By Eduardo Suárez Battán - Partner
November 2019

Digital transformation is people centric

The globalization
has been the magic word for many years. We could even say that it has been the watermark of this time. In its definition, the word invokes positive associations such as access, inclusion, development, equality, growth, and integration. But now technology is becoming the lynchpin, redefining all businesses very quickly.
Not only countries, but also companies, social organizations and families are making better use of technology in the hope that it will help them stay competitive in the race to the future. In the business world, digital technologies are strongly changing the way work is done. Organizations know that if they want to continue to compete and grow, they must embrace digital technology in their business processes. But the way they implement this digital transformation (called DX in English) makes the big difference when it comes to achieving their goals or not.
Several strategy consultancies have studied how successful companies have changed their business and operating models when adopting digital technology. They all share three distinctive characteristics: they create products and services that are integrated with digital technologies, they use digital channels to interact with their target audiences and customers, and they have made significant internal cultural shifts.
While the digital transformation continues to unfold in all industrial and service sectors, the dimension of people in these transformations has emerged as the key to unlocking value and ensuring the sustainability of changes. Regardless of the fact that many companies are going to have to acquire external talent that can bring innovation and change to face these new digital environments, organizations must be prepared to change and evolve rapidly, particularly to ensure that all employees have the opportunity to participate in this new digital world.
Digitization requires new ways of working. As organizations become more collaborative, human resources need a new management model that allows them to adapt to new team structures, responsibilities and results. Managers and business leaders should encourage each member of the organization to take more responsibility, providing them with the necessary framework, tools and incentives. They must encourage testing and tolerate error, encourage continuous learning, work in an agile way, with fewer organizational levels and fewer bosses, with flexible structures and little bureaucratic governance.
Hiring new digital experts requires looking for different specific skills and experiences, and internal and external work styles that may not have been considered or required in the past. There will be a new way of hiring people, by projects, without a dependency relationship, which will cause changes in the way of evaluating the experience of the independent worker, of evaluating the potential to develop internal talents, of forming multidisciplinary teams, of developing collaboration networks between companies and external allies, to create new incentive systems or redefine leadership roles. A lot of “stock” of soft and social skills is required on the part of the leaders and among the company's collaborators.
Another key element to consider is the customer experience. Digital technologies can improve relationships between your business, your customers, your products, and other industry participants. This requires capturing and taking advantage of the information generated through its digital ecosystem. The creation of networks is as vital as it is digital and human, and allows the promotion and development of new ecosystems in the industry. Data collection alongside technologies such as data mining, big data, and data analytics will be normal for managing business in addition to artificial intelligence (AI).
The customer experience must be considered throughout the digital transformation and integrated into the development of both products and services. Digital companies must take advantage of customer experience data, incorporating the knowledge acquired about the changing needs of individuals to be able to offer the products, services and, above all, the experiences that their customers demand.
Once again, any company can be transformed through digital technology, but each in its own way. However, if they approach change without empowering employees, the digital transformation will not be successful. Empowering people is the key to achieving a deep and lasting digital transformation that provides sustainable growth and inclusion. Organizational leaders must be prepared and willing to be around and listen to their employees, customers, and colleagues.
Although it may seem like a simple matter, it requires a broad and lasting commitment. A commitment that not only implies empathy, but also flexible communication capabilities and, more importantly, the vision for this to happen, since all organizations, whether digital or analog, will be impacted by known competitors and others who they did not expect. Both customers and companies are made up of people who, in the end, will be the ones who determine the success or failure of this digital revolution.

Eduardo Suárez Battán


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