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New World of Work

The Critical Success Factors for Digital Transformation

By 28 February 2017No Comments

Change is inevitable, and digital transformation is infiltrating the workplace at an accelerating pace. In the words of Ross Harvey, Founder and Managing Director of The Yield, ‘If you want to have a future you’ve got to embrace it, understand it and engage with it… Digital transformation is about more than just technology. It’s about adopting a new approach to the entire network of systems that power your operation.’
In 2016, the World Economic Forum declared that Digital Transformation would be the Fourth Industrial Revolution, demonstrating the transformative power of the digital age on business and industry. Success in this ‘New World of Work’ relies on the leaders to embrace the digital transformation, and to empower their employees to pursue it.
In their report, ‘Embracing Digital Transformation’, Microsoft Australia has highlighted a number of critical success factors for digital transformation: strong leadership buy-in, an entrepreneurial culture, access to talent, clear vision and a strategy for success. These core success areas form the basis of whether your company will be able to achieve digital transformation and we have provided a brief blurb of each factor below.
Strong Leadership Buy In
Change starts at the top, if you want to implement digital transformation into your business you need to be committed. If you don’t believe wholeheartedly in the change and you aren’t willing to open yourself up to the steps that you need to take to implement the change, you won’t be successful. In essence, it’s the question of whether you want change and whether you want to change. You will be the person leading the innovation within your business, if you aren’t committed, then your employees will be hesitant and you won’t be successful.
Entrepreneurial Culture
As a leader you need to foster an environment where your employees are motivated to innovate, create and take risks. You want to encourage your employees to actively embrace the change and give them an opportunity to collaboratively move your organisation forward. It may be that the ideas or comments of your employees display a problem or solution in a light that you didn’t consider, or they may be able to critically analyse your ideas and identify issues that you didn’t foresee. Further, by actively encouraging the involvement of your employees in embracing digital transformation, they are less likely to resist change as they will be the ones actively implementing it.
Access to Talent
You need to have the talent that understands the digital transformation in order to succeed. This can be achieved by employing IT specialists or digital specialists, or by outsourcing the digital capacity of the operation. In Australia, there isn’t a scarcity of digital talent, but there is a lack of maturity, which is why many organisations look overseas to bring somebody in on a skilled visa, such as a 457 visa. The skillsets required for transformation stretch beyond digital skills, so organisations must pay attention to the quality and diversity of their entire talent pool. Employment has changed, in the ‘New World of Work’ you can employ anyone either on a fixed term contract or PAYG. Either way they are both employed under a ‘work contract’. Think outside the box to attract the best talent, the mechanism of how you pay is irrelevant.
Clear Vision
Where are you going? What do you hope to achieve? While digital transformation is becoming more central to business, not all of it will be relevant to you. You need to understand your final goal, understand how these changes can assist you and your business. If you have clear vision you will be able to cut through the clutter and make decisive moves to ensure success for digital transformation. A lack of clarity can also lead to uncertainty in your staff, if they can’t understand your vision, they may hesitate to buy into the concept.
The strategy that you plan to use must align with the organisations value, proposition and have the potential to be effectively embedded and scaled. Flexibility is key, especially when aiming to be successful with digital transformation. Given the rapidly moving and altering nature of the area, you are essentially driving without a map, but rather a tiny screen which only gives you the next section of road when you are almost upon it. If you are unable to react and adapt you may miss the turn off to success. You also need to be prepared to change from the roots of a business, your current business model may not be adaptable for the digital transformation, so you need to find a strategy which blends your existing business, your goals and values and your final successful destination of digital transformation.
Don’t fear it! embrace it and utilise it in whatever way or means that works for your organisation.
Download Pendragon’s ‘New World of Work‘ e-Book to learn more about the future of employment.

Purnima Kabra