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Key cultural considerations to drive Digital Transformation success

Key cultural considerations to drive Digital Transformation success

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Ananth Subramanya, Head of Digital Applications and Platforms, Digital and Analytics, HCL Technologies, discusses the changes businesses need to make to adapt to Digital Transformation.

Industries across the globe are digitising operations to optimise output and improve customer experience. Yet, in a business landscape that’s constantly changing, there are a multitude of digital endeavours that businesses need to consider if they want to achieve success. Cultural change in perspectives is one of them. While industry leaders are waking up to the merits of Digital Transformation and adopting such initiatives, the organisational culture behind them is lacking in drive.

Recent research, for example, revealed that while 70% of organisations surveyed already have a digital strategy in place, only 10% have a definitive deployment plan. This reveals the worrying trend in which organisations are becoming more steadfast in developing digital plans, yet ultimately remain unable to successfully execute them. As more organisations fail to see their visions turn into executable practices, it’s essential that businesses keep in mind not just the precise technological changes, but the wider aspects that drive them. For Digital Transformation to be seamless, successful and holistic, a cultural change is required that transcends across sales, marketing, IT and operations.

Need for change

The study also found that 69% of organisations believe customer experience is at the centre of Digital Transformation initiatives, but almost 90% of leaders lack visibility into existing business processes. In other words, businesses have the why, but not the how. In order to keep customers at the forefront of the business and improve their experience, organisations must identify the areas needing change in alignment with its digital strategy. There are three critical criteria that should be fulfilled before embarking on any digital journey: business viability, technological feasibility and customer desirability. Without these, the changes required across the spectrum are harder to see.

Scalability is also key, as the research shows. A total of 92% of organisational leaders find it exceedingly difficult to keep pace with technological changes and only 64% are investing in digital innovations to leverage the latest technologies. Unless a business’ digital strategy keeps pace with technological advancements, it will struggle to implement valuable change. Scalable digital engineering is vital if businesses want to embark on Digital Transformations that deliver.

Adaptability is key

It’s not just scalability and spot-on customer experience that make the recipe for digital success. Transformation of any kind needs two things: resolve and adapting to the needs of time. It’s therefore no surprise that the main thing to remember when embarking on Digital Transformation projects is to ensure they are executed gradually so that the workforce can accept the changed status. Employees are the key drivers of any organisational change and their involvement will strengthen the process to the point where digital is not just a tool anymore; it becomes the driving force behind all operations.

When you couple a fitting organisational strategy with a clear understanding of your goals, businesses will be in a prime position for optimising digital initiatives. Crucially, most important for sustained growth is perpetually adapting to innovations. If Digital Transformation is to be as seamless as possible, human perceptions and behaviours must be more forthcoming towards the changing technological landscape. Only the end-user’s acceptance of change can break down the silos between business and IT. The objectives businesses have in mind may vary, but the challenges they face follow a basic theme: culture and mindset.

Incremental change, exponential growth

It’s no secret that transformation demands patience and progression. Digital is ubiquitous and while organisations can identify the main ambitions and devise digital strategies accordingly, cultural challenges ultimately stifle their execution. Business leaders of course should expect change to hit pockets of resistance and slow traffic. However, a truly robust digital strategy considers those as part of the process and factors them in at the very start. At the heart of a successful digital strategy is striking the right balance between desirability and practicality. The driving force behind this is cultural change and engineering discipline.

When changing culture around Digital Transformation, it is important to develop digital expertise internally by ramping up employee skills in the company. It is equally important to measure the Digital Transformation over frequent time periods in order to understand if expected results are being achieved, or if certain aspects of the initiative are lagging. Agility is therefore another cog in the digital wheel. By paying meticulous attention to every component involved in the Digital Transformation process, businesses can stay ahead of the curve and implement change that delivers – and lasts.

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