Ellen Daley on Digital Transformation: its definition, its challenges, and how companies should be using it to move into the future.

Following on the heels of our 2021 kick-off event with Matthew McConaughey who discussed finding inspiration, giving back, and making your own path, we sat down with Ellen Daley, Acorio’s former CEO and now Sr. VP of Acorio, an NTT DATA Services Company, to talk through the ins and outs of Digital Transformation, and how and where companies can find inspiration for success. From defining the expansive concept to explaining its most common challenges, Ellen breaks down Digital Transformation in a way that demonstrates its power as a necessary business force and people force for the year ahead and beyond.  

We’ve already discussed the importance of Digital Transformation in relation to COVID-19, but what about its role in 2021? Click to see our video below, or keep reading to see Ellen’s insights.

Planning for Transformation by Defining Our Future 

Today’s customer thinks and acts differently than their predecessors. The evolution of mobile devices and our ability to get what we want anywhere, at any time, has created a massive opportunity – and challenge – for businesses. It has put the onus on our digital channels to be the face of the brand, and that is significant for every functional group within an organization from human resources to sales and product management. 

In my view, Digital Transformation is all about aligning talent, technology, processes, and outcomes to enable cross-functional initiatives with the goal of creating a digital-first organization that serves the people in and around it.  

It centers on connectivity, so while disparate digital functions – like ERP solutions, which solve complex financial issues, or CRM technologies that allow us to digitally capture our customer interactions – have advanced our firms mightily, they lack the necessary visibility to enable cross-functional initiatives. In turn, this increased connectivity ramps up efficiency, which improves customer and employee satisfaction, and drives up profitability.  

Embracing Change through Accountability 

While many individuals assume Digital Transformation initiatives are racked with technical challenges, it’s most commonly the opposite. In fact, most problems associated with Digital Transformation have nothing to do with digital, rather, they stem from changing hearts and minds of people.  

In other words, Digital Transformations guarantees that employees are going to do their job differently. Unfortunately, the majority of humans are averse to change and this heavy reluctance is actually Digital Transformation’s biggest challenge.  

In order for firms to secure buy-in from their team members, leadership must first identify a North Star for what these Digital Transformation efforts will bring. Then, they must actually follow through with the promised execution.  

When Digital Transformation efforts fail, we’ve seen that it’s usually related to teams not having enough time and respect put into consideration the people who are closest to the work that we’re changing. A lot of time and effort has to go into persuading employees to adapt because most people, particularly those in high talent areas, don’t respond well to management just telling them their work will change.  Organizational Change Management (OCM) is a crucial component of any and all Digital Transformation efforts, and firms must be very intentional when laying the foundation for a successful rollout.

Where to Next for Digital Transformation? 

Most companies today are still doing an immense amount of manual effort. When I think about Digital Transformation, there remains a tremendous opportunity for growth. Here are three examples of where I think businesses can resolve busy work simply by figuring out the processes behind the following areas:  

1. HR support 

There is no reason today that employees should have to deal with sub-par employee experience, having to search a random question into a portal or wait to find out about valuable information that affects your life like benefits or how to add a new baby on your insurance. Employee Experience should serve team members proactively so they have the information they need, before they need it.  

2. Customer Workflows.  

Although we solved the problem of answering our customer service phone lines more quickly, most companies still report low ratings for their customer support services. This is because we’ve ignored the workflows that extend beyond the veneer of answering the phone. After that first step, the customer’s request still has to work through various silos before anyone can actually resolve their problem. Connecting these siloes is one of the largest opportunities for Digital Transformation. 

3. Technology.  

Technology is the DNA of how we do the business of IT service management. It’s how we give white glove support so people everywhere can do their jobs more productively, from giving them the correct equipment when they onboard, all the way to making sure they get prompt responses to HR or IT requests. Right now I see a tremendous opportunity for how we can further optimize technology to help clients. 

See the slideshare on LinkedIn 

Acorio’s EXPAND Executive Insights is a monthly series where we share stories from clients, executives, and teammates who challenge each other to take on the world of what’s coming next in business. If you’d like to catch up on previous segments, you can find them here. Ready to get started on your Digital Transformation? Acorio’s RFP Template is the perfect starting point to begin planning your next project.