The People Side of Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is a hot topic right now, and it’s easy to see why. Let’s implement awesome software, streamline our processes, stop revenue leakage, gather data around our customers’ behaviour, nurture our customer base, and maybe even change the world while we are at it. But is everyone in your organisation ready for that kind of change?

Implementing new software that does all of this amazing stuff can be pretty game-changing, but have you thought about the fact that the success of your technology investment is contingent on getting people to change the way they do their work? Guess what, without thinking about your people, being strategic about your messaging, investing time into proper training, and identifying areas where user adoption could fail – you might end up with a wonderful software solution that no one uses. Huge sad face.

Having said that, with a bit of thought about the people in your organisation, your project will be successful and you will have happy employees adapting to their new way of working. They will be empowered and feel comfortable and confident using the very cool new Salesforce (or other) solution that’s up and running. In turn, it will all begin to transform your business and bring you insights about your customers that you never had before. This is what real digital transformation looks like.

Here are a few foundational change management tactics that will help you in being wildly successful in your digital transformation.

  • Digital Transformation Tip #1: Be overly communicative from the beginning. As much as we’d like to believe that the employee side of change comes when we go live and run a training session, we are not thinking early enough. Take my advice, and make your people aware of the change that is coming from the very beginning of the project. You may not even know what the software will look like, or the scope of the project at that stage but you can still have your stakeholders start talking about the fact that change is coming and the way they will work in the future will be different than the way that they work today. Your employees need to be aware of why the business is making this change, why they need to get on board, and how the software will change their lives for the better. A communication plan and strategy are key to successfully telling the story of why this change is happening and what they need to do.
  • Digital Transformation Tip #2: Identify your superhumans. Who does your team look up to? Who do they see as a leader of their team? Who can you identify as the ones that thrive when new technology is put into their hands? Get them in a conference room and have a chat about leading the charge from the ground floor. Train them early and extensively, so they can show the others that change is not only necessary, but it’s great. If your superhumans adopt the software and want to use it, they will help do the work with their colleagues whilst making it more fun. On top of these people using the software, it is also important that they know how and when to communicate about the change. Train them on change management and bring them into the communication strategy early on. Trust me, it will pay off!
  • Digital Transformation Tip #3: Battle resistance through goals and motivation. Resistance management is more than just having a chat to the folks that haven’t adopted the software and asking them to please start using it . You’ve got to change the way that employees are measured in a meaningful way that includes the use of the software. Take sales employees as an example. You can create real-time dashboards that they look at each morning to know exactly how their performance is stacking up against their team and run a weekly spot bonus for the highest level of activity captured in Salesforce. For your marketers, create your upcoming KPIs to include the creation of x number of employee journeys through Pardot and tracking of time from lead to conversion by using data from the system. If the way that someone at your company does work is changing, the way that they are measured and the goals that they are expected to reach should change as well. Resistance to change is a huge threat to the success of your technology project, but making a plan to motivate your team to use the system will ensure they have a keen interest in adopting your shiny new Salesforce (or other technology) instance.
  • Digital Transformation Tip #4: Ask for help. Change management may seem quite straightforward and of course, these are just a few ideas to wrap your head around on the topic, but if you haven’t thought about change management and you are unsure where to start, just ask for help from one of us people, people. If you want a full diagnostic analysis of the impact of change on your organisation or the potential for adoption failure and how to manage it from the beginning of your project, let me know. I would be more than happy to run a session with your people and your stakeholders to make your project a thriving success.

More to come on the exciting world of change management, so stay tuned.

If you're looking for a partner to help in your digital transformation, send us a message!


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