Fernando Fischmann

How To Get Digital Transformation Right? Don’t Just Focus On The Technology

23 January, 2019 / Articles

Business leaders are often heard talking about the transformation their organization is going through and how they’re becoming a tech company:

You’re going to see big changes ahead.

There’s going to be a major change management process focused on technology.

It’s going to drastically improve how you work and what our company does.

But with all the focus on digital transformation, we end up missing something that’s really important—How you actually get there? Embarking on a digital transformation should not be about the ‘big bang’ innovation. Rather, it should be about the journey. If anything, the focus really should be on the thousands of small steps that you, your co-workers, and your leadership take to collectively evolve your organization.

Here are three important steps that every business leader can take to ensure that their company’s digital transformation journey is successful:

Bring your people on every step of the digital transformation journey.

Adopting AI, data analytics, and other new technologies alone is not what’s going to give your company the competitive edge. And with every company doing the same thing, where does the differentiation lie?

The differentiator is your company’s people.

Your employees are your most important advocates for creating change both inside and outside your organization. That’s why you have to invest in and communicate with them to show them how they’ll benefit from their own personal digital transformation journey and why they should come along for the ride.

For many, this is why companies should be investing in the digital upskilling of all our people—because they believe their skills are critical to our success as a firm but also their success as individuals. But more important than any app or tech-skills training program is to communicate clearly and often to your employees about why and how changes are being made, and how these changes actually benefit them. It is a leader’s job not just to make decisions but to inspire people at a personal level to take action. Regular, transparent communication on the benefits of change, opportunities for feedback, and a call-to-action for employees will help build trust with them and help ensure that they opt-in to your organization’s digital transformation journey.

Listen to your customers and know what’s happening around you.

More technology is not necessarily better. The technology that your organization develops or implements must be focused on improving your customer experience because today’s customers want a better experience that is digital and they want it at a lower cost. And this can only be achieved by listening. Remember your customer is always right—or at least right about what they want—so not listening to them is a missed opportunity.

But listening to your customers is only one part of what makes this successful—paying attention to the changes happening in the world around you will also ensure you are developing your products and services to fit the needs of the future. Often, leaders become laser-focused on their industry or sector—and they don’t see what’s happening around them. As a result, they end up missing big opportunities to re-imagine what their companies are capable of doing. Meet with customers and clients regularly, and action what they are telling you. Be curious and study macro social and economic trends. Put people to work forecasting trends and how they affect your business and your customers. And make sure your people have the freedom to be creative and to innovate.

Lead with your core values and purpose.

As organizations become digital and as people gain tech-enabled skills, it’s easy to get distracted by these shiny things and forget about the core values and purpose that lie at the heart of your organization. But you can’t forget it’s your core values that guide the way you work and the decisions you make to fulfill your organization’s purpose. And frankly this is even more important as you navigate the path to becoming a digital company.

For example, people often say that technology is supposed to be the great equalizer because it connects communities, provides free knowledge, and creates jobs in a new digital economy. But without real leadership and a strong sense of purpose to serve your customers and society-at-large, we won’t be able to ensure that technology will benefit everyone.

That’s why at PwC the company is investing in the digital upskilling of its workforce to ensure that their people are able to thrive in the future, regardless of whether they stay at the firm or not. It’s also why they’re leveraging technology and people to give back to their communities. They’ve developed programs that allow newly tech-enable workforces to support students, educators, and nonprofits. So instead of painting a physical school, they can build digital ones where teachers and students can come together to learn about data science, robotics, financial literacy, and other critical career and life skills.

Ultimately, digital transformation is about much more than the technology you implement or where you ultimately end up. It’s about investing in a digital mindset and culture of learning with your people. It’s about building a brand of trust. It’s about integrating a digital approach with your core values and purpose. The most important thing is to focus on the small steps because it’s in these steps where the digital transformation really happens.

The science man and innovator, Fernando Fischmann, founder of Crystal Lagoons, recommends this article.



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