customer experience and boost profitability.
To gear towards a digital change, organizations need to think beyond tools. Because now is the right time to shape the organization’s culture, guide employees through their digital journey and create a workforce that is willing to adapt to any change.
Why Should Organizations Care About Digital Culture?
According to a survey by Capgemini (2017), 6 out of 10 respondents in a survey cited culture as the main obstacle to digital transformation.
Many organizations fail to establish the right digital culture either because of inherent cultural differences or because of a lack of opportunities for employees to try new things and be rewarded for their efforts.
To address this issue, leaders need to create policies that facilitate the adoption of digital practices. They need to motivate their workforce to become digitally savvy.
Leaders, via their decisions and behaviors, must set the right tone for the success of digital transformation. They should formulate a strategic vision for digital transformation which can further be cascaded into specific actions for the rest of the employees.
Digital culture reshapes the way we interact, behave, think and communicate as people living in a digitally connected world. Hence, the right culture is essential to make the digital transformation successful.
Digital Transformation: How Failure to Change Impacts Organizations?
1. Inability to Surpass Customer’s Expectations.
Nearly every digital transformation initiative revolves around customer experience. Customers look for quick, responsive, and interactive solutions from brands they buy from/do business with. To succeed, organizations must exceed those expectations.
Instead of counting on media, devices, and apps to drive digital transformation, insights should be taken from the customer. When the consumer’s expectations are met, customer loyalty inevitably drives digital innovation and adoption.
If an organization strives to be fully consumer-focused at all levels, making the shift to a digital world happens naturally- affecting every touchpoint when it comes to customer experience.
2. Inappropriate Business Models
As technology continues to disrupt businesses, organizations need to be more agile. They must think like a technology company to transform their business digitally- A strategy that worked for DBS – the world’s best digital bank!
DBS bank which “operates like a technology company” has been transforming as early as 2014, when they decided to upgrade their core banking system. But things didn’t turn out the way as expected. After a crushing defeat, DBS sought inspiration from tech firms in order to transform digital assets into an advantage.
They learned from giants in the industry like Amazon, Google, Apple, Netflix, LinkedIn, Facebook. They revamped the organization to have a change-driven mindset. They created experiential learning platforms, redefined working, designed new offices, and motivated their employees to embrace innovation and experimentation.
The transformation they have undertaken is not just in terms of infrastructure but mindset, processes, analytics, quick decision making, agility, and so on.
A key factor in the success of DBS was the motto “technology is business and business is technology.” This led to creating platforms that brought people and technology together- via a shared strategy, objectives, and measures. This approach also contributed to the bank’s successful cultural transformation.
To stay ahead and succeed, businesses must embrace emerging technology, remain agile to adopt evolving business models, and above all, put customers at the center of every strategy.
3. Fixed Mindsets, Inability to Learn
How keen are employees to change their mindset to reap the benefits of digital transformation? Do they realize their responsibility? Are they motivated to transform?
It’s a leader’s duty to shift employees from what they are doing now to what they should be doing for the organization’s growth.
There is a need to help employees leverage new thought processes while solving business challenges. To be successful, leaders must communicate the benefit. This will make it easier for the team members to understand and further implement the change.
While technology is important, the underlying philosophy of digital transformation that leverages technology via a digital mindset is what makes a difference.
4. Rigid Leadership
Leaders with excellent leadership skills can do wonders for organizations; they can drive their teams to success.
Ineffective leaders, on the flip side, can do extensive damage. Their actions, or decisions, can hurt team spirit, employee motivation, and bottom-line performance.
Leaders need to be goal-oriented and understand the organization’s objective. If goals are not defined, any business will lack direction; hence their performance will suffer.
5. Lack of Dedicated Skills
To survive in the digital age, organizations need to upskill their employees. Because of the insufficiency of digital talent, not just the workforce, the organization struggles as well.
Hence, it’s in the organizations’ best interest to train their workforce in the necessary skills.
The top skills every organization needs for the digital age include Emotional Intelligence, Business Acumen Skills, Virtual Team Collaboration, Change Management Skills, Problem-Solving, Creative Thinking, Digital Literacy, etc.
6. Failure to Invest in Digitized Workflows
By digitizing workflows and documenting processes, organizations become more resilient. Additionally, embracing end-to-end digital workflows promotes easier collaboration, eliminates the scope of bugs, maximizes productivity- which in turn helps organizations better serve their customers.
To keep up with the changing times, organizations must immediately switch from manual, paper-based to digital processes and workflows.
Digital Isn’t a Thing to Achieve but an Era to Live!
“Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” — John F. Kennedy
The COVID-19 pandemic gave businesses a wake-up call to speed up their digital transformation. It urged them to move along an agile path.
Many, if not all organizations, have digitized at least a part of their operations to serve customers and safeguard employees. And this will continue to evolve even if the crisis ends.
Hence, it’s time for organizations to review and reinvent their operating model, processes, roles- all of which contribute to the culture, competencies, and mindsets.
The way different organizations define digital culture may vary from each other, but ultimately it all boils down to how their workforce incorporates digital skills into their daily lives. On the professional front, this means cultivating a digital mindset that maximizes business performance using the latest technology and skill sets.
While digital transformation poses great challenges, it presents tremendous opportunities for organizations willing to adapt, evolve and change!