On Thursday 28 February, the C4DE hosted a public workshop at RMIT focusing on how businesses in different industries are adapting to digital disruption. During the event we asked participants to submit questions via Soapbox (code: c4de) to generate discussion. One of my favourites was ‘how do you get started in building a solution to your problem?’
We had some great answers from our presenters, but in my opinion, one of the first things businesses need to do to get started is to prepare their workforce for the ways new technology (which is being used to address most emerging business problems) will transform the way they work.
As new technologies and digital innovations of an increasingly larger scale and scope are being implemented by businesses, new digital capabilities are emerging that are transforming industries by changing the value proposition of existing goods and services. As a result, there have been fundamental changes in the expectation and behaviours of society and markets, causing disruptions to enterprises’ core business across all industries.
Known as digital disruption, this change is hard to predict because new technologies are emerging all the time. However analysing industry trends and recent innovations in your sector will give you some idea of the disruptions to prepare for. The next step is to then prepare your workforce, engaging them as active participants as you begin your digital transformation journey.
Digital transformation is defined as the use of new technologies over traditional business processes to make change a core competency of the organisation1. The resulting agility and dynamic set-up means the business is well-positioned to address the challenges of digital disruption2.
Your workforce is one of, if not the, most important aspects of your business so any digital transformation will need to not only be embraced by, but also driven by, staff. As a leader, it’s your job to get them to this point so that they are actively involved in the transition.
As Deloitte’s Leadership disrupted report says, “leadership is critical in making the transformation from an organisation ‘doing’ digital things to one that is ‘becoming’ digital3.
According to the State of Digital Transformation in Australia report, digital projects will require upskilling staff in over 90% of cases4. Digital transformation will therefore have a significant impact on your workforce.
The good news is that an Accenture survey found 84% of workers are excited about the changes technology will bring5.
However, there is still a disparity between the importance of digital transformation to a business’ leadership team and their employees. The State of Digital Transformation in Australia survey found 53% of respondents think digital transformation is ‘extremely important’ to leadership but only 37.3% think it’s important to staff. The report suggests that this could be a reason why only 30% of large transformation projects in Australia have succeeded.
So how do you prepare your workforce for digital disruption so that your digital transformation not only drives efficiencies but also delivers value to the customer more effectively and improves the creativity of your organisation in adapting to change?
Author: Adelle King
1Bloomberg, J 2018, 'Digitzation, Digitalization and Digital Transformation: Confuse them all at your peril', Forbes, viewed 5 March, <https://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonbloomberg/2018/04/29/digitization-digitalization-and-digital-transformation-confuse-them-at-your-peril/#612ca8972f2c>.
3Abbatiello, A, Knight, M, Philpot, S & Roy, I 2017, Leadership disrupted, Deloitte University Press.
4Contino 2017, The State of Digital Transformation in Australia.
5Accenture 'The Rise of Smart Production: Making the most of the Industrial Internet of Things in manufacturing', viewed 15/10/2018, <https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-industrial-smart-production>.
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