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Tackling the First Resistance to Digital Transformation: Culture Change

Digital Transformation Organizational Culture

A business culture, essentially, is a balance of two elements—technology and people. Technologies can’t work independently, and thus, for a company’s digital success to thrive, one must in all sense create a workforce that can adapt to the transformational change. Great companies have understood that the ultimate throttle on the growth of any company is not technology, markets, competition, or product; it is the people. The people working in the organization form the core of its business and, without them, every effort of infusing change lies flat.

Changing the business culture that a company has long inherited is equal to beginning an organization from its first brick. Needless to say, it’s an intimidating job.

Before we describe the challenges and steps to build an enduring digital culture, let’s first examine why infusing a digital culture is important.

Infusing a Digital Culture

Digital Transformation has a company’s culture at its heart and soul and is centered on re-inventing its set of processes and behaviors. But, once embedded, digital transformation is aligned tactically to an organization’s strategy and objectives for underpinning success. With this subtle description of the importance of digital culture, let’s look into the values the digital culture brings in.

  • A digital culture brings mental agility and hand-eye coordination in an organizational workflow and allows it to take charge of better opportunities.
  • A digital culture banishes hierarchy, engages every employee in the decision-making process, and promotes inclusive growth.
  • A digital culture leverages employee skill-sets and boosts capabilities, encouraging them to work on challenging briefs with conviction.
  • A digital culture attracts fine talent and builds a constructive workforce. Job seekers prefer digital companies over traditional ones, because they are more collaborative, creative, and champions of innovation.

Challenges of Achieving a Cultural Change

Changing an organizational culture can be complex than you can imagine. By instilling digital transformation, you’re basically conditioning your business to adopt a new set of goals, processes, attitudes, behaviors, and practices, which of course, is no mean leadership feat. You’re trying to turn your business on its head, and so, challenges will be many and intimidating.

a.    Traditional Company Culture

The biggest obstacle to achieving digital culture is the culture itself that’s rigid and reluctant. Traditional business culture lacks flexibility and is quite averse to change. So, they tend to withdraw each time you drive a change. They continue to stick to their good old ways, and in the process, lose sight of the new envisioned goals and values of the business. The result is nothing, but a terrible wipe-off. The leadership, thus, has to be decisive about how to lead the change and mesh it in every nook and corner of the workflow.

b.    Infrastructural Cost Overruns

Digital Transformation is not easy. It requires a full-fledged infrastructure. And remember that it’s nothing like the poky IT cells and legacy systems you’ve known. This infrastructure is hybrid, including products, applications and services for mobile, social, cloud, data analytics, and automation, which need a hefty maintenance cost scaling up to as much as 60%. The stress of fleshing out a big, fat chunk of the budget itself, just for the maintenance of digital infrastructure discourages the enterprises from adopting digitization.

c. Limited Scalability

Digital Transformation introduces a slew of tasks to a workflow, which had not existed in the organization earlier. With such an operational jump, an enterprise is supposed to allocate its resources effectively and wisely to cater to the new challenges. But, at times, it’s seen that businesses aren’t equipped to scale up its resource allocation within a timeframe; this makes adoption of the new culture tough and strenuous.

d. Inefficient Automation

Digital Transformation focuses highly on automation. And just as you know, a high degree of automation allows an enterprise to move away from the manual processes and contributes to improving overall productivity. Besides, traditional cultures are very reluctant to trust anything mechanical over the manual. They are always iffy about breaking off their comfort shells, doubting fairness and accuracy of automation; and thereby, continue slogging on redundant tasks.  

e. Upskilling Challenges

Digital literacy is a major roadblock to digital transformation. Since traditional executives aren’t aware of the new technological processes, it takes a lot of planning and patience to instill digital competencies in them. Moreover, the processes associated with digital transformation can be quite challenging to grasp. Businesses must invest heavily in organizing training sessions and mentorship programs to ensure success.    

Core Elements of Digital Culture

Digital Transformation is a skilled and diversifying exercise. It entails a seismic shift to an organization’s long-established dynamics. So, a jumbled approach would not help. It’s important to catch up with its real essence to make an impact.

The four core elements that determine a digital culture are:

a. It Dares You to Take Risks

Forging a digital culture is a risky endeavor. It involves abandoning the status quo and moving into an all-new digitized space. People in a digital set-up are encouraged to take risks, engage, evolve, and ace the challenges. They understand the risks of embracing a whole new culture but are willing to shed their worries and grow.  

b. It Encourages Small Moves and Short-Term PlanningDigital Transformation Organizational Culture

A digital culture evolves rapidly and is subject to unpredictable change. A time when the nature of the job is shifting quickly, long-term planning doesn’t help. To drive it with efficiency, an enterprise must focus on taking small, incremental steps to accomplish targets.

c. It Puts Collaboration First

In a digital culture, people are encompassed together, share a high volume of information, and works in absolute collaboration so as to galvanize the success borders. This is essential, as it maximizes flexibility, adaptability, and transparency within an enterprise.

d. It Embraces Disruption

Not only does digital transformation aim at keeping a business abreast of new technologies, but also inspires it to bring disruption into perspective. It provokes leadership to identify new ways of doing things and leverage technology for better outcomes.

Steps to Achieve Cultural Change in the Company

A culture that’s ready to kick-start and blend with the new business conduct is highly indispensable. The road to its implementation might require a mounting effort, but if you play your cards right, the targets are achievable.

Note that there’s no standard blueprint for digital transformation. The plan ‘calling for change’ varies from companies to companies depending on size, structure, scope, and line of business, core values, objectives, procedures and strategic planning. So, there’s no one size that fits all.

We’ve curated a guide to achieving cultural change to help you sort out the basics before getting down to hectic action.

#1 Evaluate your current culture and its performance metrics to identify the strengths, the thrust areas, and the weak links altogether. This is essential to keep the ‘good’ and junk the ‘bad.’

#2 Define a vision and highlight how a culture change will be of benefit to the organization. This will give clarity to employees about the aim they have to work on, and the kind of behaviors they must exhibit.

#3 Determine the key performance priorities which need an extra care, and a careful implementation, as it triggers growth areas that help expand the potential of the business.

#4 Build a management team to closely track the priorities, goals, and outcomes. The subsequent feedbacks can be further used to evaluate performance, optimize and analyze the planning of the resources.

#5 The infusion of digital culture will pull in an array of new tasks, which needs the right human element. Bring in new talents and expand the manpower to carry out tasks in consonance of your new processes and objectives.

#6 In the event of culture metamorphosis, think about rewarding employees who are pushing your agenda forward and emerging as agents of change. This is important to keep them engaged and motivated.

Digital Transformation and customer experience

A culture breathes through its employees and is very critical for a sustainable digital transformation. A half-baked approach can severely damage a business’s interests for now and ever.