“A poor engagement of people is the main reason why digital transformation programs fail.”

It is true that, when faced with any new ideas or opportunities, our first instinct is to resist. This is the reason why employee buy-in is critical for any transformation project – digital or not.

People, the catalyst for a digital shift

In 2019, before the pandemic, company leaders understood that digital transformation was inevitable, and they made specific plans for the shift. Then came COVID-19. Things had to shift.

People had to work from home, and the relationship with customers became almost 100% digital. In this scenario, many companies started to realize that their digital shifts did not have to be so gradual.

Now that we had this initial push towards digital and innovation, it is critical to keep moving forward. Because transformations are hard, but digital ones are harder. As proof of this, more and more companies said that after the go-live of a digital program their performances improved, but that those improvements were not sustained. Thus, this is the result of a poor engagement of people and the different departments in the program.

It is not unusual to find different departments working on their transformations independently, which can lead to inefficiencies because these digital tools, already in use by some departments, could determine the organization’s overall digital strategy. And that is an expensive mistake.

The following paragraphs present the key reasons why you should focus on people first rather than technology.

Involving employees early in the project helps the management get insights from lower levels, which will enable them to shape a truly beneficial digital transformation strategy with a high chance of success. After all, employees have deep and intimate knowledge about what works and what doesn’t and can suggest organizations about potential improvements in processes. They are the only ones who can effectively challenge old and current ways of working.

Innovate through a People-centered rather than Tech-centered approach

During the pandemic, we have seen how digital technologies are enabling extremely fast-paced changes, but people should always be the focal point of transformation – guaranteeing that users evolve at the same speed of technology. In other words, a paradigm shift is required: from business-centered to people-centric transformations.

Digital transformation is not just about embracing technology alone.

It is about using technology to transform business processes, models, and organizations as a whole. It is about using the insights brought both by users and technology to envision new business models, markets, and more efficient ways of attracting, engaging, and delivering value to customers.

Starting from people, rather than from processes and technologies, will allow the development of lean solutions truly built around their needs and strengths, facilitating an easier and faster adoption of such solutions.

Involving employees in the early stages of the project has another advantage: it generates a sense of ownership within them.

But in order to accomplish this, communication is crucial. On the one hand, it is essential to listen to your people and catch their needs. On the other hand, communicating technology goals and benefits to all employees is extremely important as well. Among other things, it helps reassure employees who are anxious that the proposed changes may make their roles redundant.

Choose the right methodology

The starting point is usually asking your employees if they have any mundane tasks that can easily be automated or if they face any work frustrations that can be solved by better processes or technology.

But there is more than just automating processes; there are several paths to follow for reaching a sustainable digital company.

At beNIMBL, we shaped pragmatic approaches to digital transformation that focus on people, by leveraging and combining Design Thinking and our Technological DNA.

Six different methodologies have been tailored for specific scenarios and industries according to people and company objectives. In this way, we help our customers introduce fast, tangible, and usable innovations. We encourage our clients to maximize the full potential of digitalization by leveraging any technology that could be helpful, providing extra value to employees, greater flexibility in processes, increased productivity, and higher-quality production.

Distinctive Features of our approach

Design Thinking and Technology Onboarding are the distinctive traits of our methodology, in all of its declinations.

Technology Onboarding – the first fundamental step of any innovation project that allows involving from the beginning all key people in the transformation initiative. It is a key moment for engaging people, allowing everyone to understand the true potential of technologies, and helping them discover new and unknown opportunities.

Design Thinking – the core approach that ensures the effectiveness of various initiatives, people cohesiveness, and seamless generation of original ideas. With Design Thinking, it is possible to design and validate prototypes in a few days, achieving a lean journey toward innovation… even remotely!

To conclude, the pandemic has taught us that individuals can quickly adapt to radical transformations; but if innovation starts from them it will be easier and more effective. To be sustainable in the long run, the digital shift must be centered on people and driven by the right approach.

Key takeaways

  1. Employees are the catalyst for challenging old ways of working (processes and procedures), and thus, they should not be scared by technology.
  2. You do not need to modify standard operating procedures to include new digital technologies. You need to introduce a technology only if it truly creates value for users and can improve efficiency.
  3. Use a methodology that empowers employees to generate ideas and opportunities about where digitization can support their business, and make this information fully accessible across the whole organization.

With beNIMBL you will never forget that people are key to your digital transformation projects!

Innovation is essential. Innovation is hard. Innovation is feasible, with beNIMBL.

If you want to know how beNIMBL can help you, visit our website or get in touch!