Digital transformation: The tables are turned

Written by Jonathan Sharp on 19 June 2017 in Opinion
Opinion

Jonathan Sharp tell us why digital transformation is always top of the agenda.

Businesses and organisations have always focused on training and developing employees to grow their skills and knowledge to benefit both the workplace and the individuals. They are constantly looking to motivate them, cultivate their skills and hone a culture of learning and enthusiasm to rise through the ranks. 

Now in the age of the millenials and digital transformation, employers need to look beyond their existing cultures and training programmes, and open themselves to a workplace that embraces a flatter structure, an open culture of innovation and technology that provides new ways of learning and working.

Digital shock wave

Unified communications technology has enabled us to communicate with each other in real time whether it is via phone call, video call or sending an instant message, or even sharing documents and your desktop remotely.

It is critical to understand that it is not technology that drives an organisation forward, it is the employees and the culture that you create that will deliver success.

It has changed the face of communications forever and customers and employees are expecting businesses and organisations to provide the same technology they use at home in the workplace.

For millennials who have been brought up using this technology, it is a given that these tools should be available at work; considering by 2025 they will make up 75% of the workplace (Forbes) organisations should be providing them with the tools they need to do their jobs more effectively.

It is critical to understand that it is not technology that drives an organisation forward, it is the employees and the culture that you create that will deliver success.

Deciding what technology you need is a daunting task and often organisations deploy technology for the sake of it rather than based on what it can achieve. If a digital transformation strategy is not devised correctly from the start, then it will fail. 

This is one of the biggest challenges at present, along with the fact that organisations and businesses often don’t know what potential is hiding in their existing technology, never mind new technology. For a technology to be a success it must be aligned with the business’s objectives, strategy and operations.

Training is a crucial aspect of a technology rollout as new system and application deployments will often fail due to inadequate training and lack of use. The organisation should recognise onboarding new technology as a progressive ongoing process and the investment in training should reflect it.

Empowering your employees

Motivate your employees and increase engagement by involving them in the decision-making process on what technology you need. You can include them in the initial discussions, design and development process.

If employees are involved from the onset this will speed up the user adoption rate of the new technology because everyone has been involved. Far too often new technology falls by the wayside and is not used because it was forced upon employees.  

If the technology is easy to use and employees know how and when to use it then the business and the employees will reap the benefits.

Learning from each other

Unified communications solutions such as screen sharing, video calls and instant messaging in real time provide us with the capability to work remotely, in fact from anywhere with a broadband connection.

The trend is clear: millennials want to work remotely and freelancing is set to grow by 50% in the US by 2020 (Intuit) so businesses and organisations need to adapt their thinking, moving on from the idea that employees must be seen to be working in the office, and start trusting those who work remotely to be as productive as office-based staff, if not more.

Today’s workplace is much more fluid than it has ever been and employees need to help knock down the silos and stop keeping what they are working on a secret. Having integrated communication tools in place as well as the infrastructure to share information faster and more easily amongst individuals, teams and departments will help to encourage closer collaboration and promote an open culture.

A useful approach for employers is to draw inspiration from their own employees and their technology skills to discover new ways of working and improve communications and processes. Many companies use millennials for mentoring on how to use UC tools to be more effective in their roles.

Employees should also be encouraged to share ideas on how to use new technology as everyone is on a learning curve and should not be scared that their idea may fail; innovation is key.

Embrace Innovation

It is imperative that we align technology with business objectives, strategy and operations for it to be successful. As well as companies and organisations realising that part of a digital strategy is to bend and flex and create an open culture, it is about time employee skills were tapped into and developed further to maximise technology adoption and innovate workplace communications and learning. 

With employees involved and empowered from start to finish your business transformation has the best chance of succeeding.

 

About the author

Jonathan Sharp is director of Britannic Technologies has 20 years experience in IT & Telecoms with a proven ability to lead and motivate teams, execute change, deliver market differentiation and achieve profitable growth. 

 

Read more about organisational development here

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