When we think of digital transformation, our minds are usually wired to emerging technologies. And to the Covid-19 pandemic that has quickened the change to a digital-first world. But somewhere, we are missing the pulse of this transformation, isn’t it? What if I claim that digital transformation has more to do with people than technology? You can onboard any technology, but what you make of that technology hinges on the people you have onboarded in your organization. My strong bets on a digitally empowered future are to develop the next generation of skills, bridging the demand-supply gap in talent and constantly upskill and reskill your human resources.
Digital transformation is about adopting a Glocal strategy- global in design yet local in delivery. It’s as much a cultural transformation as a technology overhaul. The most brilliant innovation is pointless if we aren’t skilled enough to use it. What’s more, the most stunning human minds turn less useful if they aren’t paired with tech. It’s this people-tech synergy that delivers delight with digital transformation. The outbreak of Covid, a Black Swan event, spurred enterprises to shift gears quickly to a digital-first world. Technology turned the saviour and the enabler to shake off the inertia of a pandemic roiled global economy.
Still, I feel, technology alone is not the cure-all for every crisis. How do you tackle challenges born of technology that technology can’t solve on its own? You turn to your people. As a tech evangelist, I believe that before investing in technology, you invest in the people who make technology work. Take, for instance, the raging war for talent. With enticing pay and perks, you can get the best hires in the technology realm. Still, you need skilled managers to draw the best out of them to outperform the competition.
Just think, what separates a Google, a Meta or an Amazon from the rest? Not the brute cerebral force of their data scientists but their engaging and game-changing data-driven cultures. For every enterprise aspiring to mine the big gains of digital transformation, data is not just the oil but the oxygen too. Our human resources are the common denominator yet the most vital one in this math of change. This change has to be top driven and transformational, not only transactional. The top leadership needs to reengineer processes whenever needed and groom people who act as the company’s compass and guardrails.
In the pandemic, the technology companies have unlocked the crisis of opportunities. To quote Winston Churchill, “We should never waste a good crisis”. Some companies have been quick to spot the opportunities beneath the veneer of this crisis. They understand that in a digital-first world, customers expect anything and everything to be available with a click, swipe or tap. Customers want world-class products or solutions and their delivery with alacrity. McDonald’s, for example, didn’t slog to make fast food faster. Instead, they aimed to bridge the customer experience gap by elevating the customer’s Total experience (TX). By improving the in-store experience, drive-thru, and home delivery systems. Digital technologies like interactive ordering units, Artificial Intelligence (AI) drive-thrus and smart mobile app experiences helped McDonald’s to innovate the customer journey.
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AI is playing a signal role in the digital transformation of services. AI-powered chatbots offer the first customer interface and answer basic queries, thus reducing the wait times needed to touch base with a human agent. In the insurance industry, inexpensive IoT (Internet of Things) sensors give insurers access to a wealth of data informing industry forecasting and claim reviews alike. Behind every trick of technology is a human mind ticking the clock of change. It’s our people who will drive and deepen digital transformation. Let’s stay invested in them, for a disruptive journey ahead.