Digital transformation is no longer an option. Companies around the world now see the need to evolve or risk falling behind, and are making a concerted effort to embrace digital ways of working.
Some businesses are in the process of questioning what digital means to them, others are working on their digital agenda, and several are in the process of implementing that agenda. Yet there is less urgency when it comes to engaging and preparing their internal workforce for a digital future. When people are left behind, a digital transformation’s success will be limited.
Through our experience and interactions with innovative workforces, we believe that becoming digital-ready requires more than refining IT skills. To bring the workforce along on the digital transformation journey, businesses need to address the following three elements.
Digital transformation requires a complete change in the way you do business and deliver value to your customers. So, people need new skills to make best use of new digital ways of working.
Crucially, businesses need to go beyond upskilling people in how to use new tools and instead focus on the strategic skills that enable people to make good decisions, fast. That’s why capabilities around strategy, leadership, and working with customers across all levels need to significantly change as well. A few of the skills that businesses are looking to build now include:
- Outside-in Approach
- Design Thinking
- Data-Driven Decision Making
Digital transformation demands a shift in mindset. We must learn to think and behave differently when using digital tools and processes. Here are some reasons why the digital era is impacting how we all work:
- Artificial Intelligence is not just taking over administrative and manual jobs, but it is venturing into the cognitive space too. Businesses need to rethink how people can add value.
- The digital era will see the coexistence of humans and machines. A robot could soon become a co-worker, and we must learn how to interact with them.
To adjust to the new scenarios that technology brings, businesses need to change their internal mindset. The following three components will be important for teams to succeed in a digital-led business:
- Agile mindset – embracing the mentality that there is no failure, only feedback, to be proactive and fast at making changes when needed
- Intrapreneurial spirit – employees should have the view that everyone plays a role in shaping the business to encourage people to take risks and innovate with new tools.
- Design and collaborative mindset – working together creatively, teams need to identify and solve end-to-end problems.
Technology is changing business structures. Hybrid and remote working are becoming commonplace, with technology underpinning operations and capabilities. Teams are increasingly diverse, and businesses are benefitting from a greater breadth of attitudes, opinions, interests, education and experience.
Not only that, but technology is fundamentally changing the ways in which people work. Here are a few examples of the cultural shifts that are taking shape through digital transformation:
- A shift in focus from customer service to customer experience.
- Moving from reactiveness to proactive problem solving to stay ahead of the market.
- Rigid hierarchical structures are becoming flatter.
- Heavy research is shifting towards collaborative, fail-fast innovation.
- Moving from silos to knowledge sharing across networks.
Digital-first companies operate in an environment with freely-accessible knowledge, lower entry barriers, and an empowered customer base. It is not technology that sets digital-first businesses apart – it is the way in which their people use technology. People will remain key to business success, which is why companies need to create an inclusive workplace where everyone is valued.