How far to Digital Transformation in the Workplace?Digital has revolutionized the way businesses are being conducted and how! Have you noticed how your social media updates look like? You may have realized that if you were searching for some product today, your browser pops up advertisements for the same product the next day (without you having to put in an additional search). YouTube too sends in recommendations for your favourite videos often. It’s huge, isn’t it, the way digital transformation is making its presence felt in every single aspect of our lives, most importantly our workplaces and businesses?

But what exactly is Digital Transformation? It is mainly the reimagining and refurbishing of the way businesses operate, aided by today’s advanced technology.

Change is inevitable and businesses know that, but the convergence of technologies such as Mobile, Cloud, Artificial Intelligence, Social, and Big Data analytics has accelerated the pace at which today’s businesses are evolving. According to the IDC 2018 Digital Transformation Predictions report, spending on Digital Transformation will reach $1.7 trillion worldwide – a 42% increase from 2017. Businesses are now focusing more upon customers and worker-centric models through Digital Transformation for greater value addition, speed and efficacy. Business leaders are, in fact, rethinking their strategies to bring in a digital flavour to all things business. So much so that Tech-Enabled Learning is Changing the HR’s Role!

Your organization too must have already experienced the power of digital. Digital platforms have enabled and stimulated innovative forms of work and talent management. They are dominating most domains in the workplace – from productivity to workforce composition, hiring decisions to business analytics and performance management systems to learning content. We have written earlier how L&D Digital Transformation begins with Rethinking the LMS. So, to say the least, Digital Transformation is everywhere!

The current state of Digital Transformation

To understand this new era of working better, Cegos Asia Pacific (Cegos is our partner for Off-the-Shelf eLearning) recently asked HR, learning and business leaders and their organizations across the Asia Pacific region about how they are handling the change. While the entire research results will be launched in the month of March, for now, some initial findings give interesting insights.

Here’s a look at a few:

1. Digital Transformation is gaining momentum. In 2015, Cegos had conducted a similar survey titled 5 drivers of success for the 2020s workplace. Back then, about 3 out of 10 organizations surveyed had spoken about a clear digital roadmap for the future. The statistics weren’t very heartening. From then on, there seems to be clear progress because in the latest survey over 6 out of 10 of the organizations questioned were affirmative of a digital blueprint for 2018-2020. That is definitely a step forward!

2. On the downside, the competence for Digital Transformation is not spread across the workforce. In fact, the survey shows that only a few people rather than many within the organization hold the expertise for digital transformation which seems to be creating a bit of negativity internally. Corporate learning does not seem to contribute when it comes to providing training and development around this topic from the top down. The point is that this kind of training is not just urgent now, it is also very important. These technologies and new tools are soon going to become (or have already become) an intrinsic part of businesses, are enabling new ways of working and are driving the success of the business.

3. While there is a lot of noise about Digital Transformation, strangely, about 40% of those responding to the Cegos survey have said that they are not experiencing any significant movement in this area. Almost two thirds have mentioned that there is glaring need for change in the mindset for a better future for the business, transformation to achieve it and the challenges likely to come up. The research has also pointed something more alarming: the resistance to this change is coming from the very top of the organization and there is a need for this to shift, urgently!

Achieving Digital Transformation

But for now, let’s talk about you as a leader who wants to commit to bringing in digital transformation in your company. There are a few steps you may have to follow for success. For starters, begin by actually having a clear, ambitious vision which is going to put the company through a real process of transformation, rather than just cumulative changes. It is important to be ambitious during the whole process because that is what will bring in the requisite investments at every level in the company. The next step is to bring in a comprehensive team that is specially entrusted with the responsibility of bringing in Digital Transformation and coordinating all the digital initiatives. Coordination is the key because several companies have failed at digital initiatives primarily because they were not handled in the right way.

Once all of this is place, the end result is a company that has reached its full digital maturity including both digital capabilities and leadership capabilities. Such a company is digitally mature with an entirely redesigned economic model using digital technologies. This company has also completely overhauled its operational processes by automating them and has put data analysis at the heart of its decision-making. Another important element is that such a company has broken down all barriers between its physical and digital distribution networks such that customers find it difficult to distinguish between an online store and an actual shop.

In a nutshell, a digital workplace is one where digital has taken over physical distribution, yet all the advantages of the physical networks have been retained. Do you think your workplace has achieved digital? We would love to hear your experiences and thoughts.

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