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Harvard Business Review: Better Digital Transformation Depends on Aligning with How People Will Work

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many organizations achieved several years’ worth of growth in areas such as supporting new digital behaviors, increased remote work, and improvements to operations.

Digital transformations are an opportunity for companies to reshape how employees will work in the future, with the big question for CEOs being how they can make sure they hold on to the benefits of digital transformations while also getting back to the good things that exist in the physical world.

In November 2021 when asked about the goals of their organization’s digital transformation, 63% of the 294 business leaders surveyed by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services mention improving the efficiency and productivity of operations yet only 54% say they have seen gains in that area to date. Proving that for these change efforts to succeed, executives have to balance a number of priorities.

More specifically, executives must set a clear vision and goals, solve pernicious challenges, give the project effective oversight, and be strategic with technology and cybersecurity.

Initially, digital transformations should be about improving efficiency and reducing costs, while in the medium to long run, it should be about serving customers better. Achieving these objectives will be easier if executives also focus on the basics of change management, including both aligning employees on the strategic direction and aligning the project’s various roadmaps so that everyone is working in the same direction. Companies that get these steps right will be more likely to realize the full benefits of their transformation, including more satisfied employees who can better help customers.

Another directive for executives on how to lead digital transformations is creating teams in which employees from various functions work side by side in a more agile, responsive way and empowering these employees to help shape the company’s new identity.

Digital transformations have the potential to take a company’s outdated playbook and rewrite it for the technology-enabled future. But agile, nimble, and digitally savvy companies need employees who are encouraged to stay alert to new digital opportunities for the business.

Doing so can keep the company oriented toward the possibilities and challenges of the future.

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