A Human Centric Approach to Digital Transformation
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been with us for decades and most of us have experienced some form of it whether we realize it or not.
The buzz surrounding services such as ChatGPT has once again elevated the AI discussion and is focusing mostly on the technology. We seem to be forgetting that digital services and digital transformation are really all about people, human beings. While AIplays a role in the solution it is not, however, the most important aspect.
Most important are the human issues that are central to successfully driving any transformation process. Once you understand that digital transformation is an ongoing process, that people are the focus of any initiative, and that technology is but part of the story, you can then begin to truly create a successful digital transformation initiative.
Such an outlook will help you to make smarter choices when constructing workflows, creating methodologies and building playbooks for your people to follow, and in selecting the technologies that will help you succeed for the long haul. This outlook will also enable you to realize that in most cases technology is the easiest piece to solve.
Conversely, making technology the centerpiece of the solution most often leads to the failure of digital transformation initiatives, which more often than not, leads to wider business failure. Studies have documented that 70 percent of digital transformation initiatives fall short of their intended outcome.
Furthermore, most digital transformation shortfalls occur because businesses view transformation as a singular event that once complete, will solve the company’s problems for many years to come. The reality is that transformation is an ongoing initiative that requires consistent application of strategy as well as financial investment.
Finally, one must take into account the needs and behaviors of customers, company culture, and the leadership and the broader workforce. All of which play an absolutely vital part in determining the outcome of any digital transformation initiative.
The Digital Revolution is Swift and it Never Ends
Digital Transformation is not new and has been around for a long as we’ve had technology applications in business, at least a few decades. What has changed is the rate of change and the pace of innovation. We’re seeing breakthrough technologies coming out seemingly on a daily basis, just over the past several years we saw blockchain, 5G, biometric security, Web 3.0, the metaverse, and now ChatGPT and generative AI.
This rapid pace of change creates an element of confusion for many business leaders who ask, where do we start? What are the relevant technologies to apply?
Disruptive technologies can create exponential growth and scale for companies, but at the same time, they challenge businesses to determine where to put their limited resources and limited investments.
Driving Positive Growth and Successful Transformation
The most successful business are great at aligning digital transformation initiatives with business outcomes which is something that is not so straightforward to do.
If you think about implementing any technology such as AI-based solutions or blockchain or Web 3.0 or the metaverse, how do you align the technology solutions to a commercial outcome? How do you measure success?
Being able to link initiatives to positive changes, can be key to ensuring you achieve the buy-in and human support for whatever tech-driven changes you are hoping to implement. It's a step that's often overlooked but one that is critical in achieving the desired outcomes. Making the solutions usable and agile is the other key aspect of continual transformation.
When companies think about digital transformation as an ongoing process they come to understand the need for agility and the need for speed to productivity. To accomplish these goals the more savvy companies are utilizing an abstraction layer for business processes to make their employees more productive, their customers and employees more engaged, and their business more agile and ready for change.
One of the easiest and most flexible ways in which to provide an abstraction layer is through the implementation of a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP). Because of their built-in human centric features, DAPs provides an abstraction layer that is much easier for businesses to understand, mange, and use. The focus then becomes one of workflow and business methodologies and less of the technologies themselves. An abstraction layer enables the business people to focus on getting business done and quickly adapting the business to changing market conditions and economic fluctuations. The emphasis is on the people using the software whether they are employees or customers and the focus is more human centric.
Agility and Usability as Key Goals
With an abstraction layer, the technology underneath may be changed, modified, or replaced with much less impact on the people, their work, and their user experience or customer experience.
The overall experience is tailored to the human rather than the other way around. Most businesses acquire a technology and then work to get the humans to adapt to the tool and then change the tool if there is tremendous resistance. Hence the tremendous shortfall of most transformation projects.
The more successful outcomes are realized when the humans can achieve their goals, take satisfaction in their work, and are motivated to do more. These qualities deliver a clear competitive advantage to the companies that understand the benefit. Agility and usability work together to create a highly productive continuous improvement cycle.
The business does better as the agility it develops through the combination of user experience (DAP Layer) and technology stack enables the business to retain engaged and productive employees and a relevant experience for engaged customers. It allows the business to quickly adopt new technologies, such as artifical intelligence, experiment with, and then fully implement the tech more effectively and with greater results.