Before the cloud really took off, implementations of procurement software involved on-premise, standalone packages that were costly and time-consuming. Digital transformation helped speed up the implementation of many of these processes, increasing business efficiency and productivity. Yet, this also presented additional challenges that were overlooked because of the perceived value of change.
A key challenge posed by the rapid development and application of technology is the necessity to make sure employees within the business have the skills and knowledge to use it effectively. According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research, 12% of the UK population will lack digital literacy by 2028, which will equate to approximately seven million people. However, this issue can be addressed by investing in this area; upskilling, training and nurturing staff could see UK businesses gain around £1.5 billion.
Embedding digital technology within the organisation
We recently surveyed 200 senior professionals in IT, HR, finance and procurement to understand how they felt about digital transformation within their respective organisations. A huge 85% of respondents believed their job role had changed because of new technology; and, over half claimed they hadn’t received enough training on how to best utilise it. Yet, most of these professionals did recognise the value of the technology, with 70% thinking that it has made their business more efficient.
To effectively carry out the digital transformation process, businesses need a change of culture. This could mean re-evaluating how your organisation operates as well as advocating an inclusive strategy to help everyone get the right training, support and understanding of how you intend to use technologies.
Here are five tactics that you can use to make sure everyone in the business is on the right page when it comes embracing digital technology:
1.Enabling digital confidence -Whether the goal is to increase sales or boost productivity, all employees should be aware of the benefits and impacts of new technology. Employers should communicate this in a range of ways from face to face meeting and electronic reminders. Employees should feel comfortable to ask questions or raise concerns, as this will establish clear lines of communication and empower staff to fully understand how to make the most of digital technologies.
2.Promote collaboration – By getting people to work closely together, businesses will encourage a productive culture and mindset. This is imperative for the successful implementation of a digital transformation project. For instance, procurement and finance can work closer with eProcurement technology to help finance professionals clearly define what procurement professionals can spend, or perhaps need to cut to meet profit margins for the year.
3.Build training packages – Training is imperative to ensure that staff can adopt new technology effectively. This can be done by designing a comprehensive training and development programme that accommodates multiple levels of expertise, and by assessing staff needs on a role by role basis. After you have done this, the next consideration is how to deliver the training. This can be achieved through big show and tell sessions, one-to-one workshops or using a range of resources such as video or written materials to teach staff about digital technology and how it will add value to their roles.
4.Drive an innovative culture – Setting up idea-generation competitions or allowing creative time for teams to think of new ideas, will promote an innovative culture within businesses. Though this will not happen overnight, it encourages staff to think differently about ways of doing things.
5.Digital transformation champion – Having an expert to help guide the process will contribute to successful implementation of digital technologies. This person could be appointed internally or externally, and there are pros and cons to both. Using someone from outside the business will be more objective, whereas someone from within will understand more about the ins and outs of the organisation.
Digital transformation continues to be important to help businesses evolve and grow. It’s important that all employees understand the benefits associated with new technology as this will maximise productivity and increase efficiency. However, it’s imperative that business do all they can to ensure everyone within the organisation is in a good position to take advantage of using these digital technologies.