Digital Capability Leaps Leave Employees Minding the Gap

Donald Barnhart Written by Donald Barnhart

Digital Capability Leaps Leave Employees Minding the Gap

Transforming the digital capabilities of your organization is no easy task. 

Many strategic efforts fail to reach their desired business objectives because strategic digital change requires significant people change. In Nitin Seth’s book, "Winning in the Digital Age", three of his seven key building blocks for successful digital transformation are about your people and change management. They include:

  • Organization Transformation
  • Entrepreneurial Leadership
  • And Next Generation Talent

We have worked with clients who have had failures in each of these areas, causing executives and other leaders to question the wisdom of the strategic plans and the capability of their organization. A company recently installed leading-edge technology to inform operations better and optimize their supply chain and processes. They had selected a “best of breed” software and installed visualization technologies to make better business decisions even faster.

As they proudly invested funds and launched the project, they worked hard to tackle the technical challenges and refine their processes. A year later, they turned the systems on with excitement.

What happened next caused many leaders to search for answers as to what went wrong.

First, they failed to take the organization through transformation. Users up and down the line had trouble completing their expected tasks. The data in the system was deemed “wrong” and thus not trusted. Some even stopped using the system and returned to their old methods for the last 25 years. They had not brought their employees to a place of doing something new.

Second, they failed to foster entrepreneurial leadership. Managers stared at visual dashboards exclaiming that their inventories were in severe disarray and customers were receiving products late. Yet they didn’t make changes. They didn’t make decisions. They didn’t solve problems. They retreated into pointing figures and complaining. The sad part was that executives didn’t hold them accountable either.

Finally, they failed to infuse next-generation talent into their organization. The next generation was not invited, so their energy, comfort with technology, and eagerness to try new things didn’t lend support, energy, and ideas to the entire process.

This type of digital transformation journey is common. The fundamental flaw in this effort is that the company worked hard to prepare people for the new system, providing them with data literacy, but it did not get the organization ready for the capability.

How can an organization ensure that its digital transformation efforts are successful?

In today's fast-paced and ever-evolving business landscape, digital transformation is necessary for organizations to stay competitive and relevant. However, ensuring the value of these efforts is no small feat. To help your organization navigate this complex integration journey, here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Clear Vision & Strategy: Establish a clear vision and strategy for your digital transformation. Define your goals, identify areas for improvement, and create a roadmap that outlines the steps needed to achieve your desired outcomes. This will provide a guiding framework for all your digital initiatives.
  2. Leadership Commitment: Digital transformation requires strong leadership and commitment from the top. Ensure that your leadership team fully aligns with the vision and strategy and actively supports and champions the transformation efforts. Leaders should actively communicate the importance of digital transformation and actively participate in its implementation.
  3. Engage & Empower Employees: Successful digital transformation requires all employees' active involvement and support. Engage your workforce by creating a culture that embraces change, fosters innovation, and uplifts ideas by providing the necessary training and resources. Empowering employees to contribute ideas and take ownership of digital initiatives will drive success and improve the employee experience.
  4. Build Agile Ways of Working: Adopting an agile and iterative approach allows organizations to quickly adapt to changing market trends and customer needs. Break down digital initiatives into smaller, manageable projects, and continuously evaluate and refine your strategies based on feedback and data. This iterative approach enables organizations to learn from failures and pivot when necessary.
  5. Customer-Centric Focus: Put your customers at the center of your digital transformation efforts. Understand their needs, preferences, and pain points, and design digital solutions that address these effectively. Use data and analytics to gain insights into customer behavior and preferences and leverage technology to personalize customer experiences. Organizations can create meaningful and impactful digital experiences that drive customer loyalty and satisfaction by focusing on the customer.
  6. Invest in Scalable & Secure Technology: To successfully transform digitally, organizations must invest in scalable and secure technology platforms where their teams can operate. This includes leveraging cloud computing for flexibility, scalability, and cost efficiency. Organizations can easily scale their infrastructure by using the cloud to meet growing demands, provide cybersecurity, and ensure data security and privacy.
  7. Implement Data-Driven Decision-Making: Data is a valuable asset in the digital age. Organizations should implement data-driven decision-making to inform their digital transformation efforts. Collect and analyze relevant data analytics to gain insights into customer behavior, market trends, and business performance. Use these insights to make informed decisions and optimize your digital initiatives for better results.

Successful digital transformation requires a clear vision, strong leadership, active employee engagement, an agile approach, a customer-centric focus, and the right technology and data driven decision-making. By considering these key factors, organizations can successfully navigate their digital transformation journey and unlock new opportunities for growth and innovation. Embrace the digital age and transform your business for a brighter future.

If you don’t want your capability transformations to produce lackluster results and leave your employees behind, hire Opportune to help you navigate the transformation. 

Opportune’s Change Management team can help you drive new capability in your organization through:

Organization Capability Transformation

  • Defining and equipping the organization with the required skills, knowledge, experiences, and capabilities required for successful digital transformation.

Talent Transformation

  • Designing a new organization driven by the capability to increase speed and decision-making while infusing next-generation talent.
  • Implementing a comprehensive performance support system that can provide the organizational context and individual motivation to support, reinforce, and incent the right performance tied to the new capability.

Leadership Transformation

  • From leadership training to KPI and dashboard development and tracking, we will equip your leaders for the digital future. Your leaders will drive new capabilities in individuals and new results from the organization with the perspective and skills to solve problems, cross boundaries, and drive results.

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