Digitalization of your operations – The softer issues

By Estelle Lubbe - Jun 1 2019


More and more companies have come to the realization that for them to stay competitive and have the ability to expand they need to start leveraging technology. Over the last few years our team has been very privileged to be deeply involved in the digital transformation of numerous companies.

One of the most important things companies need to realize is that it is a process and it won't just happen overnight. Each company is different and each one goes though the process differently.

That said, we have noticed that companies do however experience the same overlapping issues on this journey. Lack of an overall digitalization strategy, lack of technical expertise for guidance, as well as limited budgets are some of the more common issues we have encountered. However, the most prevalent issue we have identified is a far more softer issue: people pushback and with that technology adoption…

Every person handles the process differently. Digitalization is not just a technical learning curve where people start using new technology. It is actually a psychological mind shift that each person involved needs to undergo.

As humans, it is in our nature to like routine and with that we would rather stay in our comfort zone and we naturally push back against any changes in our routines as we associate it with huge uncertainty. The stress of an already fully booked day together with this new way of doing things is actually the biggest hurdle in any digitalization process.

Depending on the persons personality we have found the following common reactions to digitalization:

  • The visionaries. These people get super excited about the tech and find themselves thinking of more and more features that they want even before they have started using the solutions properly. Although they contribute a lot of positive energy to the process, they can cause scope creep at the wrong times resulting in delays in the full uptake of solutions.
  • The ‘non-technical’ people, or so they would like to always call themselves… These people are usually afraid that they will make mistakes and do something wrong. They will struggle to get confidence in the tech until they start using it. They need to get identified from the start in order for leaders to give them the extra push they will need to properly start using the new technology and realize that it won’t explode and it actually helps them. Sometimes something as small as an extra training session with them will make all the difference.
  • Then we come to what I would like to call the technology pragmatists… When solutions are being investigated they are the first to sound excited and they have many many inputs. But when it comes to implementation, they always find a reason why the system is not working for them. These people need a lot of convincing to start using new solutions and even after it has alleviated 99% of their daily pains, they still focus on the few reasons why they think it is not optimal to use. They love feeling like they are in control and unfortunately they feel like digitalization makes them easily replaceable and empowers others more than they would like. It is important that leaders identify these types and motivate them else they will directly influence the process negatively on a daily basis. Luckily, in all our years of doing this, we have not come across more than a handful of them.
  • From our experience, most of the people in an organisation are actually what I would like to call ‘daily users’. They will start using the system when the transition is made and will both pick up the skills required as well as start to realise the value of the system themselves. You will ask them for some information or a report in a month from now and they will tell you it is in the system and you can just go push that button and you will see it.

Leaders within the company have to drive the process in order for it to be successful. They need to alleviate doubt in their peoples’ minds. Being consistent and transparent is what we have found is the key. This is achieved by keeping everyone informed and involved in the whole process. Everyone should always be working towards a common goal.

Beginning small and building up is what makes digitalization a success. It will give you means to control any push back in order to drive the adoption. It will also allow you to identify areas in your organizational structure that can be improved and if changes to the structure is needed. At a minimum you may require changes in more than one of your employees daily routines.

After you have undergone this transformation, you will realize that it will help you handle the constant changes needed in order to develop and expand your business and more importantly it will become a vital part that will provide you with that competitive edge you will need. It will allow you to improve every aspect of your operations and business. From increasing your employee morale and job satisfaction to improving your customer experience.

In this digital age that we are living in, you absolutely have to not only understand your data but more importantly, you have to leverage your data to give yourself the best competitive edge in your environment.

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