People are Central to Digital Transformation Success

Digital transformation has radically changed over the years. It’s evolved from being about the technology to the data to the realization that people need to be at the center of the transformation strategy.

April 13, 2022

Advanced Technology

According to a recent survey conducted by the international consultancy McKinsey, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly accelerated the shift to digital technologies in our daily lives. For many organizations, the urgency to develop new approaches to working with employees, customers, and other stakeholders led to the rapid development and deployment of innovative digital solutions that enabled those organizations to survive and even thrive under the most challenging conditions. The success of those efforts has also given leaders a new appreciation for the potential of digital technologies to radically transform their organizations in the 21st Century.

But navigating a successful digital transformation is about more than just technology. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from our full-on embrace of technology over the past couple of years, it’s that the people equation is more important than ever in ensuring the success of your digital efforts. More than identifying and implementing the right technologies, the key to an effective digital transformation is having people in place that can make the essential connections between technology and the overarching goals of your organization.

Transformation starts by asking the right question and hiring the right talent to move the organization forward. As you chart a path for your organization’s digital transformation journey, keep the following factors foremost in your efforts:

  • Start with the “what” – Companies are strategically looking at digital transformation as “what problem are we trying to solve?” The “what” may be a process change, a supply chain issue or even how to engage employees. Companies then need to hire based on that strategy determining who are the right people, right skillsets for the digital transformation.
  • Hire outside of the box – Implementing advanced digital technologies can require hiring people with technical knowledge and experience, but some companies find success by hiring people to lead transformation who have little to no digital expertise. That’s because properly navigating the digital transformation journey also requires employees who possess intellectual curiosity, can break out of siloed thinking to solve complex problems, and have the skills to bring others along in the process.
  • Get buy-in at all levels of the organization – The goals and objectives of your digital transformation must be fully understood and actively embraced by all employees throughout the organization to achieve lasting and sustainable success. Genuine organizational buy-in occurs when people see the connection between the organization’s digital initiatives and their daily responsibilities, knowing that their work directly contributes in meaningful ways to a successful transformation.
  • Begin with leadership – Finally, it’s important to remember that real change begins at the top. Digital transformation can’t simply be delegated down the line to the technical experts in your organization. Instead, it must be a strategic priority for each one of your organization’s top leaders and actively embraced and supported within their own functional areas. And internal messaging from leadership around the importance of digital transformation needs to be supported by actions that affirm that commitment.

Technology will always be an essential cornerstone in any digital transformation. But keeping people at the center can make a crucial difference in whether or not you accomplish your goals.

Contributing Author

Sal DiFranco

Our Advanced Technology Practice recognizes that our clients seek the ability to anticipate emerging trends and respond quickly to rapidly changing market conditions. Through our comprehensive analysis, market insight and industry knowledge, we connect your organization with the ideal candidate.

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