IT's role is more critical than ever in a world that's increasingly dependent on digital. Organisations are under increasing pressure to stay competitive and create connected experiences. Let's look at digital transformation over the next year.
The pandemic forced organisations across the globe to boost IT investment and prioritise their digital transformation initiatives. That is a trend set to continue over the next 12 months. In South Africa, however, we have witnessed a lag in the adoption of true digital transformation.
Digitisation Versus Digital Transformation
Let us begin by clearing up any confusion there may be between digitisation, which is the conversion of analogue to digital, and the internal optimisation of processes, and the term digital transformation, which is more about people than it is about digital technology.
Transformation requires a much broader adoption of digital technology as well as in-depth cultural change. It demands organisational changes that are customer-centric, backed by leadership, driven by fundamental shifts in corporate culture, and the leveraging of technologies that empower and enable employees.
If management does not buy into transformation, any move towards this will be dead in the water. Transformation is not an event – it is something that must be planned, strategised, prioritised, and then followed through and consistently evaluated, to make sure it happens. Digital transformation must be undertaken deliberately, and it must form part of your mainstream business: its focus, time, and resource allocation.
In our organisation, one example is enabling our workforce with LinkedIn Learning – video courses taught by industry experts in software, creative, and business skills. We do this instead of offering only in-room training and limiting it to people's availability, the size of the venue, and the availability of the educator. For HR, that is a digital transformation. But management, the business and the employees all have to buy into it for it to be a successful initiative.
We have taken the same approach with the transformation of our channel – from legacy account managers to active participants in the Tarsus Distribution Portal (TDP).
In our business, digital transformation is a strategic imperative. But even within a single business, there are different departments. Some will be quick on the uptake; others will be slower. When you are a digital marketer, for example, you are trained to be agile and quick to adapt. In a similar way, some people are very comfortable using a banking app, while others prefer to go into a branch and queue.
The Innovation Adoption Lifecycle
In any sector, early adopters set the ball rolling, while the majority take their time to adapt. When it comes to transformation, we remain concerned about those that are slow to adopt, because we do not want them to go out of business. As a distributor and a stakeholder in the ICT channel ecosystem, we have a duty to our partners to ensure they are not left waiting at the station.
The past 18 months have been an eye-opener for many of us, as we have realised just how digitally immature many parts of the ICT channel are. What can we do to assist these companies to embark on the transformation journey?
We are on a drive to create awareness, firstly. We are also conscious of the fact that the messaging around digital transformation must be adapted to different audiences. How we communicate with Gen Z will be quite different from our messaging to the C-suite, for example.
Getting that communication right is critical because it is the step that leads to adoption. Once your audience engages with your content, they start to become actively involved in the bigger company strategy. The digital transformation model can then be tweaked in line with received feedback, leading to even greater acceptance. The result is advocacy for the transformation drive. Again, the need for support from senior management goes without saying.
Want to know more? Click hereto read a great article on digital transformation.