There’s lots of talk about digital transformation but do we really know what it means? And everything that’s involved? One of the best definitions I’ve heard was at last year’s KronosWorks conference. John Frehse, senior managing director at Ankura Consulting Group LLC, described digital transformation with the line, “Data is out. Answers are in.” His point was that digital transformation is about organizations getting answers through the strategic use of technology.
While technology is a key ingredient in digital transformation, it’s important to note that digital transformation isn’t about technology. Let me say that again – it’s not technology! It’s about organizational change. Here are a few Workforce Institute articles that share how to use change management strategies for managing HR’s digital transformation.
Digital transformation is about organizations getting answers through the strategic use of technology. But once organizations get answers, they have to do something with the information. I’ve always said that one of the worst things that organizations can do is ask employees for their opinions and then do nothing with it. The same philosophy applies. It doesn’t make any sense to collect a bunch of data and then do nothing with it.
The key is making data actionable. The question becomes how to do that. I wish I could say it’s easy but it’s not. Organizations need to take steps to make sure that they put their data to good use.
Change has probably never been a bigger part of our lives. Individually, we’re dealing with both personal and professional change every day. Part of that change could be working remotely. Organizations are facing change too. They have to decide if and when to bring employees back into the workplace. It’s possible that they will have to review and revise policies and procedures to keep employees safe and well. Maybe even make some very tough decisions about employee headcounts and operational expenses.
Organizations that try to micromanage a change effort are going to get really tired, very fast. And there’s no guarantee that the change effort will be successful anyway. Real results happen when employees are given the freedom to help the organization make change work.
As much as organizations and individuals want to return to “normal”, there are probably going to be aspects of business that change for a very long time, if not forever. That might not be terrible. There are some good outcomes emerging from this unprecedented time. But we’ve all seen the statistics that more than 70% of change efforts fail. Part of the reason is because organizations don’t do a good job of managing the change process.
The ADKAR Model can be used as a framework to achieve individual and organizational change. Models like ADKAR can help individuals manage professional change. They can guide managers and project leaders through new ways of doing business. And they can help organizations grow through processes like digital transformation. Giving all employees a roadmap for change and teaching them how to use it will benefit the individual and the organization.
Decades ago, the way businesses used to get answers was by sifting through piles of data. But let’s face it, employees really don’t like crunching the numbers. And just about the time they finish pulling all the numbers together, the data isn’t current anymore. Organizations are faced with a situation where they’re always being reactionary because they simply can’t keep up with the data.
Digital transformation is focused on creating a new way of business. It’s about giving employees answers and empowering them to make good decisions. Technology is able to crunch the numbers, do it quickly, and free up organizations, giving them the time they need to make business decisions. But organizations have to put a solid change management process in place to make the transformation successful.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of Cincinnati, OH13