Change management vs. digitalization – what’s the difference? And why does it matter?
In today’s economy, change management is seriously impacted by all things digital.
In fact “going digital” is one of the biggest undertakings of today’s modern organization.
According to Gartner, 42% of CEOs report their businesses are undergoing digital transformation.
Let’s define a few of today’s “digital” terms, then look at why they’re so important.
“Change Management vs. Digitalization” Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg
While we’re on the topic of digital, let’s dive a little deeper.
Let’s knock a few more important terms off our list as well, above and beyond “digitalization” and “digital transformation.”
After all, today’s change managers must be digital-savvy.
Please note that since all of these terms are new to the English language, some may use them differently.
Depending on who you ask, their meaning may slightly differ.
However, investigate thoroughly and you’ll find that these are the currently accepted definitions, at least by most:
- Change Management – The directing, overseeing, administering, and supervising of business change initiatives.
- Digitalization – Enabling a business to take advantage of digital technology.
- Digitization – When a business transforms certain aspects of its business from analog into digital, such as “digitizing” paper records by scanning them.
- Digital Transformation – Digital transformation refers to the holistic transformation businesses undergo when they become digital.
- Digital Adoption – Adoption refers to the acceptance and implementation of a digital technology into an organization.
- Digital Workplace – A digital workplace is a work environment that takes advantage of digital technology, work culture, and workflows.
- Digital Culture – A digital culture refers to a culture heavily influenced by today’s modern digital trends, such as customer-centrism, transparency, online collaboration, and all things digital.
As we can see, digitalization is just the tip of the “digital iceberg.”
But it’s a very important iceberg … especially to today’s change manager.
So let’s see what’s under the surface.
How the Digital Iceberg Relates to Change Management
So why is understanding “digital” so important to change management?
In short, it’s because today, digital drives change.
Understanding the nature of digital trends, technology, and culture is very necessary for today’s change managers.
Here are a few benefits to understanding digital:
Understanding digital technology – and how it impacts companies – improves change program success rates.
But if change managers and leaders understand digital technology, then they gain big advantages.
Understanding how digital impacts businesses, change professionals can identify:
- Potential stumbling blocks related to digital technology, such as the fear of technology
- Other fears related to digital transformation, such as the fear of change
- Benefits of digital
- Ways to promote change initiatives and obtain buy-in
To name a few.
Change managers can get better results from their initiatives.
Understanding the benefits of digital technology boosts success rates and results.
A deeper understanding of technology will help change leaders choose the right technology and make the most of their change programs.
A change manager who is afraid of digital, though, will experience the opposite.
This is common sense – lack of research, interest, or passion will only generate lackluster results.
As mentioned, digital drives change. Especially in today’s competitive economy.
Understanding digital is, in fact, a prerequisite for staying competitive.
It’s well-known that digital technology can make you more competitive. And when every modern company is digitizing, digatalizing, and digitally transforming…
Companies that avoid digital get left in the dust.
The truth is that today’s economy is digital, inside and out.
And in this ocean of technology, understanding digital is necessary to stay afloat.
For anyone involved with change, it’s important to realize the competitive advantages of digital technology.
However, there are also disadvantages to not understanding digital.
Change programs will produce poorer results, be less successful, and less strategically solid.
3 Simple Steps to Getting on Board with Digital
Hopefully you’re not feeling overwhelmed by the tsunami of digital terms we’ve thrown at you so far.
If so, don’t worry.
There are a few simple steps you can take to stay current with digital trends:
1. Study up on digitalization, digital transformation, and digital adoption.
There is plenty of reading material online related to digital transformation.
Many blogs, such as this one, devote lots of time to explaining the digital world.
And many of today’s modern online magazines offer up insight into the latest digital business practices.
2. Learn about digital culture, digital workplaces, and digital trends.
As mentioned, digital is about more than just technology – it’s also about culture.
It’s of course important to understand how digital technology changes our daily workflows. But it’s equally as important to understand cultural shifts.
These changes impact the way people interact, do business, and do their jobs.
Understanding the digital workplace will help you create change programs that sync with today’s digital world.
3. Take advantage of digital change management tools and solutions.
Digital technology offers plenty of solutions for today’s savvy change manager.
Digital adoption platforms, for instance, assist with employee training, onboarding, and technical support.
Advanced project management solutions cut costs, save time, and reduce headaches.
Conclusion: Savvy Change Managers Are Digital Change Managers
By now, it’s hopefully clear that the fabric of today’s economy is digital.
Without digital technology, culture, and insight, it’s impossible to survive … let alone thrive.
To keep up, get ahead, and stay ahead, every change professional should explore the digital iceberg.
Those that do will get better results from their change programs and their careers.
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.