Digital transformation is the mantra of today’s business. It is the process of applying technologies to all aspects of the daily business operation. Nevertheless, digital transformation is more than just upgrading your IT system. It is also a cultural change that requires you to pay extra attention to your business goals and your employees’ behaviours.
Utilising the advanced technologies enables us to create new processes, to do things more creatively and more effectively, thus, deliver higher valued service to the customers.
Having said that, failed digital transformation projects are quite common. To ensure the ultimate success, business leaders need to embrace the cultural transformation from the top and fully understand the behavioural shifts among their employees.
The essential of building an agile digital culture
The implementation of Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, Big Data or the Internet-of-things into our everyday business confirms that digital transformation is happening. In addition to making an impact on our organisations, digital transformation is also affecting us on a personal level, from the top leaders down to every single employee.
People feel a deep attachment to a certain culture because it contains mutual values that resonate with the individual’s beliefs, attitudes, thus, motivating and inspiring them.
If organisations do not acknowledge the human elements in digital transformation, it is unlikely for the process to be successful. Leaders need to draft a holistic approach to handle the cultural shift that supports the digital change. Successfully cultivating and nurturing a culture where technology and human potential are working harmoniously together is when “the magic happens.”
According to Microsoft's 2017 report on “Agile Culture in Digital Transformation”, technology and ethics are the most significant drivers for an agile culture. Leaders may remain central to digital transformation as they are the ones who initiate the change. They are also highly aware of having an established governance for data usage, cybersecurity, and compliance.
However, the employees also play an important role in the process as they are the ones being given the technology and are expected to produce better results with it. Organisations should allow the employees to freely give feedback on the user-friendliness of the new process, how the technology has impacted their daily tasks, productivity and job satisfaction, etc.
Challenges during the creation of an agile digital culture
All projects face a variety of challenges, and digital transformation is no exception. Creating an agile digital transformation involves many individuals and on an organisation-wide scale. Thus, pay extra attention to the people involved in this project is among the top priorities.
Collaboration between man and machine
The technologies are not here to take over the world as we fear but to aid us in the seemingly mundane tasks that are taking away too much of our valuable time. Any repetitive, low-engagement task (such as sorting through the customers’ queries, or respond to customer service calls) can now be automated. But tasks that require a high level of critical thinking (such as decision making and human judgements) are our privilege. As such, these can only be executed by an individual.
By emphasising the benefits of a collaborative relationship between man and machine can encourage your employees to be more open, empower them to succeed in the modern workplace.
To improve collaboration:
- Create a learning and development plan to help your employees to adapt quickly to new changes.
- Think of the transformation as part of the organisation, not something separated and weird.
- Encourage your employees to openly share their experiences or struggles with the new system so you and others can help them and move forward.
- Not everyone perceives the transformation as a good thing, especially for the older generation. Therefore, organisations should also take the age difference into account when forming mentored groups.
- During mentoring, introduce some exercises where you can request the employees to complete a task without the technology and then with the technology to help them see how the transformation has made things easier.
Read part 2: How to create a digital culture in the workplace
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