Digital Transformation

It’s easy to assume all companies are digitally native these days. With an ever-younger workforce & having worked in Digital-esque sectors for a while, I’m always assuming a company knows it’s way around technology & it’s adoption. In fact usually when I rock up to a company, digital is already the backbone. Its DNA swimming in ones & zeros!

So recently entering a sector traditionally tech-devoid and only just now starting to be disrupted, there are big companies where technology has not been the first thought for the business for decades and I’ve been reminded of that. Suddenly, they must ‘be digital’ (whatever that means), & they spin up resources and projects to get them down that path! This got me thinking of the times I’ve transformed companies & departments slowly, and gently with a held hand & a cuddle whispering sweet nothings in peoples ear about ‘time saved’ and ‘it’s all in the cloud now’.

I wanted to write about it here.

It’s fucking raw!

The problem with digital transformation then, from a human being perspective is cultures often collide. Digital by its very nature is disruptive. It’s confusing, brash & full of directional velocity which doesn’t always bare the business in mind. If Digital was a person, it’d be Gordon Fucking Ramsay, and a non-digital business would be a quiet dusty library. Gordon walks in, starts swearing like a docker whereas meanwhile all the library staff have run their library the same way for decades. Why do they need something new? They don’t like change, aren’t bought in, are nervous and Gordon just starts smashing the place up making things fucking worse. The result? A library that looks like a bombs hit it, a bunch of people who hate Gordon (Digital) and no hope, no future – it’s all grim



Businesses where digital hasn’t been adopted properly often look like bombs have hit them, I see that occasionally & the reason for this blog post is to express some thoughts about what Digital Leaders can do, from a more ‘personal perspective’ when it comes to Digital.

Let’s remember you won’t truly realise the ROI in Digital unless people adopt. And that’s the key – people are the most important aspect of a Digital project ironically, and that is often forgotten about.

So what can you do?

A business that’s previously run without high-tech won’t understand how technology will benefit them. Technology is full of confusing acronyms and seems complex, and makes people who don’t understand it feel stupid. Instead of telling, why not show? Give your non-tech teams iPads, laptops, or maybe hold Lunch & Learns or workshops to give them basic skills to learn how IT and technology benefits them as individuals. If they’ve never worked from home before, set them up with a VPN, an iPad and a smart phone. See how they get on. Capture their feedback. Demonstrate, show, and importantly listen.

Clear Communication – please, if you’re not good at this, hire someone who is but please hold regular top-down communications into how Digital can help, what it can do, and how it benefits the business. Now is the time to talk to people, to speak plain English and to RELATE how Tech will help the USERS and not just the business. Not only list the benefits. Show the benefits. If you’re leading a digital project and are half-way through, communicate progress. Keep that communication often. If you want people to engage, you need to engage them. Newsletters, community noticeboards, intranets. Want to know how to present something? Here’s a couple of inspirational people here;

    1. Shaun Achor – the science of Happiness
    2. Jamie Olivers award-winning Ted Talk on Child Obesity
    4. Steve Jobs presenting the first iPhone

There’s a really great whitepaper here from iScoop on the digital transformation process & its more holistic side, I really think its worth you reading. The graphic below is an excerpt from it


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