Digital Transformation – A Perspective

Normally, Digital Transformation focuses on enriching the customers’ experience, exclusion of legacy systems to a greater extent keeping in mind the critical factor of time-to-market, keeping customer-centricity in mind – outward-facing. Rarely does it matter how it would be inward-facing – employee perspective

Digital Transformation – A Perspective - CIO&Leader

There has been a lot that has been written about Digital Transformation. So, what we would like to discuss are few impactful approaches (cultural nuances of an organization, inclusion) and transformation catalysts – a perspective that we witnessed a few major fintechs and digital-led technology hubs.

Normally, Digital Transformation focuses on enriching the customers’ experience, exclusion of legacy systems to a greater extent keeping in mind the critical factor of time-to-market, keeping customer-centricity in mind – outward-facing. Rarely does it matter how it would be inward-facing – employee perspective.

Often, Digital Transformation is either met with reluctance, resistance or lack of mandate from the top management. In most cases here, there is one thing in common.

The focus of Digital Transformation is:

  1. Enriched Customer Experience
  2. Cost Optimization
  3. Business Process Automation
  4. Technology Stack/Time-to-Market

What it fails to focus on:

  1. Employee Experience/Inclusion in the journey of Transformation in true sense
  2. Business Model Re-design (Big Picture)
  3. Overall Strategy
  4. Cultural/Organizational Mindset Reset which is crucial

While there is merit in the 2x2 shown above, it is imperative that there is a practical approach that is followed to garner the ROI that one expects from any Digital Transformation efforts.

First things first, ‘Define End Goal of Transformation – Overall Strategy’. This doesn’t mean defining the process automation roadmap or tech roadmap to be implemented to deliver the savings we decide for the next 3-5 years. It means ‘Define the roadmap of what changes you want to deliver to the customer and how would the customers want to access these services – hence the Customer Experience’. This would mean look at every Product not by what each team delivers but what each customer requirement is. Hence defining what your ‘Business Model’ should look like at end of the journey to determine what we would like to deliver.

Hence, Step 1. Define your overall strategy keeping in mind the customer needs and experience. This should define your business model.

Once you know what you want to deliver, define – ‘Who will deliver – Your Employees/Change Agents’. Define the ‘Employee Journey’ that will align them to the ‘Overall Strategy’, make them the advocate for the strategy and above all, define and therefore walk the talk to implement the strategy. Getting them onboarded on this journey is extremely critical as it is this aspect which is normally an after-thought in most cases and hence the reason for resistance, reluctance and hence half-baked approach to implement something that may have been the mandate from the top rather than something they find value in.

Most organizations look at getting a consultant who will look at each team to define what parts of the process can be automated, experts who can automate certain parts of the process while the existing staff slogs their way through the ‘run’ part of the activities to keep the lights on. This creates a sense of ‘us v them’ that causes the friction that ultimately derails/delays the transformation the organization is looking to achieve.

One thing that some organizations have adopted and has worked for them is to develop ‘Squads’. These Squads are groups that can be deployed with operational teams, on need basis, to help not only automate and transform the process, but at the same time upskill/reskill the teams to simultaneously be involved in the transformation. This creates acceptance for the transformation, and it becomes a part of the regular BAU rather than something done by a group of experts while existing staff feels threatened and left out and hence causing the much-known resistance to transform. This sets the tone of the culture you want for the organization – non-threating, inclusive, employee centric leading to the much needed ‘Cultural/Organizational Mindset Reset’.

Hence, Step 2. Focus on how employee journey plays a role in Digital Transformation and leverage that to build cultural/organizational mindset.

Once you have these, the rest (Cost Optimization, Technology Stack, and Business Process Automation) are more of outcomes than inputs.

While all the above are true in both pre and post COVID eras, there is something that accelerated the pace or importance of employee journey transformation – COVID itself. Pre-COVID, customer experience/journey was superseding overtly the importance of employee journey. But COVID made it evident that one cannot focus on customer without onboarding the employees.

While the two transformation journeys accelerated – the resultant Digital Transformation accelerated to a pace that wasn’t something seen before. This goes to prove that all along we focused on just the customers, but this when combined with the power of employee journey transformation, the resultant Digital Transformation is much faster and has much longer-term impact than seen before.

The author is Meha Grover – Head of COO – Technology Infrastructure, Société Générale Global Solutions Centre Pvt. Ltd. and co-author is Guruprasad AM – Global Program Manager – Cloud & Digital Transformation, Société Générale Global Solutions Centre Pvt. Ltd.

**Article is published in personal capacity


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