On the need to embrace digital culture

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught businesses to survive through a hyper-connected world and be resilient. Internet and Internet-enabled technology today hold the key to sustaining primarily offline companies. Hospitality, Consumer Goods, Mining, Energy, Construction, Real Estate, Automotive embraced tech during the pandemic to enable the supply chain to leverage digital channels.

Today, when Indian states are enforcing multiple lockdowns to control the spread of various variants of COVID-19, norms and behavior of social distancing, minimum workforce, and contactless systems are the New Normal.

Since digital communication has a maximum dependency to keep businesses afloat, new forms of communication, such as chabots, messaging platforms for businesses, reliance on social media for the virality of content have become an alibi for marketing.

All CX leadership roles are becoming data-driven, be it Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Human Resource Officer, Learning, Finance, and Audit Officers. Data Science and Analytics are becoming embedded as part of organization DNA; hence, digital culture embraces every business function across organizations.

Since businesses must deliver within a stipulated period, organizations break hierarchical structures to speed up work. Today, as customers are processing digitized information, content creation and customer insights through meta data have become vital for businesses.

Hence, collaboration agility at the workplace becomes key to sustaining business; hence the need to embrace digital culture gets created.

Digital culture helps the organization leverage the true power of digital technologies, i.e. SMAC (Social Media, Analytics, Cloud), assuming that the workforce will be entirely dependent on tech for customer fulfilment. To embrace the digital culture, organizations create complete lifestyle habits for staff to use tech daily. Learning development programs are focused on building digital habits at the workplace, be it Complementary Tech MBA from top tier Business School or Platinum Badge in using Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning in audits programs.

Today, digital culture is not just about values, agreements, thoughts in today’s society but also how people communicate within that society. Hence, digital culture for the organization today uses the internet and enables technologies to shape customer communication. Digital culture means much deeper for businesses. It focuses on building new ways to interact with clients, creating new influencing channels and developing a deeper understanding of how clients behave, think, and communicate within society.

So, innovation, agility, and leanness are vital pillars for an organization in this change management journey. Since customer loyalty becomes key for repeat orders, e-feedback mechanisms, especially social media, are getaways where brands are extending loyalty programs and discounts. Data insights and analysis for brands to identify the genuinely loyal customers for loyalty programs today depend on meta data. Therefore, web or mobile apps or messaging platforms offer insights on customer spending, liking, taste, preference, age, gender, and preferred channel for payments. Hence, business communication platforms that offer analytics insights are increasingly essential to predict buying behavior and help organizations hyper sell and strategize other offerings to market. Accordingly, apps that listen to customer insights through voice, text or searches hold the key to predicting the future need for businesses.

This means the tech platform will be a crucial partner for businesses tomorrow and the day after. Hence, organizations will need to think about how to build digital culture across functions and not look at digital transformation in isolation in Finance, Human resources, Operations or Supply Chain. The most prominent mistake organizations make in a digital-led finance transformation or digital transformation across Human Resources or Supply Chain is engaging multiple vendors and technologies for such programs and driving them in isolation.

Isolated digital transformation programs later created an issue to build a hyper-connected digital ecosystem that could have been seamless across business functions.

Hence, before an organization decides to create its new way of working, it’s essential to introspect how culture gets created? Who creates the culture for the organization? Is it founders-led or leadership-driven or employee-driven? Once even the simplest digital technologies get introduced across the organization culture, how does it affect internal employees and clients? Constant feedback mechanisms from clients and employees could help the change management journey.

Getting basics right for processes building designs the right way before digitization or automation could be a good start before the digital journey begins. Digital culture for an organization must start by understanding how employees and clients think about the business. Post this analysis, and it’s essential to automate processes and think through employees’ whole lifestyles and habits that need to be mapped digitally through innovation.

The author is Founder of India Future Foundation

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