How to Digitally Transform Your Business, Part 1: People
But the other two components – people and processes – are equally vital to the success of any transformation.
Changing established business processes can be challenging, but the benefits of moving toward an agile business model often validate the effort.
It’s the people who are often forgotten.
Your employees are the key to seeing true success with increasing your competitive advantage, implementing new technologies and revolutionizing processes. They are the ones who will adopt these changes and support your initiatives, so it’s critical to get them on board.
While training and communicating with employees is generally not your responsibility, as someone leading the charge of digital adoption, it’s important to understand the role that employees play in its success, and how to communicate and promote that to other internal stakeholders.
And the good news? It’s easy! Let’s discuss some of the benefits of digital transformation to employees and how improving their experiences can help your business.
Break down siloes
For example, traditionally the career tract of an accountant was in Accounting, whereas today’s finance professional could easily work within an IT team to build an annual budget and optimize ongoing costs. Or a product manager who was traditionally siloed in their own department may now work within a cross-functional group of marketing, sales, development and finance to streamline the creation process and gain valuable insights during ideation stages from other internal partners.
However, today’s incredibly fast cycle of innovation has changed everything. In order to remain competitive, organizations need to promote deeper internal partnerships.
Shared knowledge is crucial here, and each department brings a unique perspective to the table when they work together. You may even find that new employee roles are created to bridge the gap between departments, such as HR business partners and IT account managers.
As the use of mobile devices and cloud technologies becomes more embedded in organizations, it naturally leads to a more well-connected workforce. Globally-dispersed employees get the opportunity to “know” each other through digital platforms even if they’ve never met in person. Leadership teams can communicate with employees at every level equally and not just face-to-face.
When users embrace the digital tools and processes that help facilitate cross-department collaboration, it becomes easier to share and access information, communicate across time zones, and stay up to date with each other. By utilizing these revolutionary applications, each previously-siloed department has a better understanding of their internal customers and their respective employees gain expanded skillsets.
Too Long, Didn't Read
Digital transformation is about people, processes, and technologies. Without getting your employees on board, implementing even the best processes and technologies won’t be enough to drive organizational change.
For example, Microsoft Teams allows both file storage and persistent chat, so users have instant access to relevant documents and are never out of the loop on any group updates. As part of Office 365, it seamlessly integrates with other native services such as Skype for Business and SharePoint Online, and also offers simplified integration with third-party applications like SmartSheet, JIRA, Twitter, among many others.
LinkedIn PointDrive is another fantastic tool that streamlines your sales team’s prospecting efforts. Within this application, a user can create content “packs” of sales collateral, pitch decks and product information, send that personalized content to prospects and track the recipient’s engagement with those assets for greater transparency in the sales cycle.
The right tools make it easier for users to communicate and collaborate both internally and externally through the use of digital workspaces and access-from-anywhere apps. Arduous, manual tasks like emailing a shared worksheet around once it’s been updated for the tenth time (and making sure you’re working from the latest one) are suddenly near-automated. Their productivity is unleashed.
By encouraging employees to use these new tools and processes, you’re creating a more efficient workforce.
Improve company culture
Embracing a digitally-forward mindset creates a company culture that values innovation and creativity, which energizes and inspires employees to be engaged and contribute to the shared goal.
Imagine a 2,500 person company with two dozen offices globally – many of those people have probably never met. There are no shared experiences because each location likely has its own culture. While loyal to their own small group, these users may feel isolated from the larger organization.
But imagine if they’re suddenly able witness a broadcast of celebrations happening simultaneously in the offices around the world or watch a leadership team Q&A. These types of experiences help them bond and feel connected to the organization.
It’s a well-known fact that employee engagement is a critical measure of a company’s success. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, productivity improves by 20-25% in organizations with connected employees. Can you afford to not capitalize on that type of gain?