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Building a digital transformation culture

The advent of the internet has paved the way for Industry 4.0 – the invention of a new phase of digital technologies in the current age. Technologies such as big data, machine learning, automation, and artificial intelligence have shaped the way we live, work and play.

Businesses are evolving to the point where they seem to be increasingly focused on improving customer engagement and understanding customers’ behaviour with the help of hard data. This stage in digital transformation is powered by data that businesses depend on, for the improvement of their customer engagements as well as a better understanding of their customer’s buying patterns.

However, an organisational culture imbalance can hinder this evolution. In a 2019 study by BCG, the singular act of focusing on culture made a company 5x more likely to achieve a digital transformation breakthrough. Many companies are reluctant to implement the right digital culture, either because of existing cultural biases that are hard to break out of or because of a lack of resources that encourage employees to be more change-positive.

What is digital culture?

According to GDS, digital culture refers to a concept that defines how technology and the internet shapes human interactions. It covers our thinking, behaviour,  and routine communications within society, and is built out of a combination of persisting persuasive technology and disruptive technological innovation.

How to foster a good digital culture

There are several ways to foster a healthy digital culture that allows organisations to seamlessly integrate digital change into their existing processes.

Fostering a high level of collaboration among employees is one way to achieve this. High-level collaboration allows for transparency and open exchange across business units which prevents teams from adopting a communication-hampering silo mindset. Promoting strong collaboration among employees can significantly improve workflow productivity when introducing new digital functions within organisations.

Investing in employees’ personal development is another way to foster a positive digital culture. Organisations can invest in employee’s personal development by providing dedicated spaces that promote upskilling and digital education – such as online learning portals or digital courses. With these provisions made, employees are better equipped to adapt to new organisational digital functions.

As innovation promotes problem-solving and creativity within organisations, it represents yet another means for encouraging the development of a positive digital culture. Within a culture that encourages innovation, employees are encouraged to engage in risk-taking and disruptive thinking that could lead to new, daring ideas that define the organisation’s attitude to change.

Finally, creating digital KPIs within a framework that rewards employees for positive digital behavior can be a game-changer for organisations undergoing a digital transformation, especially where conventional KPIs have limited usefulness.  Digital KPIs can be used to effectively measure collaboration between business units, team engagement within the wide ecosystem, as well as promotional activity among teams. These new KPIs may help instill the right values in team members, creating a balanced digital culture.

While technology promises significant benefits for organisations,  its true potential cannot be realised outside the realms of a strong digital culture.

Ideally, companies seeking digital transformation success should implement internal practices that combine a learning and growth culture with digital technologies. With a balanced digital culture and the introduction of new and powerful technology, interconnectivity will accelerate in the next industrial revolution.

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