Research conducted by EY reveals that 85% of senior leaders have been involved in multiple significant transformations within the last half-decade. Furthermore, two-thirds out of those surveyed declared to have experienced at least one unsuccessful transformation within this period. This statistic is both staggering and unsurprising at the same time as companies continue to accept such failure rates as a necessary part of progress. In any other setting, such performance would be considered utterly unacceptable. 

While digital transformation is undeniably a crucial element in achieving success and growth for businesses today, it’s important to keep the human factor at the center of all endeavors. In fact, while successful transformations can amplify negative emotions by 25%, those that underperform have been seen to heighten them exponentially, up to 130%. 

To ensure that transformations are successful and remain human-centered, here are 4 tips that companies should look to follow. But first, let’s understand what is meant by a human-centered approach.

What is Human-Centric Digital Transformation? 

Bergen Community College recently underwent a digital transformation that exemplified the power of considering people during technological upgrades. In order to replace an aging document management system, the college also evaluated how their students and staff would interact with their new technology.  

As a result, they digitized and automated many routine student services, which drastically reduced foot traffic to the student center by 50%. This enabled staff to focus on providing quality service instead of managing long lines at the front desk. Estimates suggest that this single transformation is saving time and resources totaling nearly $1 million for the college – demonstrating just how powerful it can be to consider people when mapping out digital initiatives.  

This example serves as a useful reminder for IT leaders everywhere: when undertaking any kind of digital transformation, it is crucial to consider the reactions of employees and customers. Companies should determine how technology can meet the evolving expectations of stakeholders, as well as their processes, in order to provide a successful digital-first experience. Taking a human-centered approach to digital transformation initiatives will ensure that technology is used to truly transform people’s lives for the better.

For organizations to successfully transform, they must be willing to reconceptualize and restructure with humans as the focal point. This is essential in order to upgrade the transformation from failure to success. 

4 Transformation elements 

At the core of a successful digital transformation, let's consider this Transformation Pyramid. This model is built on four key pillars: people, processes, technology, and data.

At the core of a successful digital transformation, let’s consider this Transformation Pyramid. This model is built on four key pillars: people, processes, technology, and data. It’s important to note that each layer of the pyramid has its own nuances and should be addressed accordingly.  

  • People: People are the foundation for any successful transformation effort. It’s vital to understand how employees and customers will interact with the new technology. This means understanding customer needs, assessing employee skills, and determining operational preferences. 
  • Processes: Organizations should also evaluate their existing processes to identify areas where transformation can create synergies or improve operations. The goal is to ensure that the organizational structure supports the new technology.  
  • Technology: Technology should be seen as a facilitator, not a savior. Companies must assess the technologies that best fit their goals and resources, while also determining which technologies can facilitate change in the most efficient manner. 
  • Data: Data is essential to digital transformation success. Companies must identify where data will be used, how it will be collected, and how it should be stored and secured.

Research conducted by CEB has shown that only a small percentage of companies possess a learning culture that encourages employees to independently pursue knowledge and share it in ways that support the mission and objectives of the organization. Furthermore, only 20% of staff members demonstrate effective learning behaviors.  

There is also an evident lack of understanding amongst CEOs regarding the true impact of learning initiatives. As such, there is an urgent need to improve the learning culture within businesses in order to promote growth and success. The implications of having a positive learning culture are far-reaching; from improving employee performance and creativity, to creating a more innovative and adaptive workforce. 

7 approaches to enhancing the human experience through digital transformation: 

  1. Improve Communication and Collaboration:

Digital transformation must also focus on improving communication and collaboration. Introducing enterprise-wide messaging platforms such as Slack, Microsoft Teams or Google Hangouts can foster more effective teamwork and improve productivity. Additionally, companies should consider investing in technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) which can automate repetitive tasks and free up valuable time for employees to pursue more creative projects. 

2.Provide the appropriate tools: 

No code/low code development platforms, visual development tools and cloud services can help to create a collaborative work environment for users of all skill levels. Companies should invest in the right tools for their staff to ensure employees have access to the latest technology when needed.

3. Enhance the Employee Experience:

Digital transformation should not be limited to customer-facing operations – it should also focus on improving the employee experience by creating a more agile and flexible work environment. Leveraging cloud and mobile technologies can enable employees to access up-to-date resources, increase collaboration and share insights faster. Such technologies can also be used to provide employees with real-time feedback, allowing them to continuously grow and improve.

4.Dedicate time for learning: 

Organizations should prioritize learning initiatives, both formal and informal. Establishing a strong corporate learning culture can help employees stay on top of the latest technologies, trends, and best practices. Companies should also provide staff with resources such as online courses and webinars that can be accessed at any time.  

5 Engage Customers Digitally:  

By engaging customers digitally, companies can create a more personalized customer experience during each stage of their journey. Through digital channels such as mobile apps, websites, emails and social media, businesses can gain valuable insights into the interests and preferences of their customers. By utilizing these insights, companies can create targeted campaigns that reach out to more relevant audiences and drive higher levels of engagement. 

6 Automate Processes:  

Automating processes can help streamline operations and create a more efficient workplace. Introducing automation tools such as robotic process automation (RPA) and workflow automation software can help reduce the time taken to complete tasks, freeing up valuable resources in the process. 

7. Leverage Advanced Analytics:

Advanced analytics technologies such as Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be used to process large amounts of data quickly and accurately. This can be used to improve customer service, identify opportunities for improvement, and make more informed decisions. Additionally, businesses can use advanced analytics to gain insights into customer behavior which can help them develop better products and services.  

Growth Mindset. Time dedication. Incentives to learn: Steps toward success 

These approaches should be complemented by a growth mindset, an understanding that employees must continually build upon their skillsets in order to remain relevant and competitive. Companies should dedicate time for learning initiatives and create incentives for employees to strive towards personal development. Additionally, organizations should provide resources such as online courses and mentorship programs to help motivate staff members to reach their full potential.  

By implementing these strategies, companies can ensure they are well prepared to meet the challenges of digital transformation and stay competitive in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape. With the right tools and resources in place, businesses can unlock opportunities for growth and create an engaging work environment that will enable employees to reach their full potential.