Subramanyam Reddy (Subbu) is the Founder and CEO of KnowledgeHut, the leading technology workforce development company that helps enterprises and individuals around the world move forward to the next level with the help of technology. in 2012, at the age of 28, Subbu, as he is known to everyone, started KnowledgeHut. He on-boarded 12 employees and with an initial investment of $10,000 (Rs 5 Lakh). They almost gave up after the first two months of no revenues and no more savings to invest. But then the leads started flowing in and by the end of third month, they generated revenue of around $28,000 a(Rs14 Lakh). Since then, there has been no looking back. The company has grown from strength to strength and is now expected to clock an Annual Revenue Run-Rate of Rs300 crore in March 2022.
Digital transformation is not merely just a buzzword but a tailored solution for businesses of all sizes to unlock their potential. Organizations that adapt to the changing times by adopting new-age technologies can remain competitive and relevant. Deloitte’s Digital Transformation Survey, 2020, says, 45 percent of companies reporting a positive impact of digital transformation, also have higher net revenue growth.
But digital transformation programs are beset with challenges. Jeff Sutherland, the co-creator of Scrum, has stated that 47% of Agile transformations fail, and 67% of these failures are terminal. How can you ensure that yours doesn’t fail?
What is Digital Transformation?
Technology has created limitless paths to shape the future of our lives, by providing easy access to amazing tools and resources. Boundaries across societies have become blurred because of digitisation. Big Bata, AI/ML, the Internet of Things, Mobile, and cloud computing, are revolutionising industries by generating innovative and smart business strategies. With the emergence of online learning, learners from remote corners have access to new and advanced learning concepts. Even smart home technologies provide comfort and convenience by optimising resources.
Digital transformation creates value for the end-users by connecting people, data, and processes, which helps businesses to maintain a competitive advantage. Businesses can create customer delight, improve processes and productivity and mitigate risks while optimizing resources, with a successful value-creation strategy.
Covid-19 threw the world into disarray, causing havoc in practically every facet of our life. One of the far-reaching consequences that the pandemic has brought about is, as the Economist put it, “the infusion of data-enabled services into ever more aspects of life.” To flourish in the competitive environment, it is of utmost necessity for businesses to adapt to digitisation. Adopting digital will help them build the resilience that the future demands.
According to research conducted by Mckinsey, 70 percent of large-scale transformations will fall by the wayside, without achieving their objectives. The most common flaws are poor employee engagement, lack of guidance and support from the leadership, a disconnect between cross-functional teams, and a lack of accountability.
Given below are some of the key factors that will help enterprises in accelerating digital transformation and ensure successful adoption:
Companies must take a people-first approach
Investing in the workforce along with technology is imperative to bring sustainable change and drive innovation. Analysis shows that bringing a change in company culture along with technology up-gradation is important for a successful digital transformation. A successful digital transformation requires bringing a change in the mindset of the people along with bringing in new technologies. Businesses must empower their employees to adapt to the new technologies and ways of working. As even the most innovative digitisation strategies become redundant if the workforce is not trained to use the new technologies.
The two ways in which businesses can drive successful employee engagement in digital transformation are: establishing and reinforcing new habits among employees through formal mechanisms such as continuous learning; and allowing employees to provide their opinion on how and where technology can be adopted. The employees will be open to adapting to digitisation when they feel they are being heard and their opinions matter.
Hire savvy, far-sighted leaders
For implementing a change, the mindset and values that are followed by the most senior leaders will be the main differentiator that enables the effectiveness of the organization’s transformation.
According to MIT Sloan’s Management Review research initiative titled The New Leadership Playbook for the Digital Age, only 12% of the respondents felt that their leaders had the right mindset to lead their companies forward into transformation. To make a difference, businesses must invest in top talent, and go the extra distance to hire savvy, far-sighted leaders. Leaders are capable of motivating employees to outperform only if they connect with them on a deeper level.
To create a successful strategy for the transformation plan, senior leaders need to encourage employees to experiment. This involves the leader being bold enough to challenge old, traditional ways of working and take risks. For a successful digital transformation, leaders need to collaborate well with employees at all levels and need to be open to discussions on challenges faced by the team.
Implement digital upgrades wherever possible
For a digital transformation to be successful, the employees must be trained to use the right digital tools and processes. To implement the adoption of digital tools, an organization must facilitate improved communication, analysis of complex data, and ease of access to information. The organisation should also create a network of cross-functional teams who will be accountable for their tasks.
An enterprise is on the path of successful transformation when they start modifying the traditional operating procedures to integrate digital technologies. According to research by McKinsey, leading businesses are investing heavily in upgrading their technology, and adopting innovations that will help them meet the challenges of the present and the future.
Build capabilities for the future of work
It is not just enough to install the digital upgrade and expect that it will be adopted seamlessly. Businesses need to ensure that the employees, who need to adapt to the technologies are upskilled or reskilled.
The workforce needs to continuously adopt new technological skills as these skills become obsolete in this dynamic environment. To create tangible benefits, it is necessary to imbibe the right capabilities that will deliver value to the company, its employees, and its customers. Along with technical skills, social skills such as communication, empathy, and resilience are important to change.
What is the roadmap for a successful transformation?
An organization must consider transformation initiation programs to manage their digital transformation. It begins with assessing the current digital strategy of the business, and then defining the vision of the digital future. Along the way, to ensure successful transformation intermediate business goals and measurable metrics are required to achieve one step at a time.
A successful business transformation is well-positioned to hold its own in the competitive marketplace, attracting more revenue and winning the hearts of customers. A successful business transformation has the buy-in from the leadership as well as the employees and engages all levels of the workforce for the larger business goals.