Digital transformation has grown to become among the most researched topics globally because it has been anticipated that companies have been unable to fit into the digital world. Digital transformation normally involves evoking digital technologies to render a particular process more efficient and effective. Technology is not meant to replicate an existing service in digital form, but employ technology to transform the service to something better.
While companies are embracing digital transformation, studies have shown that enhanced competitive positioning of companies does not solely depend on the technologies that they adopt, but technology is an important recipe on the strategies that are deployed by leaders of those companies. Primarily, technology provides avenues for efficiency as well as customer intimacy.
However, should the employees exploiting that technology lacks the right mindset to change the organizational practices then technology is not likely to bring about digital transformation? Therefore digital transformation will not work alone if employees are not ready to embrace the same and should they fail to embrace the same well, then they will create more flaws.
To quantify the statement that digital transformation is not about technology, this paper will look at the following lessons where organizations have realized digital transformations.
A business strategy fundamentally is a masterplan that a company will adopt to secure competition in the market, execute its operations, meet customer expectations and in the long run achieve the desired ends of a particular business. To broaden it further, the management of a company should ensure that the business strategy helps in achieving effectiveness, perceives and utilizes opportunities, mobilizes the limited resources, secures a competitive advantage among the competitors and meets challenges and threats.
The management and leadership of any company that is aiming at organizational performance primarily employ technology as a tool for digital transformation. It has been argued that there is no technology that will deliver speed and innovation; however, this is the main focus for digital transformation. Therefore, it is not every organization that is in need of technology for it to realize digital transformation.
In the execution of the updated digital processes as well as tools, there is a need for the employees to adopt a mindset shift or else the technology will not achieve much if people are not willing to adopt them. Employees are the people who move the company and they should be in the front line in the adoption of the technologies for better delivery of goods and services to meet customer expectations.
All employees in an organization that is adopting technology should be made to understand the vision for digital transformation and be sensitized of the positive effect it will have in the workplace, and why they should embrace the notion that digital tools will require a change in the way that they work.
There should be a clear vision to explain why the company is adopting technological changes and this is likely to inspire employees to embrace the change and support digital transformation. There is also a need for the leadership of a company to identify champions of change who can influence others to embrace digital transformation.
It is also important to introduce employee learning solutions that are not only geared towards imparting knowledge but also motivate employees in wanting to change. Therefore it is important that employees are well prepared psychologically to embrace change so that one avoids issues of resistance for change to embrace technology and this will hinder digital transformation.
After a mind shift, employees will now be required to put to practice how they leverage data, as well as the use of new technologies. Just by coming up with new technologies and training the employees on how the technologies work is no guarantee that the employees will incorporate the new technologies into their work. Studies in this area have revealed that digital transformation may not achieve maximum impact unless people engage with that new technology.
Other reports have indicated that when technology and people come together, the rate of error is reduced significantly as compared to when employees or technology work alone. Therefore technology and people should work in tandem for digital transformation to be realized from technology.
For a successful digital transformation in any organization, employees must learn how to think and act differently from what they had been used to and in line with the technology in place.
The training that the leadership of the company should offer should be targeted on teamwork so that different employees in different departments execute digital transformation in line with the technology in place.
Project management is also another line of training as well as innovation so that employees are able personally to support the digital transformation process.
It is expected that leaders should lead by example and they should set the expectation of a company in line with the business strategy. Leaders are supposed to set the pace for employee behaviors and tune the employees to a mindset that is required to ensure that digital transformation is successful. Scholars have argued that digital transformation is not about technology but about the employees and how they are led to be inspired to take the challenge and execute the whole thing.
The leader is supposed first to look at cultural change in the organization transforming digitally, understand the employees at discretion through detailed research on their abilities and mindsets, and then involve the employees in every step of transformation so that they are stakeholders and they should own the whole process.
Leaders can foster and fast track digital transformation through the creation of an environment that is communication free and employees are at ease to ask questions and clarification on issues that face them. They might also be having solutions to the digital transformation and should be given time to air their reservations and observations.
Leaders should also recognize individuals who add to the process of digital transformation and motivate them. It is also important to support learning in employees and try to have an impact on their competency.
Following the arguments presented above, it is evident that digital transformation involves the addition of technology; however, ‘it is the employees that will allow either transformation to succeed or stall. Technology is just but an enabler of digital transformation but employees will ensure that the technology is used well for purposes of digital transformation.