Ready For Digitalization – Priority vs Deadline

Leaders are challenged to perform rapid changes.

Ready For Digitalization – Priority vs Deadline
Sajad Nori on Unsplash

The operations were running 24x7 supporting end users globally. The CMO and CHRO are against the deadline for the re-branding exercise. It became very loud, and the company needs to rebrand quickly. The HODs need to quickly arrange for all team members to attend the awareness workshop without fail. The HODs need to explain and report to the company's CEOs on those who failed to attend the awareness workshop. Staggered dates for the change workshop were scheduled. HODs were struggling for sales and operational stability. They have obligations for key meetings with customers, finance teams are challenged with monthly closings, service operations are struggling to ensure service availability while striving to achieve their SLAs, resolving major incidents, coordinating infrastructure changes, stakeholders and customer meetings in progress. Users are getting critical as their issues are not getting resolved. 24x7 operations run throughout the day, while some on staggered shift work, some have their rest days and even some just finishing off the shift work, needing rest before they return for their next shift.  Not forgetting if an organization that practices Health, Safety, Security Environment (HSSE), employees are not allowed to work beyond the defined work hours. Otherwise, it fails the health and safety work act. These are true realities if you have a large, 24x7 operational team. I believe some leaders will echo what I have written above on operational challenges in managing 24x7 operations.

But, businesses need to evolve? Leaders are challenged to perform rapid changes. Digital transformation is becoming critical. The unprecedented global Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated digital business initiatives. Competitors are ahead of the business, companies starting to get nervous as they are losing market share, not evolving quick enough, too many internal obstacles and many more.

I am sure many legacy businesses are challenged today to transform, especially in this era of digital transformation. Companies that are going through digital transformation need to ensure the drivers of the journey need to be cultivated with digital mindsets, the leaders need to lead digital, the employees need to think digital and govern digital. Hence, it is going to be a chicken and egg dilemma; prioritize business as usual (BAU) or transformation?

According to Wikipedia, hypothetically, 90% of AI (Artificial Intelligence) will likely influence and take over the world by 2075 or some believe as early as 2050. Coincidentally, as I was preparing for a presentation last week – I came across an article that AI applications will transform the healthcare industry by 2026 according to Accenture and Hospitals in China have started using 5G wireless technology for ambulatory services. Globally, many companies are evolving.  So, are you ready to prioritize your digital transformation?

If you have followed my series of articles, I have shared that the Digital Transformation Journey starts from your Driver, your Employee. 

If you are the Lead Driver, I believe you have:

  • defined your business vision
  • identified your business challenges they like to resolve or transform
  • identified your priorities to start your journey
  • identified your stakeholders you need to engage
  • started the digital transformation journey
  • created a business case
  • identified the first initial design or solution
  • the prototype ready
  • Proof of Value (POV) ready
  • roadmap drafted
  • prepared employees for Organization Change Management (OCM)
  • and the list goes on….

Now here comes the next stage; the employees’ engagement. You have started to prepare your Organization Change Management (OCM) program and planning.  You need to organize your roadshows quickly to communicate and create awareness. Unfortunately, the plan exceeds your timeline, you start to face challenges and resistance. You are not getting 100% support, they don’t buy in the idea of change, they are reactive and many more. These are common challenges faced by many organizations over the years. According to Tower Watson, McKinsey’s and many other comprehensive studies reported that 60% to 75% of an organization’s change management program fails.

Many of us underestimate that OCM is also one of the critical components for the Digital Transformation Journey. OCM will immensely impact the employees as it encompasses people’s mindset change, behavioural and cultural change. But why are there failures to engage the employees? In perspective, I have 7 guiding principles for your change management during your digital transformation journey. You need to have

  • Employees Buy-in; it may be useful to develop a buy-in program to educate everyone to think Digital.
  • Stakeholder Endorsement, similarly like the Technology change process. Any change in your technology will need relevant stakeholder’s approval and endorsement. Hence, collaboratively work with all stakeholders to echo and advocate your change plan and the program will minimize the impact of change failure.
  • A structural Change Plan; design a change plan schedule that fits Everyone has his own priorities. You need to address the criticality and importance of the change.
  • Communicate to generate awareness; you have to advocate it continuously as OCM is not a one-time communication workshop, town-hall session or an email that changes people’s behaviour or mindset.
  • Generate Activities – leverage on marketing. Similar to marketing, as to how they approach their marketing strategy to attract audiences to their products or campaigns.
  • Enforce, Evaluate and Assist – Enforce by making a compelling case for change. Follow up evaluation and assist those obstacles and resistance to change.

Finally, with digitalization – many organizations have already started to use learning and development tools to engage their employees. Hence, it is a practical mode especially work from home becoming a norm.

At the end of the day, as a lead driver, you must understand that the digital transformation journey is a long road. Your priorities and your stakeholders’ priorities defer. Stakeholders also need to buy in your change priorities. They will help you to keep you on track.

~ LEAD Digital, THINK Digital, GOVERN Digital ~