Feel the fear and go digital anyway!

To paraphrase Susan Jeffers, business decision makers “Feel the fear” when contemplating the huge change and potential havoc that digital innovation could wreak on their established culture – but it’s time take a deep breath and “Do it anyway”.

Digital Transformation and Managing Change

A report published this week by Accenture concludes that managing change the biggest barrier to digital innovation. Although the report focuses on the role of CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) in businesses across sectors and continents, the lessons are that the future for communication across functions is to make the step away from legacy systems on internal platforms towards flexible e-services in the cloud. “New technologies need to be piloted and adapted from experience.” says the report. “They must be agile and modular, allowing a test, learn and “fail fast” approach.” That’s a big move out of the executive comfort zone, but an essential step to future proof a business.

The dangers of a two-speed digital society

It’s been well documented that there is a real danger of social exclusion where individuals are digitally excluded. As the UK government’s Digital by Default policy moves forwards, there are resources dedicated to bringing the digitally disengaged online whether they are nine or 90, and a recognition that digital transformation is a Good Thing.

However, there’s an equal problem in business. This arises within a single organisation where one discipline is aching to exploit the potential while another is holding back, or in a wider group where members from different places are bound by their individual employer’s policies. It is a situation which can only end in frustration and lost opportunity for a business who loses out to a digitally engaged competitor, or an individual who loses out on personal and professional development and knowledge exchange and therefore compromises the service that their employer is able to deliver. This clash of cultures is explored in “Poles Apart: Challenges for business in the digital age”.

How can you help your organisation?

Accenture’s report highlights the need for digitally engaged executives to gather support across functions, so that the risk-averse understand and embrace the rewards, and the people who are in a position to take advantage of all the digital space has to offer can do so without fear of the leash being tightened or the technology tripping them up. Prepare your arguments and aim to achieve an open culture, an appreciation of all that is possible, a realistic understanding of the genuine security risks, and up to date technology. The future is in your hands!