Digital transformation is a team sport


Digital transformation is a team sport


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

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If you have been keeping track of the conversations on digital transformation, then it would be no surprise to know that one of the most critical components of this innovation is people.

People are the business ecosystem, including internal and external stakeholders. Customers, employees, advisors, investors, suppliers, competitors, and regulatory bodies all support and greatly influence our business culture and decision-making.

The customers are the drivers, the reason for the transformation activities. That's because digital transformation is centred on a customer-driven business strategy which includes insights about buying behaviour, usage patterns, attrition rates, feedback forms, testimonials, as well as technological or other innovations in the marketplace that may affect their preferences.

The internal 'players',on the other hand, impact the process in very different ways: supply chain, customer support, and capital investment. Therefore, you must ensure that your team(s) is/are in formation before 'game time' for any digital transformation implementations.


Futurist reports from the World Economic Forum suggest that many organisations, especially in North America, will have to upskill (teach employees new skills) workers by 2022 so that they can survive in the emerging digital economy.

Here are three steps business leaders can take to prepare their teams for the digital transformation:

First, define what digital transformation will mean for the business. Consider it a playbook, of sorts, outlining the moves so that each person understands how the business will change, how their work will be affected, and the part you want them to play. Clarity breeds confidence; therefore, ensure your team is clear about what they can do and who they can contact if things change. For good measure, commit it all in writing. This does not have to be a long email, which they may not read, be creative and consider posters, explainer videos, and even go as far as to create a handbook/guide for the digital transformation of your organisation.

Second, given that the transformation will require new skills, the business should outline a strategic approach to re-skilling the team as needed. The 2018 WEF Future of Jobs Report by the World Economic Forum states that the duration of reskilling will vary by organisation, therefore, Jamaican business leaders should collaborate closely with their HR teams to determine what would work for their company and plan for it. Forbes Coaches Council member, Maureen Metcalfe suggests a great approach to take when designing the team development programme:

“Consider using a combination of online training and mentoring with coaching. I've found this can help provide more flexibility for busy employees, as well as combat the cost of in-person training so that you will still receive hands-on guidance and strong learning outcomes,” she said.

Digital transformation will bring about change to organisations, so the approach to keeping your people properly equipped must keep pace.

Third, you should work to engender a culture of 'skill evolution'. This is where you make it clear to your team that the new normal is the ever-evolving demand for new skills. The leadership must also commit the requisite investment in tools and programmes that make training easy to access on-demand. To establish such a culture, the organisation can coordinate practice sessions that simulate real-world business challenges and allow the team to explore the new skills required to solve them.

Here's a bonus step— don't be afraid to seek external council; this is a very involved process and can be very overwhelming for business leaders and teams. Therefore, seek guidance and assistance from consultants who have specialised skills and experience in organisational change. Many transformation initiatives fail because organisations do not have the capacity to manage the process on their own.

Your people are your greatest asset. They have chosen to be on your team. When it comes to digital transformation, ensure that they are always aware and prepared to bring their A-game.

Kathryn Chin See is a research analyst – innovation at MC Systems. Please send feedback to

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