By Jen Sweeney
The near future looks good for digital transformation spending, according to recent predictions. Forrester says digital transformation budgets will “edge up into the trillions.” Likewise, IDC predicts that worldwide spending on digital transformation technologies will exceed $2.1 trillion in 2019.
These are encouraging forecasts, but increased investment is only the beginning of the digital transformation story. It provides the framework for what’s to follow, and raises the critical question of “Now what?” How can organizations get the most out of their increasing technology investments and ensure they remain competitive in the digital future?
The answer is not in technology investments alone—it’s also in skills, people and culture. In essence, it’s in user adoption of new technologies. Without a focus on ensuring employees know how to use the tools, the promises of a modern, innovative workforce will never materialize and digital transformation efforts will fall flat.
In a 2016 study, 350 IT professionals were asked what worked and what didn’t as their organizations introduced new technologies and operational approaches. Of those surveyed, 27 percent believed digital transformation efforts would have been more successful if their organization had made better efforts at ensuring that communication was clear between IT staff and other employees. Furthermore, 22 percent indicated that better employee training was needed, and 14 percent noted a lack of technical support for using the new tools.
Other surveys have yielded similar results. For a survey conducted by Deloitte Digital and MIT Sloan Management Review, researchers determined that some industries—financial services in particular—“have not fully explored what it means to be digital, from the inside out.” Many financial services industry firms have devoted much attention to the customer experience and very little to the employee experience. The effects of this employee experience “blind spot” are tangible:
- In the survey, only 38 percent of respondents from financial services firms said they agree or strongly agree that their organization offers employees the resources or skill-development opportunities they would need to thrive in a digital environment.
- Almost half of survey respondents (41 percent) said they plan to stay at their current organizations for three or fewer years.
Organizations can eliminate that blind spot by cultivating end-user proficiency with software and improving organizational mastery of technology use. This can be achieved with custom, immersive learning programs that are designed to guide end-users of every level through the proficiency skill path and help them build a foundation for digital growth.
When organizations start investing in people, increasing focus on skills development, and improving communication, culture change will follow naturally.