Organisations often see digital transformation as being all about the technology, which can be a fast track to failure. The firms that are going to truly benefit are the ones that engage the entire organisation (not just the IT department) in the transformational journey and embrace new technologies.
Bringing about these changes starts with people. But internal resistance is one of the most difficult, yet important challenges to conquer. As Forrester argue, employee experience and customer experience are intrinsically linked. Without buy-in and engagement from the board right through to front-line staff, even the most innovative of transformations will be doomed to fail. Ross Timms, Head of Strategy at Rufus Leonard, looks at how accountancy firms can engage their organisation in digital transformation and avoid the common stumbling blocks.
Empower your people to lead the way
By utilising HR as an important resource to deliver these experiences, brands are more likely to succeed. Employee behaviour simply has to reflect the experience you are creating through digital, as they are the ambassadors for making your service better and championing the customer throughout the transformation. They need to understand how they fit into the new operating models that embracing real digital transformation demands, how teams need to work differently and how they fundamentally need to think differently.
Bring people in early
Bring in other business areas early to work on the proof of concepts. It’s important to help your teams recognise how their role adds value to the customer and to the business. Your goal should be to empower your organisation by setting the direction, without prescribing all of the solutions.
Work with the rulebook, not against it
An understandable concern for regulated firms is the risks of changing systems and processes. Regulatory rules can be complex and firms invest significant time, money and resources in complying with them. It’s no wonder that compliance teams often resist change. But government initiatives like Making Tax Digital highlight that digital transformation is key to compliance and firms have to keep pace with these changes. By including your compliance experts early, you can identify and address any potential pitfalls. You’ll likely discover that by making some digital changes, you’ll help your clients save money through productivity gains.
Speak the same language
Find ways to simplify and demystify the terminology used around digital transformation. Using complicated terms, such as Intelligent Technology, Robotic Process Automation and Machine Learning, makes it easy for people to switch off; it’s impenetrable to many. Explain things in simple language, create a glossary if you think you would be useful.
Translate the practicalities of your vision
To effectively communicate with your organisation, consider media that champions the role of storytelling. Create long print scrolls, books or short films to engage and connect everyone within the business to the same vision. Really show them what it will look and feel like.
Support your storytelling media with a framework that translates into design principles and actions – with a roadmap of proof points to execute against. This will help nurture the ongoing belief in the vision internally and externally.
Your key takeaway
Fire up enthusiasm by bringing everyone along from the start. Digital transformation needs to be embraced across the board to deliver the change that will underpin the firms that are going to survive and flourish in the future.
Ross Timms, Head of Strategy, Rufus Leonard