5 reasons humans are the key to successful digital transformation by Natasha Bougourd


Digital transformation presents an exciting opportunity for businesses of all shapes and sizes to revolutionise the way they work by improving efficiencies, streamlining processes and ultimately increasing profitability. But it’s not always straightforward; McKinsey research suggests that fewer than a third of business transformation projects are successful.

There’s also a misconception that digital transformation is only about the technology, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s essential that businesses recognise the technology comes second to people and strategy.

Artificial intelligence (AI) won’t replace your people

AI is one of the most exciting innovations in the modern business world, with applications from minute activities to business-wide process automation. But thanks to futuristic depictions of AI which focus on humanoids, there’s a miscoanception that artificial intelligence will render millions of jobs unnecessary.

While it’s true that process automation will render some manual, repetitive and time-consuming activities obsolete, artificial intelligence is expected to create 133 million jobs by 2022 compared to the 75 million it will displace (World Economic Forum). 

Take business intelligence, for example. Analytical tools that use AI to intelligently interpret data and visualise it with little to no coding were predicted to spell the end of data analysts and business intelligence developers. Instead, these tools enable employees in all roles to become proficient in data analysis and has allowed the business intelligence analysts and developers to use their time more productively.

Technology will enable your people

Technologies like artificial intelligence will enable your people to do their job more efficiently, which will improve their productivity and allow them to add value and insight that can only come from a human brain.

To look at it another way, your technology and IT setup certainly shouldn’t hinder your people. How effectively can they really operate if your systems are failing, slow or unoptimised? Process automation and AI should be at the heart of your business’ key systems to eliminate time-consuming, low-value but business-critical processes like data re-entry. 

Technology doesn’t have to be flashy to empower your people

In the same way we picture human-like robots when we think of artificial intelligence, so do we associate flashy technologies like virtual reality with innovation and digital transformation. But perhaps this is why so many digital transformation efforts fail. Virtual reality may be transformative for homeware companies, allowing customers to visualise how products will look in their home, but if your business is service-driven, it’ll offer little to no benefit.

Improving the effectiveness of less ‘exciting’ platforms like your business’ finance software (ERP) system or customer relationship management (CRM) solution may be the key to success. How much more effective can your workforce be if their processes are streamlined, straightforward and sometimes even automated in the systems they use every single day?

People, supported by technology, drive your business strategy

Technology isn’t going to define what success looks like for your business. That’s all down to your people. Technology can either hinder or advance the achievement of your strategic business goals. 

Though innovative technology is often perceived as expensive, solutions that improve efficiency are investments that can help businesses save money in the long-term and increase profitability. And with the shift to subscription-based models of pricing, organisations can also save hundreds of thousands of pounds in upfront costs. 

By ensuring your business’ infrastructure is modern and robust and that your key systems aren’t holding your people back, you’re creating the ideal platform for success. 

Security can make or break your business

Organisations which don’t prioritise the health of their IT infrastructure run the risk of system failure or, arguably worse, being the victim of a successful cyber-attack.

Outdated hardware and even software solutions can increase your business’ vulnerability to a cyber-attack, as hackers find their way into systems with security flaws and use newer methods you haven’t yet patched against.

What’s more, businesses who don’t prioritise the security of their solutions are more likely to be held accountable and fined under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Nigel Houlden, Head of Technology Policy at the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), says, “Failure to patch known vulnerabilities is a factor that the ICO takes into account when determining whether a breach of the seventh principle of the Data Protection Act is serious enough to warrant a civil monetary penalty.”

Where do I start?

In order to create a digital transformation strategy destined to succeed, you need to consider your business strategy first and foremost. What are you trying to achieve? Then look at how your people are pivotal to that success and identify how they can be empowered to help you achieve those strategic goals. Technology comes last. But it’s still critically important, especially when it comes to security. 

Not sure where to start? That’s where a managed IT services partner can come in. a market-leading partner will not only be able to help you define your business strategy, but identify the technologies which will enable your people to contribute to that strategy. Additionally, this partner can identify your business’ security weaknesses and even take on your IT support to further unburden your people.

About the Author

Natasha Bougourd is TSG’s Lead Applications Writer, offering expertise in IT managed services for businesses, Office 365, Dynamics 365, document management and business intelligence. 

September 18, 2019


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