We talk to many companies large and small about embarking on a digital transformation. Well we talk to them about how they transform their people and process. The digital transformation sits in IT (information technology) where they argue about cloud or on premises.
The critical thing for us is that ALL the employees embark on the process not just a few. Here are some of the mistakes we see:-
1. All slogan and no action. Management come up with a slogan, one management consultancy has the slogan "the new". In which all employees are supposed to fall in behind. Nobody actually understand what it means, so nothing changes.
2. One software house has made digital transformation into a "special project" and put a person with no qualifications in the subject in charge. Nothing happens.
3. Another software house has employed "millenials" on the basis that as the management don't understand digital and the Millenials do, the company will change through osmosis I guess. Nothing happens.
4. We are aware of one management consultancy who sell themselves as digital transformation gurus, who internally refuse to digital transform. Ironic I know.
With any digital transformation the Board (as we tend to call it in Europe) or the C-Suite in the US have to be involved and leading from the front. This often requires senior people (not unlike US Senators) to put up there hands and say they don't understand.
It also requires the business to empower their staff. All staff not the people already on social need to understand the benefit and be given the chance to succeed.
At this point most companies turn to the "stick" rather than the "carrot".
One company we presented at said "all staff are going on a week long digital transformation course".
We asked "and what has changed" the answer was "nothing".
Why? Because turn to fact based training or webinars and these don't change anything. People go back to their desks, the phone rings and the people carry on doing what they did before.
As Brian Solis uses a quote in his presentations "I would love to digital transform, but I'm to busy in meetings".
As companies prepare to embark on their digital transformation journey, it is critical for leaders to be transparent and communicate often. There is nothing worse than being "in the dark." Whether you have 10 or 150,000 employees, a closed-office environment creates a swamp of fear, rumors and sometimes anger. It's only natural that employees will push back and question. Therefore, clearly communicating your plan and vision for the company is just as important as coming up with the strategy. Without your people on board for this journey, you won't make it far. As part of your communication plan, be sure to get the perspective of your cross-functional team that may be able to highlight outstanding concerns or bring new issues to the table. Think of it in terms of technology, business processes and organizational structure. At the very least, consider addressing the following questions with your employees: What is digital transformation? Why is our company undergoing a digital transformation? What are the new technologies that will be introduced to our daily work? What impact will the digital transformation have on our employees? What is the timeline for the digital transformation? How will the company prepare employees for upcoming changes?