How to address the reluctance for Digital Transformation?

Digital Transformation is in full swing now and adopted by almost all the industries to improve the customer experience. But not everyone is sailing smooth. In fact, a majority of Digital Transformation initiatives face resistance to change and remain in the status quo.

Change is rarely comfortable, for the majority of organizations & employees. It is a normal attitude that when things are going well, why change? Like with any transformation, the lack of interest for change or the fear of consequences puts breaks on the changes you want to bring about.

Status quo comes from various different levels

  • Organization Leadership: Even at senior level, leaders feel why an external consultant coming into the organization and teaching us what to do, how to communicate with the customer or which business models to choose from. Hence leaders are reluctant to adopt digital open heartedly.
  • Cultural change: The unwillingness of senior managers to accept cultural change.
  • Line Managers of IT Department: Most of the time, IT managers are focused on keeping the lights on and maintaining legacy infrastructure and systems. Digital brings in new demands from business and their priorities are different when it comes to new initiatives.
  • Individual Employee: Many big companies have veterans in their organizations serving more than 15-20 years in the same company. They resist the change of anything new coming their way. Benefits of digital transformation for individual employees and teams are often not so clear – and uncertainty surrounding the future often results in fear to adopt digital
  • Too much is changing, too fast, hence it is hard to keep up
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Let us see how to address these status quo scenarios.

  • Ask senior most leader or CEO to drive the change for Digital with full support from the board.  Leaders need to present a clear and compelling vision of what success will look like
  • Let business owners take the call and IT be just an enablement instead of driving the initiatives.
  • Get all your staff involved in digital. Convince the employees that Digital is for their own betterment & help them do their job better
  • Create an enterprise social network to evangelize digital across the organization
  • IT can help build their competencies and capabilities.
  • 360 degrees communication: Communicate project success and celebrate them which increases transparency, motivates team members & employees to get a sense of the journey and progress on it, as key milestones are attained.
  • With top management’s support for further projects other passive stakeholders are attracted to adopt the change. Senior executives to communicate with employees across all levels of the organization
  • The organization has to decide which new tools are the most appropriate and efficient to acquire and use to avoid changing everything at once
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Digital Transformation brings in the new business models and it will change the way business is carried out.

2 Responses

  1. Another great article Sandeep.. Many thanks.. My only comment would be that whilst some time served veterans do indeed resist change, it is certainly not all or exclusively that age group who push back against the adoption of new technologies and processes.. In my experience person type can also be a big indicator of whether an individual will respond or react to change.. And, as you point out in your article, it is beholden on great leaders to personally engage people in change in a way that reduces fear and increases the reward and motivation for ‘moving with the times’

  2. Alan Webb says:

    Good article Sandeep… Adding to Harvey’s point, I have seen all levels of experience being reluctant to embrace new tech and process change. The common factor that bound these people together was performance reward.

    A key lesson I learnt was to make the transformation successful and mean something to everybody in a tangle manner, make sure employees’ performance and objectives are linked to the transformational change and therefore linked to reward packages.

    If the employee’s performance measures are linked to old business objectives and measures this leads to people falling back to old practises because they are looking at a very tangible benefit that has a direct impact on them.

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