The world is a digital place and businesses need to digitally transform to ensure customer satisfaction, improve how efficient they are and remain competitive both in terms of their market place and their talent.
As such most businesses are keen to digitally transform, but we know from experience that wanting or planning to digitally transform a business is one thing whilst making it a reality is another and the biggest barrier is often regarded as lack of skills but is it? It’s a natural assumption that any digital transformation will largely be down to IT and digital teams within a business and that if the right skills are deployed into that team then digital transformation will happen but if that was really the case why do so many digital transformations fail?
Any change which is taking place across a whole organisation arguably needs the buy-in of the whole organisation, we’ll use an international business that we’re aware of as an example and which has in the past five years installed a team with the sole purpose of Digital Innovation, providing solutions into the business which ‘transform’ ways of working, experiences for customers and more, this is a team full of skilled professionals and yet very few of these technologies are adopted into the wider business – and why? Because although this business ‘wants’ to digitally transform and has invested significantly in the skills to do so, the organisational buy-in simply isn’t there, there is no communication about projects which often aren’t even allocated a project manager unlike other cross organisational changes and support from board level is inconsistent as a result transformation projects often fail in the ultimate goal of providing positive change to the business.
Transformation isn’t just about the skills on the ground it’s also about cultural change and this means communicating with the workforce about new technologies and the changes that will take place within the business as a result and how it will affect them. Humans are naturally risk averse and as such, any success in digital transformation will come from making sure that people are bought into the changes which are about to occur and that they are ready for them when they happen. This can only be done with strong messaging from leaders and from HR professionals within the business all of whom should play a pivotal part in transformation strategies but quite often do not.
So, whilst skills are clearly a huge part of digital transformation so too is communication and a shift in culture and only when the two marry together to drive strategy together will the task of digitally transforming an entire business be a success.