In the decade spanning 2017 to 2026, global spending on digital transformation is expected to increase nearly fourfold, from just under $1 billion in 2017 to $3.4 billion in 2026. Yet, according to multiple studies, the risk of failure in these transformation initiatives lies somewhere between 70 and 95%. This results in a colossal waste of time, money and resources; yet, companies often fail to consider this highly likely outcome in their technology budgeting and planning.
Obtaining organizational alignment on any process of technology purchase, implementation and adoption is critical. However, this is easier said than done. We’ve unfortunately seen this first hand: For instance, a few years ago, we developed a tool—specifically, a tablet application—for one of our client companies’ field agents to use with their customers. After one year, we found out that only 10% of them were actually using the tool. The rest were still relying on an old paperwork process. In many cases, they weren’t even using the tablets; they’d shelved them somewhere in a supply closet. To say this experience was disheartening for us is an understatement, and for the client company, it represented squandered resources and opportunities.
So, how can enterprises in the midst of digital transformation facilitate organizational alignment? Here are some of the critical steps that are often overlooked:
1. Articulate a clear vision and goals.
This must come from the decision-makers: Company leaders should articulate the vision and goals for whatever new technology they wish to implement, including fully articulating what the technology will do, why this makes sense, when this will take place and what will be needed from employees. Moreover, they must be crystal clear regarding how expected users’ roles will be impacted by this adoption and how it will better serve their needs, too. Something we’ve seen too often in the past is that many leadership teams work in a silo; they decide to automate a process without actually talking to middle managers or the people who will be involved in the adoption process. This is a fast track to failure.
2. Champion cross-functional collaboration.
Communication cannot just happen up and down the hierarchy; it also must happen across departments and teams. Everyone must have a chance to provide their input, particularly end-users. It’s about involving all departments: Even if they are expected to only have, say, 30% involvement, everyone’s point of view will help to create an actionable vision for the implementation and adoption processes. Moreover, involving all of the company’s departments allows leaders to leverage diverse expertise to address any digital transformation challenges holistically.
3. Cultivate a culture of continuous learning.
Some 30 years 40 years ago, only certain professions, such as law or medicine, had an established continuous learning process. But nowadays, almost everyone must engage in some form of ongoing learning to stay up-to-date in their profession and industry. In a company’s digital transformation, most of the software and processes are custom-made; it’s not like using Microsoft Word or some other well-known tool. And, admittedly, using most of the software is frustrating at first, until people start getting used to it. This is why it’s important for companies to foster a culture of continuous learning. Everyone needs to understand that things change, and indeed, that they must change, because business is always evolving. In addition, continuous opportunities for upskilling and reskilling help employees not only to feel valued by their company but also to maintain a competitive edge in increasingly challenging and dynamic employment markets.
4. Include employees in decision-making.
There’s a pronounced psychological effect we’ve seen in organizations that include employees in the decision-making process around technology implementation, even if these employees or departments will only see minimal gain in the digitization process. Engaging them in these conversations—asking them how they feel, how would they use these new tools, what their needs are, and when the best time is for implementation—all helps to smooth the process by giving employees a sense of ownership over the decision (as opposed to a sense that something is being forced upon them, irrespective of their needs). Democratizing the decision-making process boosts employee morale and helps everyone “get on board” a lot more quickly than leaving them out.
5. Adopt a cycle of monitoring, measuring and adapting.
The management team should work with the consultancy (that is, the provider) throughout the adoption process to track digital transformation using defined and agreed-upon KPIs. These KPIs will be different from company to company and from process to process. But, having at least general KPIs is essential. In a lot of companies, software is purchased and implemented—but no one ever thinks about how to monitor implementation, utilization, and improvements in processes that the software would ideally facilitate. This question is simply missing from the table; there’s this sense of, “Here’s the thing we implemented, we did some training, it’s there, it should work.” The reality is never that simple. You have to have feedback loops and make data-driven adjustments. You have to monitor, tweak, change and adapt.
By establishing a clear process for organizational alignment in advance of major technology implementation initiatives, companies can ensure their efforts will not be in vain, and that their time, resources and budgetary expenditures will be put to good use. A company’s capacity for successful digital transformation is imperative to staying afloat in an increasingly digitized world, but technology adoption alone—without a streamlined process to support it—is not sufficient to help an organization thrive.
In the context of the Industrial Revolution, applying technology to operating mechanisms in each organization is extremely necessary, and is also an inevitable trend to minimize workload while still ensuring efficiency and enhance its competitive position in the market. Furthermore, applying management software into a business will also help build an organization with a clear system, promoting consistency, transparency and accuracy. Tasken eOffice, researched and built by Opus Solution – a business consultant in Vietnam – is an internal work management system as well as the management of automated, online, user-friendly approval processes, allowing businesses to operate more effectively on the path of digital transformation