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Digital Transformation
Andrew Venables

Why Successful Digital Transformations Need More Than C-Suite Buy-In

When it comes to cloud-based digital transformations, most C-suite decision makers don’t need much convincing about the ‘why’. Not only do cloud technologies have well-told advantages for helping enterprises operate efficiently and scale seamlessly, but the market itself is expected to grow from USD 408 billion in 2022 to USD 1,712 billion by 2029.

With such interest in cloud-based transformation, businesses need to make sure they’re not negating its many benefits by failing to engage with the people most affected by it. This requires more than high-level buy-in and sign-off.

Your systems are only valuable if your people use them optimally, so enterprises should consider how they enable adoption for the whole business—and this starts with early communication and company-wide buy-in.

In this blog, we explore how to do this and why it will help secure the success of your cloud-powered digital transformation journey.

It’s Not An IT thing

Whether it’s to save money, improve efficiency, replace legacy applications or make your business more agile and scalable, forward-thinking enterprises need to move to cloud-based technologies as part of their digital transformation.

Company-wide buy-in however requires clear and honest communication—not only about the range of benefits but about how these specifically impact different teams and individuals. Key to this is knowing that it’s not just an IT thing. For a digital transformation to be successful, enterprises should view it less as an IT project and more as a people and process change management project.

Consider not just what’s going to change when you move from a ‘rack and stack’ IT infrastructure to a cloud-based model but how those changes will affect every type of user’s work, processes and systems. Understand the human impact and engage and guide them through, so that they feel like they’re part of the journey.

Due diligence and change management processes often have an enormous amount of resources allocated to them. However, many organisations come up short in effectively articulating their transformation case to those who’ll experience its impacts the most: its operational staff. This lack of early engagement results in unnecessary costs and longer implementation timeframes.

Be Open About Change

Without exception, when any organisation moves to the cloud, there are lots of ways-of-working practices and systems that need to be adjusted as part of the process, but many organisations fail to communicate these early enough to their people.

Beyond the bottom line and efficiencies for the business, there are huge productivity benefits that enable and empower teams, but it does mean preparing people for and supporting them through change. It’s not a matter of simply replacing the ‘tin’ you already have with ‘tin’ in the cloud, because your critical applications and business data will be living in a completely different ecosystem.

Our experience tells us that effectively communicating the relevant benefits to all stakeholders is just as important as the time, financial resources and energy that go into planning and designing an organisation’s cloud infrastructure and their future operating model to support it.

Communicate the Benefits

Here are some of the benefits that can be communicated across all parts of the enterprise:

1. Boost customer experience by leveraging data insights

While architecture and capabilities vary across different industries and organisations, cloud computing has a proven track record of delivering customer service improvements and efficiency gains through access to better data insights and analysis. Not only does this help lighten the day-to-day workload for many team leaders and their people—ultimately giving them more time to focus on their core responsibilities—it also improves their professional competencies, undoubtedly improving how they work. But take a cursory walk through an organisation that’s neglected to communicate the ‘what’s in it for me’ (WIIFM) throughout the implementation phase of a cloud transformation, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a department that’s aware of these advantages.

2. Attract top tech talent

The best talent expects to be able to work efficiently and in an agile way. They don’t want barriers to producing their best work, so if they’re in a business that doesn’t want to adapt to the times or adopt new technologies, they’ll stop producing their best work or they’ll move to new pastures. In today's incredibly tight and competitive labour market, skill shortages are one of the biggest obstacles enterprises face while undertaking their transformation. Contino can help by imparting our knowledge and experience, as well as upskilling customer teams along the journey. Evaluating whether you are in a better position at regular checkpoints throughout your transformation is critical. Successful transformations must sustain positive momentum, and important business IP must be retained internally wherever possible. Attracting, acquiring and retaining high-quality team members is key to this success.

3. Accelerate innovation

Innovation and transformation in your business can be enabled quickly and easily via the cloud. Building brand new digital products, adding new features, pivoting your business in response to changing market conditions or customer needs, reaching more customers and delivering them a better experience—all of these things should not be constrained by draconian procurement processes or hardware supply chain delays. Empower your teams to be self reliant, convert their great ideas into reality and experience real, high-value outcomes for your business in weeks not months or years.

Ease Worries and Empower

Too often, department leads only discover their line-of-business application is moving to the cloud when someone involved in the change project contacts them to let them know log-in details or that there’s an immediate action for them.

Not surprisingly, for many managers, there’s little understanding of what any of this actually means for their work. A typical response to this might look like:

“I don't have any skills for this move and feel completely unprepared to change the way I work. It might save money but learning new things will slow me down and make me less productive. I can’t see how it will make my business application more stable and resilient? My team and I have enough to think about with our day jobs!”

All of those worries and fears need to be allayed well ahead of time, not only to effectively support team members, but to save the project team spending valuable time answering questions, engaging in discussions and doing the legwork for them.

Instead, what we need to do is embrace the right communication strategy. This means articulating the ‘what’s in it for me’ angle to a critical system owner. This might sound like this:

“This change will give your teams more skills and it will make them more effective. Through these specific improvements, we’re going to make your critical business system more reliable and resilient so you’ll have less outages and downtime to deal with. As a result you’ll be able to dedicate more time to doing the things that make a really positive difference for the business and that are motivational for your team.”

Answering the ‘why’ for more than just the C-suite is the best way to take your people on this transformation journey. When we feel empowered to be part of the solution, we’re less likely to fear change or put up roadblocks along the way. With any sort of transformation, there might be the worry about jobs and job security, so these fears need to be allayed.

In actual fact, digital transformation enables better ways of working and enhanced scalability, which offers lots of opportunities for upskilling. By first understanding changes and challenges, your team will be more likely to empower themselves to adapt, learn and contribute to the digital transformation journey in a more meaningful and positive way.

Summary: It’s About The People

When it comes to understanding how to best communicate and implement digital transformation changes, ‘What’s in it for me?’ should be your starting point. Remember, while it might be a digital transformation, it’s ultimately all about the people.

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