Digital transformation: Again, it’s about people, not technology

  • Changing customer expectations require digital business agility
  • But there’s been too much focus on IT and business processes

Digital transformation: Again, it’s about people, not technologyPEOPLE today are demanding more from service providers, as ownership of mobile devices moves into the billions and 4G (Fourth Generation) connectivity becomes the norm.
Banking customers demand quicker service and response times, commuters want real-time updates on traffic conditions, and e-commerce customers continuously expect shorter delivery times for their orders.
These changing customer expectations require digital business agility, a perspective that most companies are beginning to grasp.
A recent report by International Data Corporation (IDC) reveals that the majority of Malaysian organisations (63.2%) are in an opportunistic stage of digital transformation, attempting to bring about digitally-enabled competencies.
Unfortunately, these companies focus their transformation efforts on IT and business processes, too often neglecting the most critical element: Their people.
By neglecting the workforce as part of digital transformation, companies are failing to build the capacity to understand and react to threats and opportunities in an era of digital disruption.
This is concerning. The Workforce Transformation in the Digital Vortex (PDF) report shows that in today’s turbulent climate, digital disruptors will displace four in 10 incumbent companies over the next five years.
How then can organisations build a workforce that is highly agile, innovative and engaged?
Digital transformation: Again, it’s about people, not technologyAs the report divulges, technology solutions alone are not the only answer to transforming the workforce. These efforts must align to the business process changes that occur across organisations as they reinvent their operating models to compete effectively in a digital era.
As an organisation chooses its approach to reimagining a digital workforce, it should use the following three drivers of agility to build the capacity of internal talent:

  • Hyperawareness: The ability to sense what is going on throughout the enterprise, among its competitors, and in the marketplace;
  • Informed decision-making: Using data and analytics to empower the workforce, resulting in better decisions at every level of the organisation; and
  • Fast execution: Responding rapidly once they have made a decision.

As more companies embrace digitisation the same way they navigate today’s markets, leadership will continue to play a key role in sustaining the transformation of today’s workforce.
With the right tools married with agile processes, businesses can look forward to attaining a competitive edge, coming out at the winning end when future-ready organisations collide with stagnant incumbents in the digital vortex.
Albert Chai is managing director of Cisco Malaysia.
Related Stories:
Digital transformation yadda-yadda: What do your employees really think?
Digital disruption: In 3yrs, nothing will be the same
Malaysia to brace for digital disruption in 2016
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