Editor's Question: What are the current barriers to Digital Transformation? - Intelligent CIO Africa
Editor’s Question: What are the current barriers to Digital Transformation?
What are the current barriers to Digital Transformation?

Editor’s Question: What are the current barriers to Digital Transformation?

It’s important to make sure employees’ voices are heard during the process of Digital Transformation. Anna Collard, MD KnowBe4 Africa, explains how to communicate during these changes.

Nothing drives change better than a crisis. A large South African retailer implemented a companywide VPN project (planned to be rolled out over 18 months) within literally four days. The COVID-19 pandemic has driven many traditionally office bound companies to work from home within record times. And without much resistance too. It is just happening because we don’t have a choice.

People are often cited to be one of the greatest barriers to Digital Transformation. Humans are wired in very specific ways. We don’t like to do things that are difficult, awkward or that require change. So our resistance to change is just part of our human nature.

To succeed, we have to work with, not against human nature and apply persuasive communication techniques.

CIOs are hence not only responsible for technology but for culture change as well. This means tight collaboration with HR and change management and a lot of communication to end-users, leadership and customers alike.

Communication skills require listening and a focus on what people are saying. Feedback loops and two-way communication channels encourage collaboration and gives people a voice. Also creating creative, short and personally relevant information is key.

Another barrier to Digital Transformation is the inability to completely imagine an entire new process instead of just digitising existing steps. Before automating a business process, the number one question to ask is: “Why do we need this process and which steps can be eliminated or improved upon?” The best Digital Transformation comes from a leader imagining a process in a “green field” environment, before it became the standard way of doing things. Often this requires a level of boldness as it means questioning the status quo. But taking one big step back can be a lot of progress forward and ensure we are not digitising the wrong things.

Here are our three tips for successful Digital Transformation:

  1. Bring someone with skills and experience in Change Management to the table right from the start. Engaging the people early and ensuring they are heard is key to success.
  2. Include a senior Business Analyst to review and question processes before automating them. Be bold and question if the current way of doing things is the right way.
  3. Communicate, discuss, revise, repeat. Unless there is a pandemic, people won’t necessarily collaborate as quickly as we’d like them to. But when done properly, your people will understand the what, why, how, when and most importantly the “what’s in it for me” to support your Digital Transformation.
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