In 2019 change management will continue to grow. And it will continue to grow more digital.
That is, digital technology will continue to fuel the changes that drive today’s economy.
Here are just a few highlights regarding change management and technology, according to International Data Corporation (IDC):
- Digital transformation spend will reach $1.7 trillion globally. This is up 42% from 2017.
- They also predict that businesses will view business differently – placing more emphasis on data value, customer engagement, and platform participation.
- By 2020, 25% of “Global 2000” companies will have developed in-house training to compete more effectively in talent wars
- By 2019, 40% of digital transformation initiatives will take advantage of AI
Based on this research, we can presume that technology will continue to drive change even more than it already does.
2019 Change Management: Trends and Forecasts
Change management is focused on people.
After all, people must change in order for companies to change. It is the employees who learn new skills, adapt to new work processes, and engage in new activities.
Without their support, transformation cannot succeed.
However, today’s economy is clearly driven by digital technology.
And as we move forward into the 21st century, technology will only play a bigger role in organizational change.
In 2017, Gartner noted that 42% of CEOs had already begun digital transformation.
This inordinately large number clearly demonstrates the rapid pace of evolution in today’s economy.
And it also demonstrates that digital technology is a big driver of that change.
Businesses that wish to succeed will need to find better, more effective ways to manage change.
Who Will Succeed in the Next Decade?
When it comes to change management in 2019 and beyond, only the adaptable will survive.
This places a burden on change managers to become more efficient and successful. However, it also opens up many new opportunities.
Let’s examine a few characteristics of companies that will succeed in the next decade’s digitally demanding marketplace:
Agile companies are those that can react and respond quickly.
Perhaps some readers are familiar with “agile” thinking in the IT world. This approach to software development requires a nimble approach to development.
Rather than taking a “waterfall” – or all-at-once – approach to development, it emphasizes adaptability, collaboration, early delivery, and continual improvement.
This approach to software development reflects today’s “digital” organization. One that is customer-centric, responsive to its environment, and constantly growing.
Companies that adopt and embrace digital technology won’t just survive, they’ll thrive.
The bottom line is that digital is the lifeblood of the new digital economy – without it, companies will not succeed.
Embracing digital includes not just tools, but also culture. That is, it embraces modern ideas that arose with technology, such as:
Digital work methods, asynchronous workflows, and online collaboration
- Adaptable and able to change
- Willingness to take risks and think outside the box
Today’s digital culture is a pendulum swing. It’s a swing away from traditional hierarchies, waterfall product deliveries, and monolithic entities.
The more digital a company is, the better it will be able to survive in the next decade.
One important aspect of the digital company is customer-centrism.
Amazon is one example of a customer-obsessed company.
It doesn’t put executives at the top of its hierarchy … it places the customer at the top.
This, it can be argued, is one of the prime reasons for the company’s success.
Customer-centricity is one of the central tenets of today’s digital company, which focuses heavily on:
- Customer care and customer service
- The customer experience
- Customer-driven products and services
Change, in other words, should begin with the customer.
Companies should treat customers as their bosses, listen to them, and give them what they want.
In the coming years, expect this trend to continue.
Innovation lies at the core of today’s successful company.
The vast majority of today’s dominant tech companies, from Google to PayPal, succeeded through digital innovation.
Rest assured that tomorrow’s technology will only continue to disrupt.
And today, we are already seeing the tip of tomorrow’s iceberg in change management:
- Artificial intelligence is being used to offer insight into employee onboarding programs
- Analytics are helping optimize customer experiences
- Chat bots are being implemented in a variety of areas (including digital adoption platforms) to reduce customer frustration, improve user experiences, and cut costs
Change leaders should ask themselves hard questions about their own change initiatives … because only that embrace innovation will succeed in tomorrow’s economy.
Conclusion: Tomorrow’s Success Depends on Digital Change, Today
As we saw at the beginning of the article, digital is driving change.
Digitally driven change has been occurring for decades now, and it is set to continue. The best, most successful change managers will be those that ride this wave into the next decade.
To become a successful digital change manager, look for cutting edge change management tools, software, and platforms.
Because, as mentioned, we are already seeing state-of-the-art tools that make change management easier, more productive, and more effective.
Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.