Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
I’m sure that the title of today’s article isn’t really a surprise to anyone. Technology has been disrupting business and the economy for quite some time.
However, one of the things I’ve been hearing consistently since the pandemic became front page news is how unprepared organizations have been for digital transformation. Even the organizations that thought they were ahead of the game. I’m not just talking about organizations having the right hardware and software.
In addition to having the right equipment, digital transformation is about thinking differently. During the virtual HR Technology Conference, Leapgen CEO Jason Averbook, shared a statistic that I thought really put digital transformation into perspective. He mentioned a global survey that said the pandemic sped up digital transformation strategies by an average of six years. I think this is significant.
Averbook explained that one of the reasons for this acceleration was that the pandemic has created a situation where roadblocks are being removed. It makes sense. Before the pandemic, new ideas might have been slowed based on a variety of factors: culture, internal politics, budgets, lack of skills, etc. Now things have changed for organizations and individuals.
But with these changes related to digital tranformation, organizations and individuals need to achieve some alignment in what work looks like, why they do the work, and how the work gets done. Averbook talked about four components to digital success and I could see organizations using these components to create alignment.
Mindset and vision. Averbook explained that the days of static strategy are over, meaning that organizations need to constantly examine their strategy and sunset those things that simply don’t work anymore. I like to think of this as becoming a learning organization. Companies need to unlearn what’s not working and relearn. Employees will have to do the same thing. It’s possible that career goals will have to be more fluid. Individuals will want to stop doing things that no longer make sense for their careers. They will also need to learn and start doing things that will get them ahead.
People and audience. While technology is having a greater presence in our lives, that doesn’t mean we should sacrifice humanity. Being able to deliver digital transformation and a human experience is more important than ever. Organizations will need to design experiences that are inclusive for both employees and customers. Employees should not feel they are receiving a lesser experience. It will be equally important to communicate with both groups in a variety of ways. Organizations can no longer rely on one method of communication for their messaging. This will mean that employees need to be skilled in omnichannel communications – both as givers and receivers.
Process and journey. I was really pleased to hear Averbook talk about the need to redefine what “high-touch” means in today’s world. High-touch used to be another term for “in-person”. Now organizations need to define what high-touch means in terms of human interaction and digital interaction. We also need to establish what the success metrics will be for each. We’ve been seeing this on some level as consumers – what we feel is a positive digital experience or in-person experience. Let me add that I believe these two experiences need to be aligned. It’s not acceptable to have a fantastic digital experience but a terrible in-person one (or vice versa).
Technology and solution. The last component that Averbook discussed was focused on the value of technology. In the first three components (i.e. mindset/vision, people/audience, and process/journey), the focus is on using technology. I felt like this component was targeted on the “why”. For example, digital transformation takes the organization from reactive to proactive. It helps organizations move from effective to efficient. It’s the value of technology that will help organizations maintain their competitiveness and effectively deliver to the bottom-line.
Organizations and individuals need to spend some time thinking about digital transformation and how it will impact their work. As companies start to focus on recovery, technology will be part of the equation. It will be necessary to ask questions like, “Do we have the equipment we need?” “Does everyone know how to use it?” Those sound so basic and they are, but how many organizations aren’t asking those questions right now?
But there are a few other questions that organizations need to consider including “What’s our digital transformation strategy?” “Do we have the skills to execute it?” “What are our competitors doing digitally – both in terms of talent management and customer experience?” The past year has shown us what we knew all along. Technology is redefining work, and we just can’t fight it any longer.
Images captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of Fort Lauderdale, FL28