In 2022, digital transformation is the key driving factor behind the success of any organisation. We are in the middle of the fourth industrial revolution and modern technology is embedded into, almost, everything we do. Digital transformation is a long and continuous process and is not just a way to keep your head above the water during the ongoing pandemic. It’s been around for more than a decade now with organisations constantly trying to find ways to reach more customers, improve their business, and stay ahead of the competition. The recent Covid-19 pandemic just acted as a catalyst for every company to fast-track the incorporation of modern technologies and digital transformation.
All the four domains – people, processes, technology and organisational culture – need to work in tandem for making digital transformation successful. Extended efforts from just one domain aren’t sufficient to stay in line with the changing business dynamics. However, people and technology hold more value to digital transformation. In a report from Cornerstone OnDemand, in collaboration with the IDC or the International Data Corporation, it was stated that the way an organisation treats their talent and the internal assessment processes directly affects the speed of innovation inside the organisation.
For any organisation, it is necessary to keep evolving constantly and stay up to date with market trends, emerging technologies, and what their competitors are doing. Embracing digital transformation across business domains is a great first step toward ensuring business growth. While business processes and organisational culture are important pillars for this transformation, it’s the incorporation of useful technology and valuable talent that is the topic of our attention today.
Importance of Technology in Digital Transformation
There’s no denying that technology nowadays is evolving at a great pace. Things that seemed impossible just a couple of years ago have now become a part of everyday life. Machines are getting faster, smaller, cheaper, and more powerful than they ever were before. Cloud computing, data lakes, on-demand software services, the IoT, blockchain, cryptocurrency, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and countless other technologies are being developed every day to make life easier for businesses as well as common people.
No matter the industry, there’s scope for improving business processes and making them more efficient with the help of these emerging technologies. ERP and CRM software make it easy to manage the workforce as well as employees, automated robots make picking and packing easier, and on-cloud data servers eliminate the need for infrastructure management. There are several other major changes that technology can bring into a business if they are utilised efficiently and to their potential.
However, there are still companies that don’t put a lot of emphasis on their IT department and consider it a wasteful resource. There isn’t much focus on data storage and maintenance, updating core business software, analysing captured data and other technical aspects of the business. IT spending, across companies, reduced by 3.2 % in 2020, worldwide. There could be for two reasons for this change. One reason is that businesses don’t depend a lot on technology. Another reason could be that business owners have lost on the ability of technologies bringing major change in their business.
This is why, technologies must demonstrate value to the business and provide some proof of the impact that modern technologies can have. The transformation should also make sense for the organisation as it demands a substantial amount of investment.
Why Talent is the Main Hero in Digital Transformation
Talent is perhaps the most important pillar of digital transformation. It lays the foundation for implementing technology, processes, and organisational culture. Companies often tend to have tunnel vision. They think that investing in the latest technologies and processes would be enough to ensure that the organisation is updated and ready to take on the changing market. They forget that more than technology, it’s the people who matter more because they are the ones to implement and utilise this technology. Investing in talented staff might not ensure success but not investing in the right talent will make the climb quite difficult.
Marina Boschert, the Managing Director of Accenture, in an interview with IDG, said that in a survey of several companies that started their digital transformation journey in 2020, more than 65% of them were unable to achieve their objectives and leverage the full benefits of digital transformation. The remaining 25% of companies were able to achieve success because they invested in their people, apart from spending on technology. After all, it’s the people who are responsible for leveraging those technologies and getting the most out of them.
It is important to understand that digital transformation can be an exhaustive process affecting every business process and department to some extent. If your employees are not involved in the transformation journey right from the start, they can find it difficult to cope with the changes in an efficient manner. This can either lead to untrained employees executing tasks in an inefficient manner causing loss to the organisation or an increase in the workforce skill gap with experienced employees leaving the organisation as they didn’t approve of the changes.
It is the task of the business leader to ensure that there is continuous investment in human talent development and that the employees, experienced or newbies alike, have all the resources and training they need to get accustomed to this change in business dynamics. Areas that require deep technical knowledge and key skills demand proper recruitment and talent retention. Companies would not only need to attract the best professionals for the job but would also have to upskill their existing workforce, constantly. Change in the organisational culture is also imminent.
Hence, it is vital not just for the employees but also for business leaders to assess their existing processes and the change that is about to be implemented. There are several tools available in the market that can analyse and assess the talent you already have on-board or are thinking of hiring. This talent assessment will not only provide you with insight into the best and worst performers but would also give you an idea of where the existing workforce is lacking. Leaders can then create learning pathways and strategies for every employee depending on their department and exposure to the new technology implemented.
Digital transformation is no longer optional. Your competitors are constantly evolving with the advent of new technologies or processes and bringing about an improvement in their bottom line. If you delay getting on this digital transformation journey, you might risk getting left behind.
But rather than just focusing on new technologies and software and what your competitors are using, you need to focus on people as well. The biggest asset for any company is its people and they need to be comfortable with the new changes and be able to adapt to them seamlessly. If not, they could resist the change and cause friction during the transformation. Having a robust training and development strategy in place is necessary for emerging businesses to ensure that their digital transformation is fully exploited and the benefits spread across the organisation.
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The lack of a single source of truth, quality data and ad hoc manual reporting processes undermined top management’s visibility of integrated insights on sales, sales rep interactions, marketing reach, brand performance, market share, and territory management. Understandably, the client wanted to align information that has hitherto been in silos, to gain a 360-degree product movement view, to optimize sales planning and gain competitive edge.