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It’s now more important than ever for organisations to embark on a digital transformation journey. With COVID-19 having accelerated the need for the digitalisation of business processes and highlighting the importance of digital adoption, companies need to – if they haven’t already – rethink their engagement strategies if they want to reach the workforce in this uncertain digital era.

Despite it being common knowledge, as the often-cited study from McKinsey states, ‘70 percent of digital transformation efforts fail’. Unfortunately, it seems navigating the journey to a successful digital transformation is easier said than done. But why?

There are multiple reasons, however the overarching one is obvious…not Identifying what digital truly means to your organisation. If there isn’t alignment on the basic principles of the digitalisation, then this lack of understanding ultimately creates a domino effect leading to the implementation strategy falling apart. To break down this concept further, we look at the key elements required for a successful digital transformation.

Clarify benefits to get buy-in

When embarking on a transformation journey, direct and indirect resistance within the organisation is unavoidable. To combat this, you must have a clear understanding of the benefits transformation will bring, and communicate these effectively to the whole business. Firstly, get key stakeholders aligned on the intended outcomes, forging a mutual understanding and setting a clear roadmap. Map digital capabilities to the benefits for the business and employees, then build a change management plan that will help people clearly see the WHY and the WIIFM of the change. Often neglected as not seen as a priority investment, timely and impactful internal comms content will serve to inform and include your workforce in your transformation journey.


Set realistic milestones

For most companies incremental change can be relatively disruptive, so changing everything at once could set you up for a much higher chance of failure. It’s great to be ambitious with your transformation goals, however meticulous scheduling and prioritisation of these targets within a strategic plan will make achieving them more likely. Focus on the areas that matter most based on their value, time to impact and effort required to achieve outcomes…this should afford you some early wins!

Upskill your workforce

Employees are at the heart of digital transformation yet, according to IDC research, 75% of respondents admitted their organisation was finding it challenging to recruit employees with the required digital skillset. Google, Microsoft and Salesforce, like countless other companies, are aware of this hurdle and investing money into new programmes to upskill their workforce. The pandemic has created new opportunities and enterprises are developing new partnerships, products and services – however these will only succeed if driven by a workforce equipped to handle automated processes and digital innovation.

Tech, with a human element

Implementing new technology without addressing the human element is very risky. With digital change, come cultural and behavioural, and thanks to COVID-19, work environment changes. It’s a lot of change and people need time to adapt and embrace all these changes. Communication is key…clear, informative and regular communication.


Own the change

One of the fastest ways for even the most meticulously planned strategic roadmap to fail is if there’s no leader driving it forward. Although it is a digital transformation, all responsibility should not lie with the IT department. For a transformation to succeed it requires endorsement and commitment from the senior leadership team, who can bring credibility and trust to the project, and therefore have a huge impact on user adoption.

To sum up

Overcoming the odds starts with knowing the WHY of the change and conveying this very clearly to all stakeholders; how it affects them and the future of the business. Plan your roadmap from the start, communicating regularly with the workforce to really get them engaged and on board. Keep in mind that even the longest journeys are made up of many small steps.

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