How to Design Professional Change in the Digital Age

How to Design Professional Change in the Digital Age
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Designing professional change initiatives for the digital age is essential for modern organizations.

Research from IDG demonstrates many of today’s organizations are transitioning to digital.

  • In their 2018 State of Digital Business Transformation report, they found that:
  • 89% of organizations have adopted or have plans to adopt a digital-first strategy
  • 37% of organizations have already started integrated a digital-first approach
  • However, 45% of IT leaders claim that they are still in the early stages of becoming digital companies
  • And only 7% of respondents claim to be enterprise-wide digital businesses

This demonstrates a massive industry trend.

Organizations clearly recognize the need to transform, yet most companies clearly have a long way to go.

Yet why the focus on digital?

Why Professional Change Programs Must Be Digital-First

Digital transformation is the top priority for many organizations.

A study from Forbes found that:

  • 50% of its survey respondents viewed digital transformation as the top priority
  • 51% made investment in new technologies their top priority in the next two years
  • 40% stated that new technology was the top driver of digital transformation

These priorities show that enterprises clearly feel the need to develop a digital change strategy.

Yet the Forbes report showed similar results to the IDG report.

Many organizations reported roadblocks that were holding them back from change:

  • 40% felt cross-functional teams were not involved enough in developing strategy
  • Roughly half of respondents claimed that IT developed and implemented digital transformation strategies
  • Only a third of business functions are prepared for digital transformation

Clearly, these two studies agree that digital transformation is a must – and that more needs to be done.

These trends suggest that more changes are coming.

And for most organizations, this means that change management will play a critical role in upcoming years.

How to Create a Digital Change Strategy in 3 Steps

A digital change strategy is the best way to ensure your company can compete in the digital age.

By focusing on digital-first thinking, you can develop a change initiative that benefits both your organization and your employees.

Here’s how:

Innovate

Innovation is a key ingredient for any organization that wants to thrive in the digital age.

Technology and innovation go hand-in-hand, and a digital-first approach can be applied to:

  • Products
  • Business models
  • Operations
  • The customer experience
  • Branding

And many other areas.

Becoming truly innovative means making innovation a part of the organization itself – paying lip service is not enough.

Here are a few ways to integrate innovative thinking into your organization:

Create a permanent department of innovation. A team of innovators can be part-time and cross-disciplinary. Or they can be a dedicated research and development department. The more resources you can devote to this department, the more it can contribute.

Accept ideas from across the organization. Everyone should be encouraged to contribute ideas. Some companies even go so far as to devoting a certain percent of company time to innovation … “working on the business” instead of “working in the business.”

Instill innovation into the values of the organization. Promote innovative thinking loud and clear. Do this by weaving it into your corporate values, your communications strategy, and your internal marketing. This approach can help you can gradually influence the company culture toward an innovative mindset.

Transform

Digital transformation is the buzzword of the day – and for good reason.

Digital technology is altering the world at an unprecedented pace.

In the past few decades, we have seen entire industries upended. Some have reaped great rewards, while others have suffered grave defeats.

In order to survive, it may be necessary to undergo a significant transformation.

The research mentioned above can serve as a guiding beacon:

  • Develop a professional change program that is digital-first
  • Implement new software and technology that offer competitive advantages
  • Ensure that every business function is ready and able to transform

Do these things, and your business stands a better chance of success in the years to come.

Disrupt

Truly ambitious businesses don’t just adapt – they disrupt.

Naturally, not every business is suited to overturn its competitors.

However, digital technology can offer significant advantages to early adopters.

If your company has the right mindset and the courage, then technology can offer a big edge.

Early adopters can:

  • Stand out from their competitors
  • Improve a variety of business functions with technology
  • Gain an advantage in their marketplace – or even dominate and disrupt it

As mentioned, disruption is only fit for the most ambitious, forward-thinking companies.

It may be difficult to obtain buy-in or support, especially from more conservative cultures.

However consider this: if your company doesn’t leap forward, a competitor will.

Conclusion

Today’s world is becoming digital-first, whether we like it or not.

To survive and succeed in this economy, organizations must transform.

The best way to do this is by adopting a professional change program that is digital, innovative, and even disruptive.

Do so, and your organization can secure a foothold in tomorrow’s marketplace.

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.