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How to Get Everyone On Board With Your Digital Transformation

By Stephanie Vozza , Contributor | August 15, 2019

Think of how Amazon disrupted retail or how Uber changed transportation. Technology radically changes how companies do business. If you don't anticipate how your industry will evolve, you put your company at risk of no longer being relevant in the future.

Welcome to the digital transformation. In 2019, an estimated 38% of all tech spending will go towards getting companies ready for it. Technology research company IDG found that while 91% of companies plan to adopt a digital-first strategy, only 48% have actually put it into place.

Does your business want to embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution—also called Industry 4.0—but hasn't started yet? That may be because your company culture needs a makeover. It's not enough to have a transformation plan in place. You also need people on board with it—so they can act on it.

To prepare for a digital transformation, your company needs to focus on these six areas:

1. Transparency

As artificial intelligence (AI) automates more tasks, many employees may fear they'll lose their jobs. Leaders must be transparent about upcoming changes. They also have to communicate how changes will affect teams.

It's important that companies make it safe for employees to speak up and share feedback.

It's important that companies make it safe for employees to speak up and share feedback. A culture that is ready to transform considers employees as valued partners with teams that feel safe and inclusive.

2. Growth Opportunities

As companies transform, employees will need new skills. Closing the skills gap is the top challenge and priority for today's businesses, according to a study by LinkedIn.

In addition to being transparent about how jobs will change, companies must help their employees acquire necessary skills. This means providing training to those who want to participate. It also means communicating the importance of learning new skills to stay relevant in a digital transformation.

3. Customer Focus

Leaders and employees need to make sure they're hyper focused on the customer experience. Customers are at the core of every business, and any transformation must acknowledge this.

According to IDG, 67% of IT decision makers said that improving the customer experience is one of their top objectives in their digital transformation strategy. It's a leader's job to communicate the importance of the customer and ensure that every decision and change is customer-centric.

4. Collaboration

People work across departments to create products and systems that improve the customer experience, so the ability to collaborate is vital.

Companies need to identify and take down silos that halt the flow of information. Communication and project platforms can help teams collaborate. They can also help build accountability and trust with increased transparency.

5. Innovation

Ask, "What's next?" And then take the steps to move towards it. Digital transformation means having a new mindset. Companies that succeed will be willing to disrupt themselves with bold, new ideas. If they don't, their competition will.

Leaders need to create teams that are forward thinking. Ask, "What's next?" And then take the steps to move towards it. Innovation involves big-picture thinking and a willingness to experiment and take risks.

6. Agility

Finally, adopting new tech solutions often requires companies to act fast. A culture of agility will help with the digital transformation.

Leaders should empower employees to make decisions that benefit customers. They also need to approve new ideas to get them off the ground quicker.

Are You Ready to Transform?

While businesses are using technology to solve problems, leaders can't forget that people are at the center. The changes affect your team, and it's important to get them on board. Businesses can't transform unless their people do.

That puts a new focus on corporate culture. Once you get your people on board, you can start moving into the digital world to answer the question, "What's next?"

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