Why your people are the key to digital transformation

New Zealand is in the midst of a digital transformation, inundated with technology and software solutions and promises abound. But without the right people and a culture that supports them it’s just that – promises.

The truth is that technology itself is nothing. Yes, it’s an invaluable tool, but you need the right people with the right skills behind that technology to see real results.

What’s driving digital transformation?

Rapidly advancing digital technologies are changing the way organisations work, allowing better efficiency and productivity, and a keener understanding and focus on the customer experience. With the drive to become more data-driven, increase customer engagement and improve the bottom line, technology is touted as an easy fix.

In particular, digital transformation and the adoption of new technologies can help organisations leverage new opportunities to better serve their customers, accelerate business activities, and be more agile in the way they work.

And for some organisations a digital transformation project is an opportunity to compete with natively digital rivals – on both the local and international stage - and stay relevant in a digitally centric world.

What’s stalling digital transformation?

Unfortunately, those rapidly advancing technologies that hold so much promise, also require rapidly advancing skills of employees. Organisations are quickly realising they don’t have access to the right skillset to correctly implement or reap the full benefits of a new piece of technology. It’s this gap between the technologies available, and the ability to use them effectively that’s contributing to this lag.

Digital transformation also often requires an organisational shift. This could be in how an organisation is structured, how teams work together, or how employees conduct their day-to-day tasks. And the larger or more established an organisation the more difficult this may be as they have hierarchy, legacy systems and ingrained processes to contend with.

So, how can we un-stall digital transformation?

Empower your people

Something that all organisations need to keep in mind is that digital transformation isn’t just about adopting emerging digital technologies. It’s about how the organisation can empower employees to embrace these new technologies, build on their skillset, and use this technology to drive strategic business outcomes.

A significant and important aspect of digital transformation is the company’s culture and attitude to change and taking risks. Give your employees the skills and tools they need to do their job effectively: empower them to work more agile, to not be afraid to take risks, and be invested in their ability to up-skill.  Also important is Instilling an organisational culture of “failing fast” and learning from these mistakes, this fosters innovation and paths the way to success.

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Know what you want to achieve

We often work with organisations who want ‘something’ from their data: to understand what it’s telling them, to better communicate with their customers, or drive better business outcomes. But before we can start on a project like that we need to dig a little deeper - what are the actual objectives or business outcomes? What are you actually trying to achieve, streamline or improve?

Digital transformation is the same. Without digging deeper into what you’re actually wanting to achieve, and how a piece of technology will help you achieve that goal, you will never fully benefit from its potential. You’ll also need to keep your customers in mind and fully understand the benefit for them. If there’s no direct benefit to the customer, or achieving your KPIs – is it worth it?

Find the right partner

Many organisations don’t have the resources to go it alone and rely on trusted partners to help them on their journey. As previously mentioned, to fully benefit from new technologies and stay on top of digital transformation your team needs the right skillsets. However, if your team is small and you can’t justify bringing in more people, finding a trusted partner to help with implementation or day-to-day operations could be the right way to go.

Digital transformation has the potential to revolutionise your organisation, but in order for this to happen you need to have a keen understanding of what you’re wanting to achieve and, how what you’re doing feeds into that goal. It’s also important to keep in mind that for your organisation to truly benefit you need to ensure you’re investing in your people as much as the technology.

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