Technology & Innovation
Leaders – here’s how to take the fear out of digital transformation
If you’re reading this, you’ve already heard the words ‘digital transformation’ somewhere.
In a nutshell, this refers to the adoption of digital technology by an organization with the aim of improving efficiency, adding value, and driving innovation across the business.
Change in any organization tends to create a sense of resistance and or fear—we’re only human, and change can be scary. But it doesn’t have to be. As a business leader, your approach to the human side of the process could make or break a digital transformation project.
Every organization moves at Its own speed when it comes to rolling out new tech. An organization’s digital transformation strategy is a plan of action to reposition itself in the digital economy. Like the world we live in, customer habits are always evolving—so too should the way companies operate if they want to keep people engaged and stay successful.
Getting human buy-in for digital transformation
Winning businesses innovate, tapping into emerging technology to change the way we work. But you for a truly successful transformation, you need buy-in from the top down.
Get your organization team on board with some education around adopting emerging technologies. This will help propel them into action through adoption, and the kind of creative thinking this enables will produce wins for your business.
Using a practical example: Starbucks
To help your co-workers understand the need for innovation, take a practical approach using examples like a visit to Starbucks, buying groceries, or fueling up a car. Most people don’t actually realize that they’re interacting daily with BOT’s that use RPA, ML and AI, paying with NFC, and doing so from the Digital Operating Platform (DOP) that they hold in their hand.
Wait a minute. What does all that mean?
That is a pretty wordy statement, so let’s break it down, using the Starbucks app as an example.
- A BOT is a software program that performs repetitive tasks. BOTs are used to take orders, such as an order for Starbucks that we place on our phone.
- Through AI—Artificial Intelligence—the BOT may also suggest or ask if you want to order something additional such as “Egg bites are frequently ordered with this coffee, would you like to add them to your order?”
- Through ML (machine learning), the BOT might say “Last time you purchased a croissant, would you like to add this to your order?”
- By answering yes to one of these questions, fellow co-workers navigate through their Starbuck’s app faster, place their order more efficiently, and are happy as an end user.
- Starbucks benefits from the upsell of additional products, the reduced need of staff to take orders from customers in line, decreasing the time taken for each order, and allowing for fulfilment and customer experience to be increased.
- Most users will check out of the app on their phone or another DOP and pay in advance using Near Field Communication (NFC), to pay through Apple Pay, Google Pay or any equivalent method.
Ask your team to use personal buying experiences—like the one above—to relate back to your organization’s customer buying experience, and how it can be improved through technology. That’s the key to building understanding of the tech, the benefits it might have on them, and the direct correlation it might have on your customers. And that understanding is what squashes fear.
Dream it, then do it
Getting staff to envision better, more efficient ways of working in a similar way will help propel your business forward with your digital transformation projects, no matter the size.
The hardest part? Getting everyone in the organization comfortable with the shift in thought processes, and the change in processes. The move from the way things have been done for years to a more efficient, happier place to work.
Imagine if Alexa was linked or integrated to your inventory system and could tell you what to reorder, and when. Imagine if your system automatically routed electronic invoices for payments larger than $5,000 to the CFO, and those over $10,000 to the CEO for approval. Think of an office where file cabinets don’t take up floor space, and everything is stored in a secure system available for your colleagues to check out, anywhere, any time, and on any device.
All of the items imagined above are already reality thanks to the kind of emerging technology we’ve mentioned. Skilled implementation partners can get things rolled out efficiently, no problem. It’s the human element that’s truly complex; getting employees to believe and strive for the unfamiliar is the hardest thing your company will have to do.
The International Data Corporation (IDC) reports that during the pandemic, digital transformation initiatives led, on average, to a 14% financial uplift.
Empowering people with the knowledge they need to use emerging technologies is paying off in a big way for those organizations investing in digital strategies. That covers everything from taking manual administrative tasks and automating them to free up valuable resources, to streamlining processes that create more time to be spent on strategic activities, like revenue generation and cost mitigation.
Above all, it gives employees something priceless: the sense of empowerment and self-worth that comes with knowing they can use technology to amplify their impact on your organization.
Want to know more about how to help your employees embrace digital transformation? Join me for my next webinar on Demystifying the Cloud—The Human Side of Digital Transformation on March 23 at 2 PM EST.
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