As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rattle industries, many organizations are turning to digital transformation to ease disruptions. While this shift requires business leaders to make a great deal of technological change, digital transformation also requires them to re-examine their attitudes and culture.
“As I’ve gone down this route, I’ve become increasingly aware of how much digital transformation is really about behaviour change within an organisation,” Matthew Reinbold, former director of API & event streaming platform services at Capital One, told Information Age. “It’s not enough to simply do what we did yesterday using new tools. It’s about changing how we behave when given certain problems or certain opportunities. And behaviour change for people is really, really hard.”
One of the key digital transformation changes organizations will need to implement is adopting a “data-driven decision making culture,” according to Cynthia A. Conway, CEO Peer Advisory Group Chair of Vistage Worldwide, Inc. and Mitch Codkind, president of Initiative Consulting, a division of Initiatives, Inc. To implement such a culture, Conway and Codkind recommend hiring a data scientist who can help you interpret and implement the data that your digitization efforts will rely on, and who can create a “technology architectural plan.”
Writing in Harvard Business Review, they say your plan should outline how to store your company’s data and include:
- technology solutions that allow you to meet your corporate governance requirements
- analytical capabilities that “connect and share information” throughout your organization
- “a data visualization layer” that helps you see your “prioritized performance metrics quickly and easily” for more efficient decision making
“With this in place, you, your data scientist, and their peers will develop processes across your organization to foster a data-driven decision-making culture for a customer-centric organization — without bias,” Conway and Codkind said.
How To Know Your Digitization Efforts Are Working
Once you’ve implemented digital transformation at your organization, how will you know these efforts are paying off? According to Andrew Butt, co-founder and CEO of Enable, a cloud-based B2B software solution for rebate management, there are five ways to gauge success:
- Your employee’s productivity has gone up. If staff engagement and productivity have improved and employees are able to dedicate their time to more important activities, you know your digitization efforts are proving effective. To ensure you are meeting this goal, determine a way to track employee productivity.
- You see a return on your investment. Instead of looking solely at your revenue, compare sales before and after the digitization. Consider variables like project costs and shifting economic and market conditions.
- Your employees have been able to fully adapt to your digital transformation. To measure adaptation, you need a system or process in place to determine if and how your employees are using new software. This tool will help you make decisions about what technologies and systems are bringing value to your organization.
- Your rate of innovation has improved. The amount of innovation that comes out of your digitization efforts is a good indication that these efforts have been successful. This goes beyond providing new digital products and services — it means “making digital experiences as intuitive and streamlined as possible.”
- You are reaching a greater number of customers. To understand how many customers you are reaching, you should track how they are finding you online using digital tools, and use this data to make improvements and further boost your retention.
Digital transformation requires organizations to undergo an evolution in technology and culture. By implementing a strong data-driven culture and a plan for measuring success, they can reap huge benefits.
Prepare Your Organization for Digital Transformation
Get your organization ready for digital transformation. The IEEE five-course program, Digital Transformation: Moving Toward a Digital Society, aims to foster a discussion around how digital transformation can transform various industries and provide the background knowledge needed to smartly implement digital tools into organizations.
Contact an IEEE Account Specialist to get access for your organization.
Interested in the course for yourself? Check out the course program on the IEEE Learning Network.
(2 September 2021). Digital transformation – it’s a people problem. Information Age.
Butt, Andrew. (30 August 2021). Digital transformation metrics: 5 questions to ask. Enterprise Project.
Conway, Cynthia A. and Codkind, Mitch. (24 August 2021). Where Digital Transformations Go Wrong in Small and Midsize Companies. Harvard Business Review.