#techUKPS2030: Digital Transformation- It’s About More Than Technology

It’s always about people isn’t it? Whatever we do in life, people are at the heart of it. Even in the brave new world of artificial intelligence, it’s all about how people make it happen, how people develop and use it. Digital transformation is no different.

At Arcus we build products to enable people doing the most important jobs to do them better. The kind of jobs that keep our streets clean, our children safe and our communities thriving. So we’re are a team of people helping other teams of people do their jobs better.

It’s easy to ignore the role of people in digital transformation and to get focussed on the technical side but culture is at the heart of any big transformation and digital transformation is no different. If you get the culture right then you are shifting the odds in your favour to a successful transformation. And culture is about people.

Here are the key issues that drive a successful digital transformation.

Leadership

It goes without saying strong and effective leadership is essential to communicate and share the vision of the future. Just remember that leadership doesn’t always have to come from the top.

Good leadership fosters and encourages...

Commitment

Things can get worse before they get better so transformation requires commitment, this might come from having no other option (‘the burning platform’) or by getting people to join a group whose success requires the transformation to be effective. But by whatever means fundamental change isn’t going to happen without commitment.

Of course commitment leads to...

Ownership

When working with new technologies, there isn’t always a manual and you can’t just issue a set of instructions. In this environment, you need people who are ready to take ownership of finding solutions to particular parts of the problem.

With ownership comes responsibilities, including the need to...

Be brave

Digital projects usually use Agile methodologies which champion ‘fail often and fail fast’. So don't be frightened to try new things and foster an atmosphere where people are comfortable of ‘having a go’. At Arcus, we look for people who are prepared to risk failure and we provide a ‘no blame’ culture and a relaxed working environment.

Remember Airbnb did not arise from hoteliers, Uber doesn’t own cabs and in the public sector transformation is often about taking power and choice from within the organisation and giving it to the citizen.

So be brave and.....

Start small- run pilots

The biggest block to digital transformation is often the need to implement radical change at the same time as continuing with the day job so.

Change often evokes fear and one way to address fear is to start small and pilot change within a small area so that the people involved in the pilot can then reassure their colleagues and encourage them to change.

Of course the final issue is always remember to....

Communicate

Not just internally but make sure that key stakeholders understand and support digital transformation and other changes. People worry when change is happening and it is not enough to push them to support it. Making the time to listen to concerns and to help people to realise that their reactions are often mixtures of emotions, some positive, some negative, can be really helpful in enabling them to feel more comfortable and adapt more readily.

If you want to know more about our work at Arcus, please get in touch, we’d love to talk.

It is techUK's PS2030 campaign week this week. To see more blogs like this, please visit the website here.

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