Your company’s survival depends on digital transformation - Freeformers

Your company’s survival depends on digital transformation

In the third of 10 tips inspired by our Future of Work report Mapping the Digital Future, we look at making digital transformation a priority for creating a successful and future-proofed company.

There is no doubt that digital transformation is imperative for all businesses.

Even businesses that once thought themselves safe from the changing pace of technology are facing their own challenges with the emergence of the “gig economy”, disrupting unlikely sectors such as housekeeping, transportation and hospitality.

As Gi Fernando, founder of Freeformers, says: “The world of work is changing. Flexible working means we can work anytime, anywhere. Automation threatens jobs, while digital transformation creates new ones.”

Consider the gradual demise of video rental giant Blockbuster. It ultimately filed for bankruptcy in 2011 as competitors changed the game, first mailing DVDs through the post to people’s homes and now with Netflix operating digitally to stream into living rooms and onto smartphones and tablets.

As a market leader, Blockbuster was in a prime position to digitally transform its operations but its demise is a stark warning to those who underestimate the importance of transforming your business early before the competition begins.

However, digital transformation is not simply about embracing new technology. Brian Rashid in Forbes says it is as much about a change in thought and organisational culture. He believes digital transformation is all about accelerating business activities, lowering costs and “bringing about a positive change in processes, people and competency models”.

At Freeformers, we believe the ability to show teams how their digital transformation delivers against a strong set of KPIs is a powerful tool. Ensuring you have frameworks and technology in place to catch results, exploit data and create opportunities for growth is crucial to measuring potential success against.

But your data is often only as good as your people. According to Surajit Kar, a principal at management consultancy PwC, transformation must work alongside traditional methods and he believes the key is to create teams at the company’s heart featuring both digital experts alongside employees from the traditional parts of the business.

Companies who fail to do this can very quickly land themselves in hot water. Woolworths, for example, went into administration in 2008 due, in part, to the company’s inability to embrace an increasingly digital drive and expectation from competitors and consumers alike. The new pace set by digital retail giants such as Amazon, coupled with the sudden surge of discount shops like Primark and Lidl, all contributed to the demise of Woolworths as the company failed to adapt to the changing market.

With that said, transforming your business does not mean traditional methods need to be entirely expunged, rather, individuals with differing skillsets need to work together. This can be achieved by employing a reverse mentoring scheme, for example, which encourages your senior employees to learn from colleagues in junior positions.

Such methods often provide the foundation for your digital transformation journey and can help your company and its employees to think differently as you prepare for the future workplace.

Learn even more about digital and workforce transformation by catching up with previous articles from the Freeformers Changing the Future of Work Mindset Top 10 Tips:

  1. Why you must start at the top to change the Future of Work mindset
  2. Create a collaborative culture to embrace digital transformation together