How to build a digital transformation culture in your organization leveraging data.

Photo by Derek Thomson on Unsplash

If you feel that your digital transformation initiatives are stuck in the planning phases, you are not alone. Digital transformation is not a one-off project on an executive’s roadmap but is a constantly evolving culture. So let’s make digital transformation possible in your organization.

Cultivating an agile mindset

Culture is the game and it is the most difficult thing to change. Culture maintenance is as strenuous as culture change. For an executive who is leading a digital transformation in the organization, culture change, should become an agenda item forever and maintain it forever. An executive needs to monitor culture like any other metrics 24 x 7 x “Every Minute”. 
Companies often fall into the trap on not investing time effort and money on changing the culture and this happens when the leadership is focused on quantifiable ROI based metrics. This happens because ROI based metrics are easy to quantify. CEO’S, CMO’S, COO’S, CFO’S all should believe and invest time and money in changing the culture and make the organization ready for an agile mindset and when they all stop speaking the language of finance is when the digital transformation actually starts happening. Finance metrics are equally important but they have to be measured separately. Management commitment to drive digital transformation with a secured investment will kickstart innovation at a much faster rate than waiting for your employees to build a business case around digital economy adaption. Paying emphasis to build people talent and digital competencies should be a focus area for a digital transformation leader.

Communicate, Communicate & Communicate and then launch

Communication to the employees why digital transformation is required in an organization and how will it be done is also important. Putting big posters and innovative messages of digital revolution across an organization are proven to be effective for many companies. Creating a digital transformation playbook and making it available openly in the organization can help as well. The ideal place for it is the internal employee portal or the global communications platform for the organization.
Setup a launch date and encourage all employees to be a part of it.Launch digital transformation as a lighthouse project. The term lighthouse project refers to a model project that aims, besides its original purpose, to have a signal effect for numerous follow-up projects as they look towards it for inspiration and guidance. In companies, this term is used for projects intending to change direction or restructure. This project has to be always on and the road map of this project should influence the rest of the projects in the organization. Build a cross-function team across the organization to deliver this project. Make the employees with the longest duration in the organization as change agents and advocates.

Adapt Open Source Technologies

The new breed of innovative startups uses new agile business models and modern technologies like cloud computing, Blockchain, Real-time analytics, Deep Machine Learning. Most of these technologies are based on open source and that is the way the organization should start the digital transformation. These solutions are Free, don’t cost anything rather than to prove a business case. Some organization will need enterprise support but leading open source technologies to provide support element and is cheaper than monolithic software licensing agreements. I do agree that maintaining the status quo for business operation and keeping the lights on should be the top priority for executives but to balance out the budget between operations and innovation will drive transformation.

Data-Driven Culture to build personalized customer experience

Keeping Customer at the center of every decision you make in the organization and using data as a vehicle quadruples digital transformation in an organization. 
Amazon, Google, Airbnb and Netflix and many startups that grow exponentially are pioneers in transforming insights into data-driven action.
Airbnb leverages data to improve their search and services but also to improve their hiring processes. Airbnb characterized data by giving it a human touch: Voice of customers. They translated data coming out of customer interactions as the voice of customers and made this as part of their culture. They invented a term — Datum. A datum is a record of an action or event, which in most cases reflects a decision made by a person. They build customer journey’s leading to a decision to say “make a booking” and then learn from. It is a metric that actually tells you what your customer like and don’t like. 
This is a perfect example of how you can make a direct connection of your customer with the data you generate in your organization. The organizations that connect their data with customers and then make the voice of the customers as the key metric, as well as a culture, wins Just wins. 
Another example, Amazon uses data to automatically personalize user experience by leveraging customers past purchases. This will lead to a definite outcome for Amazon, that is increased sales. 
Netflix leverages customer interaction data from their app to present them with movies and show that they like and this will again lead to a definite business outcome that is increased user engagement. In recent years Netflix has become a giant in the creation of original content and data is a key ingredient in deciding what type of content they generate based on user engagement metrics.
Leveraging the organization data to make a business decision is easier said than done. 1–2–3 of data to achieve maximum value is :
Make an inventory of your organization’s data. It is a difficult task but has to be done once only. Doing it correctly with all stakeholders involved is critical ( again a culture thing to achieve )
Leverage on “low hanging fruits” first. Take the datasets which are most easy to get hold of and can create the most impact. The example is clickstream data. This data can be acquired easily but can make the most value to a business, as described earlier. 
Make data transparent in your organization. This is the most difficult thing to achieve especially if you are in a regulated industry like healthcare, finance etc. But if you have your employee’s sign all proper agreements that most of the organizations do, there is not too much to worry about.
If these steps are done correctly, make your employee’s responsibility to move the needle. Gain insights and leverage data to make business decisions.

Kickstart your digital transformation journey today.