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The 5 Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation in Your Company

So you understand how important new technologies are in keeping your company ahead of the competition. But you’re also wary of how difficult it is to successfully implement any kind of effective major organisational change.

But the choices leaders make around how these transformations are conducted can result in huge differences in the ultimate outcome. Especially for digital transformations. The following are 5 key elements to any successful digital transformation:

1. Create a plan and define goals

Understand and clearly communicate the purpose and aims of the transformation.

The plan needs to include concrete steps to integrate new technologies into the workplace. It also needs to outline how the capabilities of the staff will be enhanced and how they can be empowered to work in new and more effective ways.

McKinsey research shows that the organisations that embrace a larger number of new technologies are the most likely to succeed. The most important of these are traditional web technologies, cloud based services, mobile internet technologies, Big Data, IoT, design thinking, and AI tools. So transformations should be comprehensive rather than piecemeal.

2. Build digital talent and skills

Companies that set cross functional or enterprise-wide hiring goals based on specific skill requirements are twice as successful in making successful digital transformations.

The complexities and new realities of digital transformation mean that companies need to revisit or create new roles. The skills and responsibilities of digital savvy staff are different to some of the skills that were favoured in the past.

The most important of these roles are the leaders who will be managing and implementing the digital transformation but new roles may need to be created to manage and maintain the new technology systems. This may include data scientists, developers, engineers, or specific tech roles such as AI or machine learning engineers.

3. The importance of leadership

The management team must establish a clear change story for the transformation and foster a sense of urgency for the change to ensure the transformation has sufficient momentum.

Leaders should encourage collaboration between units and make sure that standard operating procedures are modified to include the new digital technologies. They must also ensure that digital tools and self-serve technologies are implemented so that the information staff need is readily accessible.

4. Train, adapt and foster adoption

All individual roles and responsibilities should be redefined so they align with the  transformation’s goals.

This process also helps to clarify the necessary roles and capabilities of the transformed organisation. Where new skills are needed, training needs to be rolled out to equip staff with the competencies they will need.

Engaging specific integrators or technology-innovation managers will help to foster adoption. These roles are necessary to translate and integrate the new digital processes into the existing ways of working.

5. Communicate, experiment and adjust

Effective communication has always been a major success factor in change efforts, and digital transformation is no exception.

Companies need to be creative in the ways they communicate so they can maximise the benefits of adopting new ways of working. The use of one-way communication platforms such as email should be discouraged in favour of internal social and collaborative platforms that promote open dialogues.

Where new processes prove ineffective or uptake of them does not widely occur, these must be tailored or standard processes modified so that company-wide adoption occurs. Having new tools or processes is worthless if they are not adopted in people’s day to day roles.


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