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Understanding the change process

Article 5 of 5 in the series "Management's 5 steps to digital transformation"

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The final, and also biggest, challenge for a company to achieve successful digital transformation is about the failure to understand that digitalisation is a change that affects the entire organisation.

Digitalisation is often considered as only a technological transformation: We plan for new digital technologies. We implement the new technologies. And then we wait for the results.

But digital transformation is just as much about organisational transformation. And the danger of focusing purely on the technological changes is that you forget the significance of the people who make the plan happen - and the organisational framework in which they have to operate.

The following 5 areas in your organisation will undoubtedly need to change or adjust for you to succeed in digitally transforming your company:

2. Collaboration structure

Most companies still operate using hierarchical structures, with silos, collaboration structures and incentive structures that are based on models from a bygone era. But digitalisation places new demands on our organisation, as do the increasing expectations from customers for a cohesive customer experience across all contact points.

If you want to achieve a seamless customer journey and a business that makes optimum use of digital opportunities, then you need to look beyond the existing silos. You need to build new cross-functional collaboration structures, with new processes and routines for daily collaboration. You also need shared goals for Online, Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, IT, Product Development, Business Development etc. Only then will you have an organisation that works together to transform the entire business, with a focus on creating value for your customers.

3. Culture

Most companies still operate using hierarchical structures, with silos, collaboration structures and incentive structures that are based on models from a bygone era. But digitalisation places new demands on our organisation, as do the increasing expectations from customers for a cohesive customer experience across all contact points.

If you want to achieve a seamless customer journey and a business that makes optimum use of digital opportunities, then you need to look beyond the existing silos. You need to build new cross-functional collaboration structures, with new processes and routines for daily collaboration. You also need shared goals for Online, Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, IT, Product Development, Business Development etc. Only then will you have an organisation that works together to transform the entire business, with a focus on creating value for your customers.

4. Processes

processerAn innovative culture also needs new decision and approval procedures.

Many companies stagger on with tiresome procedures for approving new innovative initiatives. An employee's new idea must first be approved by their nearest supervisor. Then the idea has to be described and fine-tuned (often with a detailed business case) for approval in a forum higher up in the hierarchy. And this forum might meet maybe 1- 2 times a year. The same applies to budget allocation, which in most companies happens once, at best twice, a year. This isn't fast enough if you want to keep up with developments and customers' expectations. That's why we are seeing an increasing number of small companies delegate all or parts of the decision-making process to individual employees. By delegating responsibility and decision-making, you ensure a much greater autonomy and agility, so that you as an organisation can react quicker to changing conditions, new developments and feedback from customers.

5. Organisation

organiseringLet's end where we began in article 1, by looking at the organisation.

When you start recruiting new resources, with completely new skillsets, and defining new cross-functional collaboration structures, processes and a new organisational culture, it's probably worth putting the organisation of your company under the microscope too.

As mentioned in the first article about placement in the organisation there is still no best practice in place when it comes to organising your business optimally for successful digital transformation. However, it is our recommendation that you:

  • Make a conscious decision based on the scope of your goals for digital transformation, keeping an eye on the related pros and cons
  • And finally, that you focus on creating an organisation that is constantly geared towards development and change, and whose main goal is to generate value for customers.

Step 5 to success with digital transformation

Your digital mindset and your definition of "digital transformation" will have a crucial impact on all decisions and activities around the desired transformation - and will thereby also set the limits on how far you want your results to go.

Use the following questions to uncover how your organisation and mindset needs to adjust to achieve your digital transformation:

  • How many resources and which skills in your company need a digital transformation?
  • What new collaboration structures do we need in place for successful digital transformation and a cohesive customer experience across all our contact points?
  • How can we use our culture to regularly grow and support innovation so that our transformation continues to keep up with developments?
  • Are there any existing processes in the organisation that need adjusting/replacing to avoid blocking the desired progress and innovation?
  • Can we organise ourselves better so that we create a more optimal and agile framework for digital transformation?

The moment you become conscious of your digital mindset and start to find answers to the above questions, you will already have taken an important step to NOT becoming one of the 84 % of companies that fail at digital transformation.

Would you like some help with your digital initiatives?

Then send me an e-mail for a no-obligation chat about
the opportunities in your organisation.
Heidi Collin
Heidi CollinDigital Strategy ManagerSend e-mail

1. Skills

kompetencerLet's imagine that your digital strategy is now in place and that you have invested in the new digital systems and technologies. You just need to get started.

But who is going to be using the new systems? Who has the skills to perform the new work routines, which come with these new technologies? And have you put aside time to train the people who are going to be using the new systems?

Time and time again we see companies lacking the skills needed to execute their digital plan and to perform the new digital jobs required. At best, this results in major delays. At worst, you revert to the old routines and only achieve a fraction of the plan.

When you prepare a plan for your digitalisation it is a MUST that you also plan for the required skills:

  • How many resources will you need to execute your plan?
  • What specific skills will you need?
  • Will you need to recruit new resources?
  • Can you train existing resources?
  • Or can some of the jobs be outsourced?

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