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The human aspect of digital transformation

Mellissa Flowerdew-Clarke
Mellissa Flowerdew-Clarke
VP of Marketing, EMEA
4 min read
17 January 2019

The execution of digital transformation is a hot topic among marketers and the organisations they work for. What approach is needed to stay true to your business values, while simultaneously serving the modern-day customer? Yes, the future is digital and transformation comes with technology. However, don’t forget that without people, you will get nowhere.

Nowadays, a lot of organisations are well aware of the fact that they need to transform digitally. Especially those that have been in the game for quite some time and still haven’t embraced the digital reality. Your company may already think it offers the best in customer experience, but it’s essential to change in order to stay successful. If you still want to serve your customers in the best way possible, digital transformation is the way to go.

Embrace digital

When talking about digital transformation, people often think of changing how people are doing their work and how they communicate with each other in the organization. It’s become quite common to continuously put more and more trust in technology and the ease it brings to day-to-day work of many professions. Think about the rise of new marketing technologies such as marketing automation and machine learning. These technologies make it easier for organisations to service their customers.
What often gets overlooked during a digital transformation, is the importance of the organisation’s people adapting to both new technology and a digital-first mindset.

Keeping the human aspect in mind is the key to success when it comes to digital transformation. However, organisations often underestimate the time and energy this requires. Although humans are capable of learning to adapt and change more rapidly overtime, it’s not in our nature to embrace it right away. The process of change demands a lot of dedication and the right approach.

So, when making the change there are three important aspects to keep in mind:

  • Take the time
    As digital transformation is a process of organisational change, it’s something that needs time. Of course, the urgency is high on many occasions, as companies change within a short amount of time in order to survive in a competitive landscape. However, if this turns into a hasty job, the risk of losing knowledge and talent within the organisation or making unnecessary costs is inevitable.Keep in mind that the people working for the organisation often need time to respond to change. Overtime comes awareness, understanding, and acceptance that will eventually lead to adoption.
  • Create a broad support base within the organisation
    Make sure everybody on your boat is rowing in the same direction. To do so, you need to involve people in the change that is coming. Ensure timely communication of what your plans are and, more importantly, ask people what their opinion is. Make them part of the process. As Digital Transformation is also a part of connecting different departments within your organisation, it’s critical to start involving stakeholders as early as possible. It will not only give the feeling of being involved but will also provide new perspectives.
  • Invest in education
    Undergoing a digital transformation is also about learning. To make it successful, people working within the organisation need to learn before they can adapt. As an organisation, you need to invest in the education of your employees. This will not only prepare them for the change that is coming, but it will also make them less afraid of it.

Ask the right questions

So, if you want to transform your organisation digitally, keep in mind that it’s a process of change and that rarely happens overnight. The question you should ask yourself is not ‘How fast can we make this change?’, but: ‘are the employees working within the organisation ready to adapt to this transformation?’ If not, how can we step-by-step lead them through this process?

In the end, it’s the human part of the process that will change your organisation, prepare you for the future, and turn your organisation into a thriving digital business.

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VP of Marketing, EMEA

Mellissa Flowerdew-Clarke