Why digital transformation is failing: the lack of communication
Digital transformation seems like a silver bullet. While it is necessary for success, it does not guarantee success for distributors. Businesses don’t always manage change effectively when changing their business with technology. If they don’t introduce digital tools into their organization with effective communication, their chances of success with digital transformation drop.
What is digital transformation?
In a post-pandemic environment, traditional operations are no longer enough. Consumers expect businesses to deliver a quality digital experience, including faster communications, a fast checkout cycle, and the ability to shop online. Additionally, consumers expect sellers to stop being “order takers” and instead provide them with tangible advisory value.
Most businesses recognize the need for digital transformation. Indeed, according to a Gartner survey, nearly 70% of business leaders have recognized that their business needs to become more digital to remain competitive.
Although many companies have devoted significant resources to digitization, a large part of them have seen a low return on investment. So why are these companies struggling after spending so much time and money on digital transformation? For many, the difficulties start with a lack of communication.
Why are communication and change management important?
Change can be intimidating for employees, especially when it involves their day-to-day operations and workflow. Many will be concerned with learning new systems, while others may think that technology is completely replacing them. Your team must be fully integrated for a digital transformation to be successful; they need to clearly understand why things are changing and how it will benefit them.
According to CNBC, in 2018, several large companies such as Ford and GE invested $ 1.3 trillion in digital transformation. Unfortunately, after many of their initiatives failed, around 70% of their investment was wasted. The two main reasons why these companies have not been successful are poor change management and lack of communication. Managers did not explain why this change was essential and did not provide staff with appropriate support during the transition. Because of this, these companies could not use their new tools and their investments were wasted.
To integrate new technologies into the culture of your company, communication and clarity among the staff are essential. That’s why we’ve put together three communication tips for a successful digital transformation.
Make a clear plan
In a interview with Dirk Van Dongen, Senior Advisor of Proton.ai and retired CEO of the National Association of Wholesalers-Distributors (NAW), he explained why digital transformation is vital for distributors and how to manage this change. He pointed out that businesses are facing an unprecedented number of supply chain disruptions, such as COVID-19, geopolitical issues and more. To counter these obstacles, companies must develop and communicate a clear plan to their team.
“It is a significant strategic challenge to create an innovative plan that has clear objectives and measurable results. It’s important to do it just so that you can stay in the game. Today’s best practices are the table stakes. They don’t get you where you need to be in this changing world. You have to innovate, but you have to understand what it means in real terms, ”said Van Dongen.
Your staff needs to have a clear understanding of where digital transformation is taking your business and how it will impact them. If they understand that this transition will benefit them – rather than complicate or replace their jobs – they will be more engaged and willing to learn.
Promote open communication
Communicating your goals to your team will require careful planning. One email or one meeting will not be enough to keep everyone up to date with the changes. The way you communicate information about your digital transformation should be educational and engaging. Otherwise, your team might ignore or forget your post.
As you prepare your message and strategy, keep these elements in mind:
- Learning style – People learn and absorb information in various ways. Tailor your message to reach everyone – visual learners, practical learners and more.
- Workflow – Your team is busy, so be sure to consider their workflow and tailor your post to make sure it’s relevant to them. If your team is overwhelmed with other tasks, they may forget what you have to say or ignore it.
- Delivery – No shipping method will leave an impression on everyone. When communicating with your team, use different delivery styles such as in-person meetings, digital messages, and interactive projects.
As your employees discover and adapt to these changes, be sure to foster a culture of open communication between your management and team members. Employees will adapt to digitization more easily when they can share concerns and ask questions.
Understand that this process takes time
Digital transformation will not happen overnight. Change is a process, not a project. As the global business environment evolves towards digitalization, your business must continually evolve.
According to a MIT investigation, “Where CEOs have shared their vision for digital transformation, 93% of employees believe it’s the right thing for the organization. But barely 36% of CEOs shared such a vision. “
Ultimately, your team will be what makes or breaks your transformation. You need to convey your goals and help them understand what’s to come. This process may be slow at first, but by fostering a culture of communication and understanding, your employees will have the tools to adapt to anything.