Digital transformation is people business

Published on: December 16, 2019

Digital transformation holds many promises for utility companies and manufacturers. On the other hand, new digital technologies and the proliferation of data often challenge the way businesses are organized. To make digital transformation truly a success, companies need to invest in change management as well.

How do people deal with new technologies? What is the employees’ perspective on company changes? And how can management make sure that new processes are fully adopted by the workforce?

Those are the typical questions that Sophie Vincken is dealing with on a daily basis. In contrast to most of her colleagues at Kapernikov, Sophie is not focused on the technical side, but rather on the human side of information management. As a coaching expert, Sophie helps employees and organizations go through big transitions.

Company habits

New processes often go against habits that are ingrained in the company’s operations and culture since many years. This makes change in an organization very hard.

“When a business embarks on a digital transformation project, a lot of work usually goes into technology selection, data architectures, systems and procedures,” says Sophie. “But the work does not stop there. We need to make sure that the organization with its people can adapt to the change, otherwise the technology investments are wasted.”

People business

Digital transformation projects need the support from C-level management, as well as from people in the field. To make sure that all are working together towards the same goal, it is extremely important to work together closely with people from all layers in the organization.

“At Kapernikov, we take the time to build relationships with people in an organization,” says Sophie. “This increases the chance of changes being broadly supported. This way, people can gradually become familiar with new policies, processes and technologies.”

Critical factors of change management

So, how can you make change succeed? According to Sophie, there are at least five critical factors.

  • Change starts with a critical analysis of the current situation and strategy. We need to know where the organization wants to go, what the goals are, what the scope of the project is and who the stakeholders are.
  • Change projects need full support from the organization’s management. Without it, it will be difficult to break old habits.
  • Communication: Transformation can only succeed when people are fully informed about the nature and reason for a change. This means setting up regular information and feedback sessions with people in the field. Change management professionals need to communicate effectively and at the same time remain diplomatic, tactful and credible.
  • Everyone in the organization needs to be involved as much as possible. When employees feel they have been given a voice, change will be easier.
  • Change takes time and a certain degree of trial & error. There’s no way around this. Therefore, patience is key.

Managing change in your organization

Are you planning big changes in your company’s information architecture? Then be sure to involve your employees in the process from the start. Find out how we can help your company go through a successful transition.

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