Digital Transformation in 2021 Must Be Centred Around People

800 449 Sarah Lines

Digital transformation is no longer just a nice idea for businesses to look into. It is now integral to the survival and future success of businesses, as they look to bounce back from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and thrive.

Any planned transition towards a more digitally-centred business model has been fast-tracked to counteract the impact felt due to Covid-19. Employers have had to re-evaluate and reconfigure the way in which they operate to align with the ‘new normal’.

Remote working looks set to remain prominent for the foreseeable future, and businesses must continue to adapt processes to fit with a mix of home and office working, ensuring that neither those working remotely nor those returning to the office are at a disadvantage.

As we gradually return to a more familiar way of life, the challenges for business leaders continue. A strong digital transformation strategy is now more crucial than ever. It is important though that these changes are centred around people – with the needs of employees a primary concern.

Businesses that had already adopted digital strategies prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic have found the acceleration easier to manage, whilst those that were late to embrace such platforms found themselves playing catch-up in a time of great challenge and uncertainty. 

So how can the many companies that have struggled to adapt, successfully transition with minimal disruption in 2021?

Decisions made with people in mind.

Successful digital transformation relies on effective people management for the most part. Any strategy applied by businesses must be centred around its people. The right technologies are important, but even the most powerful tech will fall short if the user experience is lacking. 

Leading from the top with enthusiasm and making employees a part of the journey throughout will reduce the chance of disconnection from the process. However, in order to make the transition as smooth as possible, businesses must ensure sufficient training is available for everybody and cannot rely on a one size for all approach.

A diverse workforce requires a diverse approach to learning. The technology and processes deployed must take into account the learning speeds and preferences of each employee. By doing this, you lessen the pressure on your workforce and enhance the experience. 

Investing in the right technology.

In terms of technology, cloud computing provides an array of tools to streamline the workflow; offering ease of accessibility and the ability to store, transfer and backup data safely.

Software as a service (SaaS) solutions such as Office 365, G Suite and QuickBooks Online are cost-effective solutions that provide consistency of information between users regardless of location.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are automating workspace management, with AI tools supplying accurate on-demand data increasingly accessible. This technology will continue to get smarter, and as new technology emerges, the possibilities for transformation grow.

Be aware of potential challenges.

One of the main reasons that transformation plans fall short of their potential is employee pushback. A result of poor user experience, or investing in technology that does not address the needs of the user.

When choosing new technology, businesses must research the available options extensively, ensuring the interface is accessible, easy-to-use and fit for purpose. Getting the right software from the start will reduce the number of issues that arise, making for a smoother transition for all involved.

Understanding current systems, how they work, and ways in which they can be improved is crucial in the successful implementation of new digital workspaces, as is keeping people at the forefront of decision making.

For those working remotely, it is important that any new tools include in-app support and comprehensive user guides to counteract the challenges of limited in-person support and availability of colleagues for assistance. Providing users with the necessary tools to self-solve any issues that arise will maintain productivity.

Implementing a successful digital transformation in 2021: The Key Factors.

The cost of digitalisation will be reduced considerably by the right choices being made from the outset. Putting people at the heart of digital transformation is the most effective approach.

Any substantial change to processes and procedures will inevitably bring challenges. But a solid strategy that values collaboration and takes the requirements of the role and the needs of the user into account will reduce the impact of digitalisation and benefit the business in terms of financial commitment, staff retention and productivity levels. 

Research, collaboration and informed decision making is pivotal to a successful transformation, as businesses look to build back and thrive in 2021 and beyond.