How ready is your business for digital transformation? If your answer is “not very”, the data shows that you’re not alone.
That’s the answer we received from a surprising number of our clients we canvassed in a recent survey. We got a similar response when we polled our audience during a recent webinar on 'Radio's Digital Transformation in a Data-Driven Age'.
Watch the webinar: https://youtu.be/kmusgBFh5ys
I say “surprising” because you’d expect companies in the media and broadcasting space to be ahead of the digital curve. While many undoubtedly are, particularly those who have adopted digital tools such as Fabrik, quite a few others aren’t as ready for digital transformation as they might need to be.
If 2020 has shown us anything, it’s that momentous change is not only inevitable, it’s upon us, whether we’re ready or not.
While we were all busy drawing up our ‘Digital Transformation’ strategies and debating the definition of “4IR”, Covid came along and thrust everyone off a cliff into a digital sea.
Whether your company sinks or swims may depend on how quickly and adeptly you adapt to a new reality, one where formerly fringe concepts like WFH (work from home) have entered the business mainstream and niche products like Zoom have become verbs – much as Google and Skype did for an earlier generation of netizens.
The good news is that there are three practical things you can do starting today that will help ensure your success in this regard. While the experience I draw on is largely in technology and broadcasting, these three principles are relevant for decision makers in most industries who find themselves confronting the reality of digital transformation.
1. Look within
It may not always be apparent, but most members of your organisation can help point the way to your digital transformation priorities.
The younger people are more obviously digitally savvy, having grown up in a world of smartphones, memes and connectivity. But don’t discount your older team members. They’ve already lived through the arrival of - and in many cases helped usher into their workspaces – tech like fax machines, the internet, email and voice conferencing, long before the arrival of instant messaging and video calls.
They bring a wealth of institutional knowledge and expertise as well as solid values and ethics to any discussions around your company’s digital transformation journey, all of which can be the perfect counterpoint to their younger colleagues’ enthusiasm, energy and comfort with cutting edge tech and the latest trends.
This may mean looking at your people through new eyes, employing a collaborative process, and being receptive to ideas from unexpected quarters. But if you’re open to allowing discourse, debate and conversation, looking within will help you find the seeds of change - and maybe also the agents of that change - inside your own organisation.
2. Look without
While change starts from within, looking outwards can take its positive effects to an entirely new level. Internal collaboration unlocks the potential of your own team, but external collaboration can unleash the power of the entire supply chain.
To get started, identify at least one external partner – perhaps a supplier or even a key customer or a loyal advertiser – who would be prepared to take this digital journey of discovery with you.
Try looking at your supply chain in an entirely new way and identifying individual links as potential partners. Digital transformation is a convergence problem and the more partners you have in this journey, the more perspective you can collectively bring to solving problems.
Taking this path requires courage and will push you well out of your comfort zone. It will require a leap of faith and trust in your prospective partners. But the rewards are worth it.
3. Adopt a culture of change
If it wasn’t already apparent, 2020 has driven home the fact that change isn’t a once off, but a continuous, often disconcerting, reality of life. To survive and thrive in this state of constant flux, you will need to adapt your internal culture and structure to embrace change and encourage it within your organisation.
This may involve re-examining the metrics you currently use to measure progress, productivity and other organisational priorities. You’ll need to ask yourself, “Do the things we measure encourage change or do they entrench established practices that may be at odds with change?”
As important as being agile and responsive to change is finding consensus as an organisation on what constitutes good change. Chaos is change, but you want to avoid that. Throwing stuff up against the wall and seeing what sticks is not meaningful change. Nor is change for change’s sake.
Yes, the prospect of transformation can be daunting. But doing nothing simply leaves you vulnerable to unwanted and unexpected changes you haven’t planned for. So, tap into the insights, energy and experience of your own staff and external stakeholders, then have a robust conversation on what kind of change you want.
If our own experience and that of our partners is anything to go on, this will get you out of the starting blocks and further along the path to sustainable digital transformation than many, maybe all, of your competitors.
In a recent webinar on digital transformation in the Radio industry, Anice delves into the subject in a lot more detail, as well as discussing issues like customer privacy and opportunities for real-time rich data in metrics. “You are not flying blind. That’s the digital transformation - it makes reality a lot more accountable.”