The secret sauce for a successful Digital Transformation initiative requires one-part culture, one-part revised business processes, and one-part new technology. Many organizations put emphasis on new technology but lose sight of the impact culture and business process have on realizing desired outcomes. In the end, chasing those shiny objects creates a disconnect between business goals and technology investments. Don’t fall into this trap. Develop a strategy that includes people and process to move the organization forward.
Changing the culture of an organization is complex. More so than many leaders initially recognize. What causes this complexity? What are the critical characteristics for successful transformation? Collaboration, adaptability, and transparency top the list for digital transformation. Moving the organization forward in these areas requires breaking down departmental barriers and adjusting hierarchical decision-making structures to empower more employees. Expanding communication efforts before, during and after any transformation effort is critical not only for transparency but to nurture an inclusive culture. Every leader has a role to play in communicating the vision and roadmap so every employee can embrace the change. Addressing skill deficits is also important to changing the culture of an organization. An agile, diverse, and creative workforce that is continuously learning and adapting new skills forms a culture where transformation is a natural way of working.
Modernizing business processes through the adoption of Agile or Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery methodology is important to organizations undergoing digital transformation, but also difficult to fully implement. Underlying attitudes and perceptions, and resource commitments make it hard to embrace concepts like cross-departmental collaboration or “fail-fast” iterations. Another hurdle to business process modernization is outdated corporate structures that reinforce old behaviors causing organizations to struggle to become more collaborative and adaptable. Shifting to structures and processes designed for nimbleness and agility helps avoid this pitfall. Solving lingering interdepartmental friction also supports change. Misalignment between IT and Marketing is a prime example, but this challenge can be overcome when senior leaders are willing to change processes and the way teams work.
Where to Start
Sounds daunting, doesn’t it. How can organizations change their culture and improve their processes to deliver on the promise of digital transformation? It will take time and commitment to make it happen. A critical first step is to define and communicate the underlying business goals. Everyone in the organization must understand why transformation is important and how the company will evolve as a result. A clear and compelling vision will help set the direction for the initiative and create a shared vision for the future. Another critical step is to monitor transformation progress to identify and address gaps that develop overtime. While many digital transformation KPIs focus on revenue growth, profitability, customer retention, or operational efficiency, organizations need to prioritize the development of metrics that assess cultural change to keep efforts on track. To effectively address people and process, organizations are investing in Change Management strategies to rethink their approaches as many leaders realize digital transformation isn’t about better technology, but everything around it.
If your organization is preparing for a digital transformation initiative, let us know. Relationship One is always here to help.
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