The Human(e) Side of Digital
Contrary to popular belief, digital transformation is not about technology. Rather, it is about getting your business ready to compete in the Digital Age. In fact, digital leadership is a state of mind. When you engage your people, educate your workforce, consider new business models, define a coherent strategy, and develop enhanced technology and data science skills, the technology will follow. On the other hand, if you choose to lead with technology and impose that technology on an organisation and workforce that isn’t ready, you generally end up disappointed.
By leading your digital transformation efforts with people, culture and skills, the technology will follow. It shouldn’t be the other way around. However, your people also need to buy in to your organisation’s digital transformation journey. This can be a challenge when staff see change bringing disruption and potentially eliminating roles. In these situations, it’s important to help your people understand that the world in which the company operates, and therefore the company itself, is changing, inevitably and at an unprecedented rate. If the company and/or its workforce resists, it will only hamper the company’s growth and success, the result of which will certainly be changes — possibly pushed by key stakeholders. However, as part of your digital transformation journey, if you focus on and look after your people, and if you prepare them for their and the company’s future, then they and your business will thrive.
Here’s another perspective: It is telling that few, if any, born-digital companies use the phrase “digital transformation.” Nor do larger organisations that have immersed themselves in transformation for more than a decade and have adopted an ongoing commitment to innovation. These companies continue to invest in new technologies, but the behaviours, mindsets and skills of their employees already are well-equipped to use, tinker with, optimise and capitalise on new systems and applications. Innovative thinking and new approaches are embedded in their culture and are driven from the organisation’s core. On the other hand, organisations that have yet to adopt a mindset for and commitment to transformation tend to invest more and more in new technologies and deploy initiatives without addressing core attributes around people and organisational culture, ultimately creating a digital “veneer” around the business that looks promising on the outside but fails to address shortcomings in this core.
Responsibility for managing the human aspects of digital transformation, which many are calling the next industrial revolution, extends to all levels and functions of the enterprise. Yet many organisations are failing to approach their digital initiatives in this manner. Organisations need to undertake what we call Human(e) Digital Transformation. This approach focuses on the many people and process elements of digital transformation that drive success but, in our experience, are overlooked too frequently.
In the paper, we look at some current and historical trends that provide key lessons for boards and management, and identify five keys of Human(e) Digital Transformation. Click on download button to know more.