Many companies pour millions of dollars into their digital transformation. But more than 70% of them fail.
This is because new technology, gadgets, and tools are only on the tip of the iceberg.
Underneath all that is serious work. It's one thing to have all the tech infrastructure. It's another to deliver value through these tools. Leading the entire team through the changes is also an overlooked investment for digital transformation. Digital transformation is cultural.
Here are three cornerstones to digital transformation:
The work is never done when you launch new technology. It is only the beginning.
Digital leaders need to:
1. Identify the kind of technology the organization needs
This is where a basic mastery in technology comes in. Digital leaders should know how artificial intelligence, cloud technology, social media, e-commerce, and other tools work.
2. Make their team members understand how the technology works
Most of the time, several people within an organization will resist new shifts in digital transformation. Digital leaders must introduce technological changes so everyone from the bottom-up understands.
3. Ensure every team member is driving value out of technology
At the end of the day, technology exists to drive more value and efficiency. How can technology make our work easier? How can it better serve our customers and target audience?
4. Constantly track new trends. The work does not stop when an organization can adapt to new changes. The hottest technological innovation today will become the old news of tomorrow. Customer needs and demands will change. The dynamics of the workforce will shift (like what happened during the lockdown). It's a never-ending cycle ahead for digital leaders, but the investment comes back tenfold.
Digital communication and collaboration
The COVID-19 pandemic put a huge burden on the shoulders of organizations. To this day, abrupt changes like the emergence of new COVID-19 variants give leaders no choice but to make decisions quickly on their feet. But they also need to slow down and communicate with their team members throughout the uncertainty -- or better yet, to involve them in the decision-making and collaboration process.
Digital leaders know how to leverage technology to keep their team connected, even when they're apart. This is achievable through putting a human-centered approach to the employee experience, also known as design thinking.
Let's use a simple example. Imagine Anna is thinking about asking her team to return to the physical workplace, after her company provided COVID-19 vaccines.
When solving a problem, empathizing and understanding the needs of your employees should be your priority. Anna wants her team members to go back to work to help restore a semblance of normalcy in her operations. She wants to cut bottlenecks in processes. Safety is no longer a problem for her since almost everyone is vaccinated, right? Except some employees have children to take care of at home. No one will be around to help them out with online learning if they are forced to go to work. Some employees are working in their provinces and do not want to be subject to strict border protocols while traveling to the city. Anna was able to empathize after talking to them and therefore, she knows not everyone can go back to work despite being vaccinated.
Digital leaders then collect all the information from the empathize stage and identify the needs of every team member. Anna knows some of her team members want to go to work, while others just can't do it, while most are willing to commit a few days a week in the workplace.
Digital leaders are now ready to brainstorm ideas and find alternative ways to problem-solving. Anna reads this Prevo article about the rise in hybrid workplaces, and a lightbulb suddenly went off. Her team members agreed this is the best idea too -- they get to go out of the house every once in a while without sacrificing the comforts of working from home.
Creating a prototype gives digital leaders some insight into a proposed solution. This involves launching an early and inexpensive experiment. At first, Anna thought of requiring all her employees to physically go to work on the same day. But she realized it was a bad idea, not just because of the threat of COVID-19, but because she needed to take advantage of her employees' needs. So she made her IT employees report physically on days their workload is heavy, so they can take advantage of using sophisticated software at work. As for her Marketing and Sales team, she allowed them to go to work on meeting days, so they don't have to rely on Zoom too much anymore (Because Zoom fatigue is real). And of course, she made new hires and mentors go to work on the same days. To calm everyone's anxiety, Anna set up a contact-tracing system in her workplace so the organization knows who goes in and out of the office. She also came up with a presentation on health protocols and what the organization will do in case someone contracts COVID-19.
Digital leaders test out the prototype. But it doesn't end here; design thinking is non-linear. Digital leaders use the results of this final phase to redefine problems in the previous stages. Anna and her employees have been going to work two times a week at a skeletal capacity. There is always someone in the office who can oversee the operations that are better done in the workplace. Employees discover it is better this way too: they have the option to go to work if their Internet bugs down or if they need more help with something. Plus, her new hires were finally able to meet some of their colleagues after more than a year. A new problem hits Anna's team. The country suddenly confirmed its first local Delta variant case, and everyone is scared. Suddenly, the majority of her team wants to work from home again. But the shift wasn't too drastic because she didn't ask them to fully abandon working from home back then. Imagine if everyone had to go back to work only to return to remote work again! Instead, she tweaked some of the measures for returning to work.
Digital learning is the key to making sure digital transformation is ground-breaking for your organization. It doesn't just benefit your team members but your organization as a whole -- or even your industry, if you play your cards right. A workforce that has developed the relevant skills needed in the future will give your organization that edge.
Digital leaders know they do not need hour-long classroom sessions or webinars to instill learning among their team members. Instead, they fuse the learning process in day-to-day tasks. This is where technology comes in.
The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred interest in taking e-courses. Here are some platforms where you can access e-courses made by Filipino resource persons.
Companies can also provide modules if they do not have enough resources for e-courses. The bite-sized nature of modules gives employees more time to digest information while applying them at work.
3. Video tutorials
Most people are visual learners. At the end of the day, being able to see processes unfold is better than reading about them in concept and theory.
4. Virtual mentoring