Integrative Improvement Blog

The integrative improvement blog discusses and provides commentary on the latest topics in the business performance improvement sector.

Why leadership, and not technology, drives digital transformation

Why leadership, and not technology, drives digital transformation

Discussions around an organisation’s digital transformation journey are generally focused on the associated technologies. But digital transformation is not all about the technology. Yes, it certainly shifts the mindset of how organisations create value for their end customers or manage complex global value chains, but none of that would be possible without skilled and agile employees.

Most people, by their nature, are not resistant to change. They’re sceptical about it. So with all the talk around digital transformation and how it will affect an organisation’s future, it’s only natural for employees to express concerns such as:

  • How is this going to impact me and my colleagues?
  • How will my job role change or will I still even have a job?
  • Do I have the right skills to succeed in this new reality and how will my company help me learn?

Clearly communicating your plan and vision for the organisation is just as important as coming up with the strategy. There’s nothing worse than being kept in the dark, so it’s critical to be transparent with your workforce. Remove the fear, uncertainty and doubt as early as you can because without their buy-in, you won’t get far on your transformational journey.

As a start, consider addressing the following questions:

  • What is digital transformation?
  • Why is our company undergoing a digital transformation?
  • What are the new technologies that will be introduced to our daily work?
  • What impact will the digital transformation have on our employees?
  • What is the timeline for the digital transformation?
  • How will the company prepare employees for the upcoming changes?

Although the executive team will be the ultimate sponsor of how this information is disseminated, your line managers and team leaders should also be equipped with the requisite knowledge to discuss these and other key points with their teams. Employees will likely feel more comfortable hearing about the impact of such activities from their direct managers. Sharing a timeline of activities may also allow them more time to adapt.

Focusing on the right level of change is essential

New digital technologies are seen as enablers of better, more streamlined business operations that boost competence. So the best place to start the change process would be where digital transformation can deliver the most benefits and add the most value in your quest for growth. For example, in manufacturing, increased competition has forced a change in processes, and, in some cases, a change in business models too.

There’s no single road map for a successful digital transformation. The path is different for every company and industry. However, there must be a concerted attempt to get employee buy-in from the start. It’s therefore imperative to have leaders with the right mindset and motivation to guide the digital transformation process.

From ERP to cloud computing, new tools and platforms are creating unprecedented opportunities to connect with your customers and improve internal processes – but only if your organisation is agile enough to transform and adapt to these new digital realities.

So when considering the true value of digital transformation, don’t just think in terms of efficiencies and cost savings that are born of smart technologies. Instead, think about the real value of a transformation: freeing up your people talent so that they can focus on high-value, high-impact work that helps your company grow even faster.

Remember, it all starts with happy, well-informed, inspired and engaged employees. Their happiness translates to happy customers, which translates to happy shareholders. Digital is the means to get you to your end goal, but transformation is an enterprise-wide activity – and people should be your first priority.

Preparing for a digital transformation requires careful planning and assessment. Find out why operational maturity is the key to digital readiness.


The TRACC framework helps organisations build standardised and integrated good practice and performance capacity across their Plan, Source, Make and Deliver functions. Simultaneously it accelerates their collaboration and alignment capacity to build world class end-to-end value chains, enabling the organisation itself to become the ultimate source of sustainable competitive advantage.


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