Making the Strategy a Reality: People
Oftentimes, there’s a huge gap between developing a strategy and successful implementation and adoption. Let’s look at the four key elements of digital transformation: people, process, data, and technology.
It might be surprising that we would start with people rather than tools or software. At ICP, we specialize in the people element of success, and helping you build an effective ecosystem of skills and process. We’ve found this is even more important than technology for a successful digital transformation. The reality is that people with the right skills and experience are often what’s most lacking, and causes digital transformation projects to fail. It’s comparably easy to buy the latest and greatest software tools - but it’s not easy to staff the ideal team, or to allow those with the right skills and experience the bandwidth to focus on new projects.
In ICP’s vast experience with executing on these programs, first and foremost, a strong and influential executive sponsor is required. Only through a strong leader can the appetite for transformational initiatives be built up within the organization. Sponsorship and influence at the top allows internal priorities to get shifted, silo thinking to be avoided, and the focus to be in the right areas.
Global Head of Consulting | ICP
"Visionary organizational thinking is often missing. Rarely do enterprises understand the resources required."
”Visionary organizational thinking is often missing,” adds Sara James of ICP. “Rarely do enterprises understand the resources required. You need to think through how to take things off people’s plates, and add resources. Success is dependent upon this being a top priority, if not the top priority. Without the proper resources, it’s not going to turn out to be successful.”
A trend in the mid 2020s is less rigid lines of insourcing vs. outsourcing staff, rather, organizations work in hybrid models of full-time staff, consultants, vendor resources, and project-specific contractors. This allows for the agility to expand and contract teams as needs require. Also important for company health is up-skilling existing talent, rather than just hiring new talent. Data scientists, marketing technology engineers, and solution architects are often roles that can be trained for with existing internal resources.
“The secret to delivering digital transformation success does not rest solely with technology. You need to develop a people-first approach that first involves staffing the right people on a permanent digital transformation team.", says out Sara James. "Then there needs to be an enhanced understanding, new processes, higher levels of skills, and a long-term commitment to unity across the organization.”
What does a people-first approach actually mean in practice?
Brands that translate digital transformation strategy into tangible benefits involve the entire enterprise in the program, ensuring that every department plays their part to deliver the business and technology change required for success.
- Strong leadership from the program sponsors and C-Suite to set and communicate the strategy, provide the means for the programme to be delivered, and strong governance.
- Technologists, system vendors, and internal IT support and infrastructure teams working together to deliver fit-for-purpose tools and solutions with a common approach and plan.
- An enterprise-wide change management team that achieves buy-in from the business at every level, turning employees into the greatest advocates for the program.
- Ensuring that system and process training is not a one-off event, but an ongoing task. People generally won’t call for help – they may have had training a month or six months ago but may forget the basics. Have a plan to reach out to the user community on a regular basis, offer refresh training and support.
- Making sure communications are two-way: collect employee feedback and respond accordingly. Use questionnaires, regular check-in with departmental champions; talk to those who use digital tools often, as well as those who barely do.
- Measuring the impact and success of change management, and ultimately the business readiness to adopt new technologies and ways of working
- Communicate regularly with clear roadmaps of what happens when and who is involved – and update people as things change.