April 5 2016

A digital transformation initiative can revolutionize the way your organization works, allowing employees to boost their productivity. Moving your organization into the digital realm also allows you to keep up with the latest trends in your industry, helping you to remain relevant in a rapidly changing world. However, digital transformation initiatives can also pose some challenges, as employees must adapt to new ways of working and the company culture must evolve to meet the demands of the new digital age. Here are some tips for overcoming these challenges and reaping the benefits of a digital transformation.

1. Changing Company Culture

Changing the culture in an organization is never easy, but some kind of cultural shift is essential for a true digital transformation. Employees must get used to using new digital tools to serve customers or manage their workflows. There may be some resistance to the change at first, which is why it's important to explain the motivation for the digital transformation before introducing new tools and expecting employees to start using them. By leveraging an agile methodology, employees are involved early on and their input and feedback can be incorporated into the digital transformation initiative. By ensuring frequent communication and understanding what kind of digital tools employees need to make their working lives easier, you can foster a positive attitude toward the transformation.

When Vodafone underwent a digital transformation starting in 2008, managers quickly found that simply explaining technical benefits wasn't enough to persuade people to embrace the change. People needed to understand the benefits that digital technology would bring to their working lives, such as allowing them to work flexibly. The company had to work hard to change the culture of working long hours in the office to one where employees were free to work remotely. This involved not only equipping employees with the technologies and training to allow them to check in from home, but also explaining the shift in the company's expectations for its workers.

2. Maintaining Communication

Successful digital transformation initiatives require all departments in an organization to work together to adopt the new digital tools. In a poorly managed transformation, some departments can feel left behind, which often leads to feelings of resentment. Keep channels of communication open by appointing a team of people who will be responsible for managing the transformation, communicating with all departments, and ensuring that everyone is on board with the changes.

A good approach is to start with a small team, who can plan out the overall transformation strategy, and then gradually bring more people on board. McDonald's used this method to manage its recent adoption of digital technology, beginning with a digital transformation team of 20 experts which then expanded to include over 200 employees within a year. As a result, McDonald's was able to re-invent the customer experience, becoming one of the first companies to accept Apple Pay and developing an innovative "McD App" that serves special discounts to loyal customers.

3. Managing Budgets

Although a digital transformation can ultimately be a great investment for your company, there are many upfront costs. It's vital to draw up a realistic budget for the transformation, which should include the costs of training employees to use new technologies and of any expected downtime. Always consider how delays and technical problems could affect the overall costs of your digital integration.

Conclusion

While a digital transformation can pose many challenges, the long-term effect on productivity is often positive. For example, embracing digital transformation allowed Vodafone to reduce customer complaints by 57 percent in two years, while also cutting costs and improving employee working conditions. Start reaping these benefits in your own organization by planning and implementing a digital transformation initiative.

About the Author

Brandon Dean

Brandon Dean is Executive Vice President for AVIO and focuses his time on building client relationships and directing sales, marketing, and strategy initiatives for AVIO. Prior to joining AVIO in 2008, Brandon spent time in various positions at Oracle, BEA Systems, and Fuego where he built a reputation as a thought leader in BPM strategy and implementation advisory services. 

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