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Resource Centre | February 16, 2019

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Digital transformation hinges on employee culture

Effective digital transformations require a change in organisational culture.

Digital solutions like the Internet of Things (IoT) or hybrid cloud infrastructure have become so publicised that it seems as though once a company deploys them, growth will immediately follow.

Unfortunately, that just isn't the case. While achieving the various benefits does rely heavily on an effective integration strategy, employee culture also plays a critical role in dictating success. It's simple enough; if leadership, mid-level management and employees don't buy-in, full return on investment will never be realised.

Start at the top

In a similar vein, transforming an organisation's culture is a common topic, but actually accomplishing it is an entirely different story. It's not as simple as sending out a memo, hiring new staffers or changing the brand.

Cross-departmental collaboration should be encouraged.Cross-departmental collaboration should be encouraged.

Underneath it all is the transition from an analogue to a digital culture. Both employ very different management styles. The former is a by-product of the antiquated top-down hierarchy, while the latter leverages technological upgrades to empower employees, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. Here are a few ways to transition away from analogue:

  • Break down departmental silos to allow for quick, independent decision making.
  • Transition away from task-defined objectives towards being more result-oriented.
  • Shift from pushing products to identifying needs of customers and the market at large in research and development.

Executives should work to find and train mid-level management that exemplify this new culture. Then, work to develop internal policies that outline the shift taking place for other employees.

Move towards the middle

A key lever in creating a digital culture will be mid-level leadership. It's their job to integrate directions coming from the top, but also to train lower level staff members in the right habits.

Collaboration is undoubtedly an important concept in this type of ongoing transformation. Far too often, though, mid-level managers can see cross-functional departments as being too open due to the inherent lack of control that comes with it. In reality, companies should, in some sense, strive for failure – that's the only way it can learn to succeed.

Low-hanging fruit can stunt cultural change.

Say, for example, a department is focused solely on the low-hanging fruit. This is fine in the early days of an IT integration strategy, but at some point the training wheels have to come off. If you take too long to take them off, that stinging failure can give mid-level management caution. They may then revert to the old way of doing things, where they give a task and a way to complete it, and expect it to be done that way.

Encourage employees to branch out and adopt new solutions through ongoing workshops, confirmation that they can make their own decisions and an overall shift to focus on how your team can help the client, rather than simply what it can provide them.

Don't react to the market, go on the aggression.Don't react to the market, go on the aggression.

Don't forget about the end user

Change can be enacted from leadership and management, but if it doesn't resonate with employees then ultimately the return on investment will be less than expected. Here are a few ways to ensure staffers will get the best use out of the new infrastructure:

  • Rather than reacting to market developments, encourage being aggressive.
  • View data as a way to spot trends and insights, rather than simply an analysis of historical performance.
  • Focus less on what the company has to offer, and more on what the customers' needs are.
  • Encourage independent thinking to achieve objectives, and learn from failure.

At the end of the day, overlooking just how crucial an effective IT integration strategy can also play a role in maintaining an analogue culture. Extended downtime can lead to tentative use, which can hurt adoption rates in the long run. Ensure your new infrastructure is up and running smoothly by working with a managed services provider the whole way through. For more information, contact an ANATAS representative today.

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