By Alistair Sergeant, CEO, Purple Consultancy Businesses are increasingly having to create and modify their organisational capabilities to adapt and keep…

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By Alistair Sergeant, CEO, Purple Consultancy

Businesses are increasingly having to create and modify their organisational capabilities to adapt and keep up with the ever changing and evolving digital technology which surrounds them. 

For many, their digital projects are failing; the speed of digital transformation is alienating the essential human interaction and cultural change required to make the projects a success.

Bring back the humans

According to the latest statistics, 88% of digital transformation projects fail and there is a reason for that.

The speed of digital change is something that no business can ignore but most try relentlessly and largely unsuccessfully to keep up with. We are surrounded with disruptive business models coming to market with new technology rapidly changing and it is easy to get so wrapped up by technology that we forget to consider that without the human element, the transformation process will fail. 

This rapid change has resulted in a serious skills gap from a business and technology prospective for most UK organisations. As a result, both large corporations and SMEs UK wide are not as agile as they should be, not only affecting growth, but also impacting customer experience and employee engagement.

We know that (most) cars, no matter how technologically advanced they are, need a human to drive them and this is just the same when implementing digital change in your business.

Meaningful change starts with people, not technology. Your team needs to adapt to keep up with the pace by making changes to the way they have worked in the past but none of this can work successfully unless we encourage a chance in culture.

The role of the leader

To implement an effective digital transformation strategy, leadership is not only vital but critical for success. In so many cases, those implementing the strategy haven’t taken the time to understand what needs to be changed, what the strategy should aim to deliver and when, and more importantly how to correctly communicate change with staff or other company stakeholders.

It’s time to remove the digital-first approach as this method requires your entire team to buy in to it and almost forces them into a corner. To work on a new team culture in the business, which encourages your staff to embrace the changes and understand the reason for the changes, takes time. As a digital leader you need to guide and support your employees, encourage them and give them time to grow with the transformation process. 

Understanding how they work, how they think and playing to their strengths is time consuming but will ultimately help to grow your successful ‘human-first’ approach.

Get to know your customers

Customers are human too. They are not just numbers on a sheet. It is vital you get to know them, get to the bottom of what they like, what they want and also what they don’t want. You are aiming to promote a human-centric approach so that you give them the solutions they actually want and not what you assume they want. 

You can maximise the success of your product or brand by taking the time to get to know who your target market is and allowing them to see that there are humans behind the brand who actually care about what they want and are prepared to talk to them and listen to them. 

No matter how advanced technology is becoming, in certain situations there is simply no replacement for the human touch. Empathy plays a large part in positive company and team growth as well as social skills, the power of persuasion and negotiation, and these are all done better by humans and is what your customers will relate to.

Be patient

Building a system within your business, where humans and technology can work together with more of a balance, is where successful digital transformation will be most successful. One can’t work without the other but in your quest to beat off the competition, don’t overlook the heart of your business, which is the human element and ensure you invest as much in them as the technology you use. Take time to let a new company culture evolve and ensure that your employees understand the new structure and most importantly your vision as you are the ‘human’ who is implanting the change.

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