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Telling the Digital Transformation Story – The Communications Impact

Digital transformation is not just about employing new technologies; a successful implementation requires a strategy that puts the people – your employees – at the center. In this article, Carol Fitzgerald Tyler, Global Senior Practice Leader for Organizational Change Management at Infor reiterates how through clear communication, employees will embrace these additions in a way that drives corporate success

Digital is the transformative force leading businesses toward the future. This transformation is profoundly accelerating the renovation of business activities, processes, competencies, and models to fully leverage the unique opportunities of digital technologies and their impact across society in a strategic way. With both present and future shifts in mind, organizations must have a competitive digital strategy to unlock 21st century growth opportunities and drive unparalleled customer loyalty. By differentiating the customer experience at the heart of the ecosystem, inter-dependencies are defining how organizations can benefit and thrive from digital transformation.

This shift to transform is nearly impossible to execute without the uniform belief in a vision for growth or a trusting support network. Digital transformation projects are also often referred to as “IT” projects. These projects actually are not fully about using technology – they are very much about using the “softer” areas of business skill sets such as communications and emotional intelligence. Impeccable communication is the leading best practice to ensure digital transformation programs and implementations are successful. Building strong rapport and regular communication with program teams underpins every project.

Defining the vision that will transform an organization can be challenging, however equally important is the need to effectively spread the message of digital innovation. Communication is often cited as the number one best practice for both business transformation and change management and can lead an organization to transform in imaginative and successful ways. Leaders can encourage teams to be relentless innovators by communicating both the organizational vision and the acceptance of the occasional failure.

It is the responsibility of leaders to share the vision and show the way to stay the course. No need for lengthy speeches or emails; clarity and succinct mission statements are sufficient. In a 2014 Forbes Insights article about digital implementation, 51 percent of the executives cited support from leadership as the top reason for a successful business transformation initiative.

When organizations lack clear goals, progress is difficult to achieve and sustain. Visionary communication describes the goals, recognizes accomplishment, and establishes a company-wide mindset of continuous improvement and innovation.

To support a robust communication strategy, companies need storytellers – those who can help weave the innovative messages throughout the organization that support the digital transformation vision. This invaluable skill set showcases the human experience required to support emerging digital services. Effective storytelling is made possible when executive and program team leaders share their vision and connect designs, definitions, processes, and information about functionality with key stakeholders as soon as decisions are made.

People want real-time communication that is both timely and relevant, and it is this people-centric engagement that creates the basis for open communication. Messages designed to address various organizational levels let people know that they are being heard and acknowledged. Leadership acting in an authentic manner can convey transparent messages, and foster a culture of trust between leaders and employees. People expect to co-create change programs and communicate with leadership in a meaningful way.

A strong communication strategy can create the vision necessary to show the transformation team, and the entire organization, how to move forward. Setting a consistent vision is the first step to driving organizational acceptance and adoption of change. Companies with a clear vision are on average more effective in their efforts, and as a result, more profitable – in fact, data-driven organizations have shown to be 19 times more likely to improve their return on investment (ROI).

Major digital transformation initiatives can last for months or even years. To sustain such a program, it is vital that the entire organization understands the program, its direction, and the incremental progress being achieved. Setting progressive milestones will not only enable the team to bring the initial vision to life, but will also challenge them to search for new opportunities for growth and success. Ineffective or inconsistent post-launch communication can result in ambiguity, a lack of confidence in the process and ultimately a lack of motivation within the workforce, just when it is needed the most.

By embracing internal digital transformation and communicating the value of investing in structure, methods, leadership and tooling will position organizations as investing in the ultimate customer experience. The revolution in digital transformation embraces the current state of a situation, and then provides an avenue to create a new and innovative journey that transforms who the business is and how it engages with the world. Impeccable, visionary, and timely communications can lead to the integration of key learnings that emerge from that process, setting forth the course that has the possibility to transform organizations and the people involved.

communications
digital transformation
organizational culture
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