Organisational Culture is Foundation for Digital Transformation

You might be ongoing a major digital transformation program that is focused on creating systematic ways to manage your dealers, customers and sales organization. You might be planning to deliver a transformation program that includes a renewal of a CRM system, pricing tools, marketing automation, or customer portals etc.

One example: It is easy to create a new pricing configurator, but it is much harder to get dealers to start using the new tool to price products and services. Cultural change or making changes in the ways of working is much harder than just implementing a new physical tool. You might ask a question from your management: What is the purpose of the configurator? Is it to control dealers or to help them to make quotations faster and more precise? If the purpose is to control the dealers, you are most like to fail with the new tool. If the new pricing configurator is not designed solely to help the dealers, you will lose your development focus and a lot of good usability for the dealers.

How much effort should you put on creating a new digital culture compared to creating a new pricing configurator or a new CRM system?

If you spend 10 working years in creating the tools, how much should you calculate in making a real change in the new way of working? I believe that you should multiply this by 7 to 10 times. This is due to the fact that you need to get not only people using the new tools but also develop an organisation that is somehow connected to the new ways of working.

Why you should put more effort in adapting a new culture:

  • Normally, not all of the management will understand the benefits of the new tools and processes. They might continue supporting parallel new processes and old ways of working. This creates confusion in the organization, double work and a lot of frustration.
  •  If you have used the past 20 years in using excels, you will probably just want to keep maintaining it. Taking away something that you have grown with might be difficult to many. This is often because real benefits of the change are not fully explained. Therefore some might still see the old way as a more effective way of working.
  • You might have dealers and re-sellers in the value chain. They might be selling also many other brands. Training dealers in the new ways of working needs a lot of good facilitation methods.

Ways to Create Digital Culture

There are probably more than hundred different ways to change the culture, but here are some that I have used successfully.

  • Create a customer driven culture. Drive passionately customer experience and customer insight throughout the entire company.
  • Over-communicate about the meaning of change and future vision.
  • Enhanced ways to share knowledge, information, documents and data are fundamental elements of change. The use of structured data, advanced document management, various messaging/ chatter functionalities.
  • Management needs to lead the way. Train the management first in the new ways of working.
  • Create super users or key users for each new digital process or a tool. Create and communicate a clear role for the super users. Utilize the ‘train the trainer’ philosophy with the super users. Make them your ambassadors.
  • Arrange workshops to facilitate the needed change. Place a sufficient effort in easy to use and visual training materials
  • Get HR involved to create learning paths and new digitally empowered role descriptions.
  •  Build up a data culture. Show examples of new ways to use, combine and automate data. Try to automate as much as possible standard management reports.
  • Focus on business model change and not in delivering the new fancy tool.

The power of digital culture is almost always underestimated. Because it is not tangible, it is emotional and it is about what we believe, feel and breathe. The only way to make the digital transformation is to change the culture.

Originally posted on LinkedIn.


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