Even though technology is at the core of every digital transformation, it cannot be implemented without the right people. Every organization needs a digital strategy, a culture that encourages employees to think big and experiment, leaders who act as pioneers for the transformation to come, and a team that consists of dedicated business professionals, developers and external partners.
Let’s start at the very beginning:
What do you need to realize digital transformation?
In an ideal world, you have the right digital savvy leaders in place who:
create the optimal (leadership) culture,
empower people to work in new ways,
prioritize and make transformation tangible and visible,
communicate clearly and celebrate successes,
hire and attract the right people and make a great team
are not afraid to ask for help when needed.
Without leaders like this, your digital transformation will flop. Let’s look at these five aspects of leadership in more detail.
Creating the optimal culture
In a company where the culture is ‘just right’, employees will trust each other as well as their leaders. They will feel confident to think big, to experiment, to make mistakes (and learn from them), to support and encourage change and optimization and to celebrate success. In every single company in the world, leaders are responsible for creating a culture like this. It’s a lifestyle not just a project.
Empowering the people
Another important aspect is to give employees a say in where digitization could and should be adopted. When employees are encouraged to share their ideas about where digital transformation might support the business, success rates of implementation are considerably higher. After all, your employees are the people who face the daily challenges and speak to your customers the most. Eyes and ears for your organization. A great example to illustrate the why and how of this, is the Dutch insurance company Univé. They have set up an Innovation Lab and are continuously focused on digital transformation and innovation. Providing both employees and customers with the tech and tools that solves their problems – yet always with a human touch.
Prioritizing and making digital transformation tangible
By making digital transformation a priority in your organization – looking at the (possible) impact – you create momentum to make it happen. Look at short term and long term benefits and sketch plausible results. Prioritize. Share hypotheses across the board, so your people can read about what you’re working on long before the new systems are put into use. Seeing a step-by-step process and possible outcomes makes digital transformation a tangible event for all employees, doubling the likelihood of it being successful.
Communicating clearly and celebrating successes
One of the key contributing factors to a successful digital transformation is communication. Frankly, it can make or break it. Keeping the whole company in the loop of developments – while they are happening – is vital. Make it simple, provide a timeline and verbalize clear targets, enabling the business to work towards achieving KPI’s. And, here comes an important one, always celebrate successes. Even when they’re small. Communication and celebration increase involvement and result in a great support base across all departments, making implementation of your digital transformation successful.
Attracting and hiring the right people
Digital transformation needs a human touch. After all, there will always be ways in which humans are better than digital alternatives. When you’re creating a company culture in which people can develop themselves, experiment and contribute to successes, you will attract the right people. Get HR involved and browse the market for people who don’t just have the talents you’re looking for, but also the mindset you need your people to have in your continuously (digitally) transforming organization. Business people, solution architects, developers, change managers: the team you need is out there. And with them on board, transforming will be easier, faster and more fun.
Asking for help
Hiring and attracting the right people is a long term proces, so in the meantime, be agile and ask for external help. Leaders who consult experts on what their business needs and accept help from others will succeed in supporting people with (the right) technology, software, systems and processes.
With leaders who can realize all of the above, the best possible team builds itself. The organization will move from an ad hoc and technology-driven approach to a more systematic integrated approach – to digital transformation. It allows your company to serve your own signature dish that brings and preserves your right to exist and keeps you up to speed.
And then… building the team
With the “what you need to realize digital transformation” in place and with a leadership team embracing the transformation lifestyle, it’s time to zoom in on the who within teams. Organizations aiming for digital transformation need the right agile people to make it happen. This team changes along with the project or case. We often see it consists of a project sponsor, (external) analysts and problem solvers, a bunch of skilled developers and a few project and change managers. Together, these people are committed to make your business’ digital transformation a success. Let’s meet the team:
The key player on the team is somebody from senior management who will act as project sponsor – one of the digital-savvy leaders we’ve discussed earlier. They strengthen the foundation by spending time on adopting the platform. They can initiate the idea, secure resources, manage the progress and ensure adaptation and use throughout the business. When digital transformation is pioneered by one of the senior managers (rather than by mid-level leaders), it will gain more traction and will be adopted enthusiastically.
In order to create the ideal recipe for digital transformation, it’s essential to have experts take a look at your current and desired way of working. Do you have (an) internal Process Analyst(s) in your organization? Let them join the team. Would you prefer to have it looked at by a second set of eyes? Consider involving an external Process Analyst, who looks attentively at your business and identifies bottlenecks.
Based on the analysis of the Process Analysts, Solution Architects will craft an ideal solution, tailored to your organization’s needs. They outline business processes, and map the entire IT infrastructure. Based on that, they will craft the best solution out there. Solution Architects make your business run more smoothly. Would you like to present a challenge to one of our architects? No problem. They love to help.
The developing team usually consists of 3-6 people. Depending on the chosen governance structure (centralized, decentralized, federated) and the expertise available it can also be smaller or bigger. Don’t make it bigger than necessary. If you want your life and digital transformation to be agile, not too hard and tangible for everyone on your team, consider using a low-code or no-code platform.
We often hear that we are lucky to have such great developers on board ourselves. A good developer is not easy to find nowadays. Not being able to be proactive often is the result of not having enough or the right developers to build with the speed that you want too. This is one of the reasons for the rise of Citizen Development where tech savvy employees, when supported in the right manner, develop themselves without the pro-coding knowledge needed.
A bit of business on the team
Transformation is a company-wide process. IT and business units melt together, so it’s crucial to have business experts and developers on your team who contribute to your transformation based on the (IT-)strategy you have in mind. That way, your business will stay ahead and add value to the industry.
Team up with the experts in your organization who work in the processes that you’re transforming and know internal and external users as well as your customers: sales, account management, finance, marketing and product development.
Teamwork makes the dream work
Together, your team can implement digital transformation for the whole business, for a few processes or for just one workflow. Whatever floats your boat. And if your team works together according to your governance structure, code guidelines, security measures, guard the solid architecture of the platform and properly implement APIs, it will help your organization operate at an excellent level, focusing on maximum results.
O and hey, we are here if you need us…..Are you looking for a reliable partner that can offer you the best digital solution(s) for your organization? Or look into Citizen development together? No, not somebody who just compares tools and takes work off your hands, but a partner who can raise the bar for you. We have the Process Analysts, Solution Architects, Developers and Process and Change Managers you need.