Why businesses are late to digitally transform (and why it’s not a good thing)

Published on the 19/02/2020 | Written by Esker


Late digital transformation_Esker

Kicking status quo to touch…

Blogs and articles about digital transformation today frequently address the fact that even though the benefits of process automation are glaringly obvious, a vast majority of businesses have yet to digitise. So if business leaders are well aware of the ways automation can lead to lower operational costs, higher staff productivity and job satisfaction, and stronger relationships with customers and suppliers, why aren’t they making the switch?

The reluctance to change
Human brains are hard-wired to value certainty. And what makes people feel more uncertain than change? Things like comfort, complacency and fear are the biggest culprits of sidelining digital transformation plans. But by postponing digital adoption, business leaders are doing their organisations a great disservice.

“It can seem like you’re dishing out a lot of capital and disrupting operations to simply make certain jobs faster and easier to do.”

The reality of the business landscape today is that competition is moving quickly. And while your organisation doesn’t need to be the first to change, it’s possible to reach a point where it’s too late to change and recovery is virtually impossible.

Here are a few of the biggest hindrances to digital transformation:

1. The status quo problem: “This is how we’ve always done things”

Disrupting the status quo is usually an unpopular idea, and unfortunately, it’s one of the main reasons companies refrain from digitising processes. Just because something has worked thus far doesn’t mean it will continue to work in the future. And in the case of automation, there’s no denying that it will soon become a requirement for businesses to stay relevant.

2. The upfront costs

Paying for software that does the same things humans can do seems like an unnecessary cost, right? Not exactly. While the upfront costs of automation may seem intimidating for business leaders, the cumulative cost-saving and efficiency-boosting benefits significantly outweigh the initial cost of the technology.

3. The misunderstanding of what automation solutions do

When the full capabilities and advantages of AI-driven automation aren’t completely understood, it can seem like you’re dishing out a lot of capital and disrupting operations to simply make certain jobs faster and easier to do. However, the benefits reach much farther than just automating repetitive tasks, including improved onboarding, data management, tax compliance, customer service, supplier relationship management and much more.

How leaders can help embrace change and encourage support
Business leaders must help staff understand the need for transformation and the importance of changing now rather than later. Therefore, having an effective communication plan is essential for getting employee buy-in and for overall digital transformation success. Here are some tips for making the value of digital adoption crystal clear to everyone within an organisation.

1. Communicate the need for change

To drive the necessity for change, leaders must focus on communicating the “why” behind it. Making it clear that digital transformation is a “must” rather than a “should” to all levels of the organisation is the first step in getting company-wide approval. When staff is ill-informed and left wondering whether change is really necessary, cultivating support becomes much more difficult.

2. Be clear about the change process and end results

Of all the change that can occur in an organisation, implementing an automation solution is by far one of the most intimidating for staff. By being clear and concise about how exactly the implementation process will be executed and how everyone/every process will be affected in the end will help to ease anxious minds and even build excitement about the changes to come.

3. Provide positive examples early on

Stories, facts and examples of other digital transformation successes help create connections and feelings and have a way of alleviating fears around change. Sharing stories about other companies that have gone through similar changes and came out on the other side more efficient, agile and profitable can help to disarm any reservations toward change.

4. Provide support and encourage involvement

By nature, people support things they help create and are apprehensive about things they don’t understand. That’s why encouraging participation in the change process and offering continuous training and support can help ease the resistance that may be created by fears of incompetence.

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