Don't Overlook Cultural Implications of Digital Transformation

by   |    |   5 minutes  |  in Business Agility, Business Technology, Digital Transformation, Service Management, Transform Your Business   |  tagged , , ,

One of the most common mistakes that plagues organizations attempting to chart a path to true digital transformation is the oversight of cultural implications. While some operational changes and even technology investments can be fairly cut and dry, the quest for digital excellence is far more intricate. To reap the real rewards of your digital transformation efforts, you have to consider and tend to the cultural aspects.

Digital transformation is no small change. It is a complete rethinking of how you select, implement, and leverage technology. Successful digital transformation occurs company-wide, not in an operational silo. Therefore, a critical first step is to ensure that you have the appropriate stakeholders involved in your digital transformation journey from the very beginning. From customer journey mapping to process standardization to technology selection, decisions should not occur in a vacuum. The organization as a whole need to be part of this process.

While too many divergent opinions can make identifying the most important business needs difficult, by making everyone part of the process, you gain a much better understanding of pain points that you may have otherwise overlooked. Even more importantly than that, you gain a sense of buy-in and trust among your employees that is absolutely necessary to achieve meaningful results from your digital transformation efforts.

Making the time to understand and prepare for the cultural implications of digital transformation will pay off in employee morale, better adoption, and in presenting a united front to customers. Here are some best practices that you can use to ensure that you’re building a strong cultural foundation for your digital transformation efforts:

Involve IT Leaders and Practitioners in the Decision-Making Process

For most service firms, this is the price of entry for any new technology, but it bears repeating: both IT managers and staff need to be actively involved in the decision-making process. Your system admins up to your CIO understand the technology investment across not just service, but the whole organization, and where a new set of technologies will work most effectively. This is also an opportunity to thoughtfully evaluate what systems exist today in other areas, and if your field service initiatives have any common capabilities. While research has shown that dedicated systems perform significantly better than crossovers, there are several areas, like Industrial IoT, where you’ll want connectivity across business units.

Involve Both Service Leaders and Practitioners

Service leaders will invariably be part of the decision-making process, but by involving service technicians, dispatch, back-office staff, and subject matter experts, you’re, again, getting a much better understanding of the real challenges that are impacting performance from those that are actually experiencing those challenges. Additionally, these employees value the fact that you value their opinion. You will want them to be technology evangelists when it’s time to roll these new technologies across the organization.

Pilot the Whole New Approach, and Not Just to High Performers

You no doubt have an internal approach to piloting new technologies that works best for you. Perhaps it’s among a key group of technicians, a specific region, or a specific office. Digital transformation isn’t piloting one technology, it’s piloting a new way to approach service. No matter the approach, it’s recommended that any solution be piloted not just with your superstar tech, but also with your tech who started three weeks ago. This gives you not only an idea of the transitional learning curve, but also of the ramp-up for someone ostensibly outside the business. By choosing lower performers vs. higher performers, you’ll be able to better project the spread of performance improvement. This typically leads to building much more aggressive goals, as the improvement of lower performing firms is usually more dramatic, thus inflating the average performance growth. More ambitious goals mean a more ambitious staff, assuming they trust in the system.

It’s also important to not simply pilot a telematics solution, or a reverse logistics solution, or just the core field service management software. You need to pilot the whole solution, end-to-end, to see how all pieces fit into one another. This isn’t practice, this is a dress rehearsal. By doing so, you’re training experts and advocates who won’t be confused when the full rollout upends a dozen other systems.

Make your New Approach Rollout at a Company Event

You no doubt have all-service or all-company meetings at some sort of frequency interval. One of these events—a whole event—should be about rolling out your digital transformation initiative. This will include the following:

  • The philosophy behind the move
  • How the technology will make a tech’s job easier
  • Training on all new tools (ideally with the vendors utilized)
  • Question and answers

It’s important to do this thoughtfully, and to socialize it before the event. The event should be a rollout, not the announcement. If you’ve piloted correctly, you already have well-versed “team captains” who are ready to support, and engender trust in their colleagues. With everyone up and running, buying in, and trusting in the company’s direction, you can be sure that you’re getting the full value out of your turn towards digital transformation.

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Photographer: svetikd

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