Digital transformation has been important for business leaders for a long time. This makes them more efficient, profitable, customer centric, and data driven. It enables processes to work together, smartly, and provide robust business intelligence. According to a recent survey, 56% of CEOs reported a direct increase in annual revenue after the successful digital transformation of their company.
In the aftermath of the pandemic, for many organisations, implementing digital transformation has become a matter of urgency. Most senior executives believe that the digital world is transforming and helping them move towards newer ways of operating business. Consequently, digitalisation has become more crucial for companies than ever before to stay nimble, agile, and relevant. On a fundamental level, the path towards digital transformation integrates digital technology, data, and processes into all areas of a business and then focuses on the overall strategy of the organisation to achieve business goals. Most digital transformation projects are complex, multifaceted, and represent the massive technology shift propelling organisations into a global league of modern and data-centric companies.
Technologies ranging from big data, cloud, advanced DevOps, IoT, AI, ML, robotics, AR, advanced predictive analytics, data sciences, 5G-enabled solutions, quantum computing, and voice-enabled solutions are helping businesses develop and adopt new models and disrupt the established way of operating. An organization’s digital transformation happens not just by adopting these technologies, but also through a tectonic shift in the entire organisational culture. While these technologies are solutions to fulfil business objectives, long-term digital transformation is a product of a foundation of cultural change.
A digital transformation friendly culture is one where organizations continually challenge the status quo, experiment, and get comfortable with quick failures. This in turn propels the business towards larger goals. However, promoting such an environment requires commitment, focus, and discipline. Many organizations do not realize that, beyond the hype and extravagant jargon. Advocating for change in the culture of an organization means consistently building the sentiment for transformation among employees and stakeholders. It is often difficult to reconcile with traditional hierarchical thinking and therefore, there is a constant need to evaluate the larger agenda when it comes to driving change.
Apart from technology and processes, there is one highly significant challenge that frequently upends even the best-planned and best-funded digital transformations. This is the phenomenon of siloed work culture, which is common at many organizations and creates a huge obstacle in achieving digital transformation, as it requires real collaboration cutting across divisions. Digital transformation brings about a paradigm shift in the way an organization operates, and hence is not restricted to any one department. Organizations should identify the right mix of stakeholders to develop synergies with and embrace this change. Successful business transformation projects need employees who are aware and aligned to the purpose and plan of the company’s digital transformation initiative. The most important aspect is to constantly think about the bigger picture and work towards achieving it. Only a comprehensive approach can help devise an appropriate digitalization strategy. Therefore, leadership needs to be aware that a company-wide sensitization program is the secret sauce for creating and successfully implementing a digital transformation project.
Though the organization’s culture plays a pivotal role in every aspect of transformation, it is crucial to understand its influence and significance in sustaining the impetus as well. Concisely, digital transformation is making waves across industries, and its implementation by organizations is just a matter of when, not if.
Views are personal. The author is ED & COO, Mindtree.