Robert Smith, Microsoft Alliance Manager at Sol-Tec
It seems as if every organisation is talking about the importance of their “Digital Transformation” or their “Transformation Journey”, but what does this actually mean in practice?
While there is a lot of noise given over to how important a transformational approach is. This can make some organisations lose sight of the WHY and the HOW.
If you give credence to what Microsoft are saying, they talk about how everyone should now be a developer, whether they can code or not…but is this the answer to the questions raised by Digital Transformation? Is Transformation just about using the latest and greatest tech or moving some stuff to the cloud?
Digital Transformation should never be a goal in and of itself, but rather a change that enables the success and aspirations of an organisation or its people. It is easy to get caught up on the hype train and chase transformation for transformation’s sake, losing sight of what the transformation is supposed to achieve.
So, how do you make any transformation a success? What are the things you need to remember to help you start on your journey? Let’s take a look at a few pointers to help keep you on track:
Transformation is iterative, not prescriptive.
You will hear many people tell you that you only get one chance to undergo a Digital Transformation, but (thankfully!) this isn’t true. It means that a lot of organisations look at the monolithic task of changing everything about their business to fit with a digital or cloud operating model and are daunted by the sheer scale of what they need to do.
To paraphrase the proverb, any journey begins with a single step and the same is true of Digital Transformation. Recognising and accepting that you don’t have to do everything at once, and that it’s ok to fail along the way, is key to making any change work for you and your organisation. If you had planned the holiday of a lifetime and your car broke down on the way to airport, would you cancel the whole trip, or would you find another way to make it happen? Don’t be put off by the first hurdle or be too committed to your plan to ignore the useful fork in the road, but instead use them as opportunities to learn how to make it better next time.
People, People, People
It’s easy to fall foul of thinking that Digital Transformation is all about technology. While it’s true that tech has an important role to play in helping your organisation transform, it is only one part of a much larger puzzle.
The piece that makes your organisation unique is your people. Other organisations will (broadly) have access to the same technologies. They may even have similar processes, but only YOU have YOUR people.
Bring them with you on every step of your transformation journey. Don’t become a victim of thinking you know how your people currently work, what they consider important or what they see as blockers to them doing their best work. Ask them. Listen to what they have to say. Let their responses be your guide as to WHY and HOW you should transform and keep them engaged and informed along the journey.
It’s important to point out that “People” doesn’t only describe IT or tech’ focused folks. It means making every employee feel like their voice is not only heard, but listened to, even if, ultimately, you are not able to implement every change they would like. Don’t fall into the trap of restricting any technical Pilot Programmes to only the techies in your organisation or any advisory boards or committees to only the managers in your business. Make sure that employees from every level have a real voice on the direction of travel your organisation is taking.
Let your uniqueness be your guide
Just as your people make your organisation unique, so do your values. Every organisation has a core set of principles and guiding values that make them unique. You can see our values here:
Using the process of transformation to re-evaluate these values and priorities can be a cathartic exercise:
Can you hand on heart say that you are living your core values every day?
Do your current business processes get in the way of, or actively support your values?
Are they still representative of the reality of where you are now, or of the aspirations of where you want to be in the next 6 months or the next 6 years?
The key is to use whatever values you see as important to your organisation as the guide to WHY and HOW to transform, without letting them be lost in the fog of transformation at any cost.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Digital Transformation can be a jewel in the crown of your organisation’s success, but it is also one of the most complex and difficult roads to travel in terms of delivering tangible benefits back to your organisation.
While it is true that you get more than one chance to transform as your business grows and changes, early success can make any future iterations easier to swallow for both your business and your people. Likewise, if you have tried to transform on your own and not achieved the results you had hoped for or expected, it is no failure to ask someone else to review your plans and guide you both onto the path to success.
We are experts at helping organisations like yours migrate their legacy workloads to the cloud or transform their productivity environments, helping them transform in line with their values and realising significant cost and efficiency savings along the way.
Let us help you on your journey to transform – Just contact our transformation experts at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 01189 514 200.