Digital transformation, the top priority in most businesses’ book, and a necessity in the fast-paced technological era that we find ourselves in, is not a task that can be completed overnight and definitely not one that can be performed following a fixed number of steps. Quite the opposite actually; this process, in its multifaceted nature, implies important changes that impact the company that resorts to it, on all levels.
In this sense, we must highlight that these transformations take place not only in terms of equipment and software, but also affect the way in-house employees perform operations, carry out activities, and even alter their views on different matters. However, one may still be tempted to assume that digital transformation is all about implementing new technologies, acquiring the latest equipment and tools, and making use of them in order to reduce time-to-market, optimize processes, increase efficiency, and gain competitive leverage.
But they couldn’t be more wrong. Digital transformation revolves around people, who lie at the heart of this process and who dictate the unspoken rules surrounding it. And when we say “people”, we’re referring to both consumers, because we are living in the customer era after all, and employees, who work within the company that’s embarking on this transformative journey.
The latter play a great role in the successful implementation of digital transformation, and speaking to them first, when thinking about bringing such important changes, is crucial. Some will perhaps view the process with suspicious eyes, while others may even see it as a threat and be vehemently opposed to it, and these are exactly the employees that you should have the most empathy for.
With this in mind, explaining and requesting in-house specialists’ opinions on the matter of such significant transformations that can potentially take place, is a must, and will give management an opportunity to put reluctant internal employees’ minds at ease. Going forward, showing personnel that their feedback is valued, will make working relationships stronger, and will gain in-house employees’ trust in management’s ability to make the right decisions.
Nevertheless, part of asking employees what they think about implementing new technology within the company, is about identifying those who are enthusiastic about the subject as well. By doing so, businesses will be able to appoint a leader, whose voice will guide its hesitant colleagues through the uncharted waters of digital transformation. His mission is smooth things over, by contributing to the shift in specialists’ mind-set and inspiring them to play an active role in change.
In addition to choosing this guiding voice, companies must also be mindful of the importance of training. Because specialists who are used to carrying out tasks in a specific way, and have been doing so for a while, may have a hard time learning new practices. For this reason, businesses should provide their personnel with thorough training and instructions, and make sure employees are aware of what it expected of them.
However, such training sessions are not nearly enough; leaders should also be working on creating a business culture, that revolves around knowledge sharing and openness towards innovation. In this type of environment, employees will be more inclined to seek assistance and ask questions, rather than be moving on with unclear notions. Adding to this, a climate that allows for failure is also beneficial; in-house specialists mustn’t be afraid to learn from mistakes, because they’re bound to happen in the beginning.
But enough about personnel, as we have mentioned before, digital transformation is about consumers too; they are the ones that dictate change and whose expectations must be met at the end of the day. And taking their needs into account is key to a successful digital transformation. Thus, understanding their consumers is critical for businesses who wish to make the most out of their digital transformation journey.
In this regard, for a better understanding of customers’ demands and wishes, companies should study trends, make use of customer analytics, and keep an eye on their competitors too. Clients’ feedback is also important and may provide valuable answers as regards to past and future decisions that management has or should be taking.
Companies that understand the fact that people lie at the heart of digital transformation, will be most likely to succeed in choosing and implementing the right digital solutions. Supporting in-house specialists, asking for and listening to their feedback, appointing a leader who will inspire and motivate employees, along with understanding the way consumers think and being aware of and anticipating their needs, are all aspects that businesses who understand that digital transformation is about people first, need to take into account.
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