Digital transformation is changing business culture

April 27, 2017

Many companies struggle with digital transformation. It goes against the grain of established ways of working and is a threat to management practices that have existed for decades. Digital tools free people throughout the organization to share information easily. Communication managers no longer have total control over message, target, and timing of news and announcements. Horizontal and bottom-up information flows become stronger at the expense of the traditional top-down.

Prime your culture to improve transformation success

You recognize that a transformation is needed, you might even have different transformation processes under way, but it may be known that the biggest barrier to a successful journey is organizational resistance. If you do not pay careful attention to the following 5 areas of your company culture, effort, time, and perhaps millions you have spent on transformation will inevitably lead to failure.

1) Agility

For a number of years, companies have been focused on becoming more agile—for the potential to perform faster response times, adapt quickly to market environmental factors, etc. Many of these organizations have tried innovative methodologies such as scrums, hackathons, sprints and more. However, the degree of a company’s agility correlates with its ability to successfully transform.

2) Collaboration

There is a need for companies to exhibit two different types of collaboration to improve transformation execution. The first is of course internal collaboration. Enterprises are starting to move from older hierarchal structures to more flat “peer-to-peer” organizations, and are even implementing more collaborative workspaces and practices. All of these are important for improved, efficient communication and cohesion.

3) Customer Intimacy or “Centricity”

The advent of intelligent “things”, advanced analytics and artificial intelligence together with improvements in connectivity and communications are creating new and timely insights into customer behavior and the ability to both anticipate needs as well as address needs in real time. This allows companies to become much more customer centric in their thinking and dictates new ways in which to interact with them.

4) Innovation

In the past, innovation was something an organization did in an incidental manner, often negated by a lack of focused resource. Now, it MUST be a regular focus: a rally-cry, part of each person’s role, included in all processes and strategies.—you get the picture. Enterprises need to act with a start-up mentality; managing risk to succeed fast or fail fast. They need to incubate, test quickly, take different approaches to take advantage of new, real-time opportunities.

5) Leadership Behavior

Organizations typically function top down. Leadership sets strategy, employees implement. However, to reap benefits from digital transformation, the organization information flow needs to be more bottom up, or at least more transparent and accessible. Information, strategy, ideas all need to be sourced from where the value is being created, which is typically in more operational and delivery areas. Leadership must drive the creation of innovation, irrespective of source.

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