Digital Transformation: Culture eats strategy for breakfast

A quick Google search on “digital transformation” will show you a plethora of articles, toolkits, and guidance on the subject. It is the latest buzz statement that should be adorning or underpinning your business strategy, capabilities, and company culture.

Many businesses are struggling to sufficiently ‘shift’ their approach to ensure alignment with their digital goals. That is why the buzz statement that has been coined refers to transformation. Transformation of your business approach is what is required – plain and simple.

The main impediments to success in the digital age is down to one or more of the following factors:

» Appetite to risk taking

» Collaboration

» Customer centricity

My recent blog article explored the benefits of focusing relentlessly on the customer journey and how this has underpinned the development of our Cost Clarity platform. But customer centricity is only part of the equation. Cultural change is also a requisite to ensure digital success.

Our journey has not been about creating a new vision or set of values for our people to adhere to – although these certainly have their place. By including all team members in the development process, we have ensured that they are invested in the outcome. We have done this at every level and have not limited this to individuals in key ‘digital’ positions.Failing to align the strategic direction of our digital transformation (in this case, Cost Clarity) with the values and behaviours of our team would have been tantamount to self-sabotage. We may have been successful in launching our new digital product, but without the support of our people, we would have struggled to gain any traction in the market.

Our people represent our business to our clients. If they are not engaged and do not believe in our digital journey, then how can we expect our clients to believe it? Without people engagement and belief, we would have only succeeded in, at best, delivering a strategy that would never have moved beyond the planning stage or, at worst, we would have made a significant investment in a product that no-one uses or cares about.Arcadis’ Cost Clarity has been developed from the ground up and in detailed consultation with our people. From the very first workshop, where we brainstormed what digital transformation could like for our team and our clients, and through each of the stages of ideation and iteration, we have developed individual user stories and beta tested prototypes.  We have deliberately ensured that our people have been involved and engaged throughout the whole process.

This approach has enabled us to develop a platform that is both cognisant of how we work and deliver an outstanding result for our clients while also bringing improvements and efficiencies to, not only our own processes, but also how our clients engage with the information and data that we provide. It provides the very best of both worlds.

People, at their very core, are often hesitant to change. Unless they feel that they are part of the process and have been collaborated and engaged with, they will  push back or disregard the innovation entirely. This is, fundamentally, why so many initiatives fail.

This underlines the fact that digital transformation requires far more than technology to succeed. It involves change, not only at the business level but also at the individual employee level.  It is, ultimately, about teamwork and collaboration – both of which require people to participate.

Matthew Mackey

Director - Cost & Commercial Ask me a question
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