Synergy between culture and technology fuels purposeful business transformation

85% of decision-makers feel that technology implementation empowers employees to deliver value for their organisation, but people and culture are critical drivers.

85% of senior technology decision-makers in the UK believe that technology implementation is an empowering force when it comes to employees delivering value for their organisations, according to research from Telstra. However, prioritising culture, alongside technology change, can lead to significant increases in revenue. The study was commissioned to explore the relationship between technological and cultural elements of business transformation and also revealed that technology implementation can be used as a tool to both reinforce (77%[1]) and change (82%[2]) culture within their organisation - highlighting the importance of designing transformation strategies with technology and people in mind.

Respondents stated that technological change (43%) was the most important driver of successful business transformation. However, the study also recognised the importance of people and cultural change, with 36% of technology decision-makers in the UK highlighting it as the most critical. Put together, respondents estimate that prioritising these two elements could increase revenue by 44% over the next year. The findings suggest that, alongside technology, culture and people-centricity are critical components of business growth and success, which need to be aligned with the company’s digital transformation strategy in order to deliver real value.

The findings around transformation drivers recognised change was increasingly proactive, and driven from within. In fact, technological change and people/cultural change were considered more important to achieving successful business transformation than external business drivers, such as macro socio-economic events, competitor activity and analyst recommendations.

Despite recognition of the importance of technological, people and cultural change, there is, however, still some uncertainty about how these factors influence one another. Respondents were split on this issue, with 21% suggesting that changing culture enables the adoption of technology, whereas 19% suggested that it is technological implementation that drives cultural change. 19% believe implementing technology and changing culture should be done in tandem to deliver purposeful business transformation. The findings suggest a synergetic relationship between technology and culture, with one defining the other or complementing each other to deliver business transformation, growth and success.

Respondents were clear however, that training (29%), staff resourcing (27%) and fostering collaboration (26%) are among the cultural factors that are considered most important to achieving business transformation goals.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK has experienced unprecedented levels of digital transformation. However, investing in technology alone is not enough to deliver purposeful business transformation. Culture and people are also key considerations. When asked which factors are the most important in affecting transformation, respondents ranked a number of people and culture-related options - company culture (20%), open culture (18%), flexible working (18%) and hybrid working (17%) were amongst the most important.

Speaking about the findings, Rob Robinson, Head of Telstra Purple EMEA, said:

“Our research shows that without proper consideration of people and culture, digital transformation is destined for failure. At the very least, there is a high risk of a protracted transformation and marginal gains from what should be a facilitator of enormous benefits for the business.

“The findings show that prioritising culture alongside technology change can exponentially increase revenue – combining the two can generate gains of 44% according to our respondents. At a time when we’re facing significant economic uncertainty and the threat of a global recession is looming large on the horizon, it is essential that employees are empowered to deliver value for their organisation.

“Digital transformation programmes have cost organisations millions, but the key ingredient to successful change has always been the people in the business. Culture and technology are two sides of the same coin when it comes to business transformation, and unless employees buy into the strategic intent of the programme, then executing it will be like trying to put a square peg in a round hole. Designing transformation strategies with people in mind is invaluable to achieving your goals.”

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