Accelerating Transformation (Part 6): Overcoming Barriers to Progress

Accelerating Transformation (Part 6): Overcoming Barriers to Progress

Previous posts in this series have presented very practical advice covering the development of a digital transformation strategy relevant to your own organisation; from understanding your external and internal digital landscape, through agreeing business goals and objectives, to deciding the key digital actions and initiatives you need to implement for ‘getting there’.

In a series of parallel posts, we have been highlighting the way in which Bridgeall products, services, technologies and approaches can help you on your transformation journey – see recent posts on the Cloud, Power BI, Software and Technology driving digital transformation.

We facilitate transformation by building bridges between IT and the business; between exceptional software assured and tangible business outcomes.

In this post, we consider some of the main barriers your organisation will face in transforming the way you do things.

The engine of digital transformation……….

At Bridgeall, we take the view that software and technology is the engine powering organisational transformation. Without excellence in software development and project delivery, digital change programmes will very quickly hit the buffers.

As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we work closely with a wide range of public and private sector organisations accelerating digital transformation through delivering ‘exceptional software. assured’.

Our services, products, technologies and overall approach help to transform the engine of your organisation, leveraging the full potential of emerging technologies for delivering tangible business improvement in each of the Five Key Pillars of Successful Transformation.

  • Enhancing the customer experience
  • Building digital operating advantage
  • Deriving actionable insight from data
  • Supporting collaboration and knowledge sharing
  • Transforming the way you engage and interact with customers, the way you work internally and, where appropriate, your underlying business model.
But organisational culture is a major barrier……….

While software and technology power the engine of change, digital transformation requires the effective combination of technology AND organisation.

It is now widely recognised that organisational culture has become one of the main obstacles to successful digital change.

A recent study by Capgemini (with digital analyst Brian Solis), based on 1,700 respondents across 340 organisations in eight different countries, identified four main barriers to digital change including archaic IT systems and applications (48%); lack of digital skills (43%) and lack of a clear leadership vision (38%). Inflexible corporate cultures were identified as the most important barrier to overcome, listed by 62% of respondents.

The report also identified a significant ‘perception gap’ between senior leadership and employees on the existence of a digital culture within organisations. While 40% of senior level executives believed their firms had a digital culture, only 27% of employees agreed.

Seven main measures were used to assess whether a digital culture existed or not: collaboration practices, innovation, open culture, digital-first mindset, agility and flexibility, customer centricity and a data-driven culture.

Three main reasons were identified for the emergence of this ‘digital culture gap’ – the failure of senior leaders to communicate a clear digital vision to the company, the absence of digital role models and a lack of KPIs aligned to digital transformation goals.

While a ‘digital culture gap’ existed in the majority of companies surveyed, the research also identified a group of digital culture ‘front-runners’ (34% of organisations surveyed) performing consistently well across the seven dimensions of digital culture.

Manage the culture as well as the technology

The implication emerging from the above report, and several others arriving at similar conclusions, is clear.

For successful digital transformation to take place, senior leaders need to consider broader changes to business processes and structures. Managing culture change at the same time as managing technology change is critical.

Successful transformation requires effective software and technology. In most cases, it also requires a fundamental change in the ‘way of doing things around here’. Culture, organisation AND technology.

There is growing evidence of a strong positive correlation between digital leadership (digital maturity) and financial performance with leading digital companies outperforming others across a range of financial measures.

The effective management of organisational culture is one of the key differentiators between digital leading companies and the rest?

As the authors of the report conclude – “businesses that make digital culture a core strategic pillar will improve their relationships with customers, attract the best talent and set themselves up for success in today’s digital world.”

Change the culture as well as the technology.

The report sets out some key elements of adopting a digital culture:

  • Deploy digital change agents and empower employees to drive a digital culture
  • Design new digital KPIs that focus on behaviours
  • Make digital culture change tangible
  • Invest in the digital skills that matter
  • Clearly communicate a digital vision and have visible leadership involvement
  • Use digital collaboration tools to increase transparency and to reach out to employees
  • Take a systems thinking approach to culture change

A full copy of the report can be downloaded here – The Digital Culture Challenge.