What is the key to driving a successful human-centric Digital Transformation and why?

5.6k views7 Upvotes19 Comments

CIO / Managing Partner in Manufacturing, 2 - 10 employees
The key is always the basic principles of change management. Ensure that the people understand what is happening, why it is happening and how to get to the end destination. Critical to these discussions is answering the question for them "WIIFM" (What's in it for me). The better you can communicate all of this the more successful you will be.
Director in Manufacturing, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
One of the keys that you won't read in the business book, is "What's in in for me?".   In large corporations deployments of Digital Transformation are often translated as "restructuring" or "redundancies" which mean layoffs.  If you are going to be expected to reduce headcount to meet your Digital Transformation ROI and Goals, be honest about it.  Help those impacted employees find other roles within the company.  And for "What's in it for me?" - be sure you can explain how your new software and processes make the workday better for the employee.  If you don't they may "quiet quit" and your project will look like a software and process failure.
4 1 Reply
Vice President of Enterprise Solutions in IT Services, 51 - 200 employees

Does the term "WIIFM" is only meant for employees or does it also goes for investors? If both, do you think it's prioritized to one of them? 

CIO in Services (non-Government), 201 - 500 employees
Consensus!  Involve all departments and job functions to get their input so that you don't inadvertently make their jobs harder.  One thing I consistently see, when I'm called in to help a Digital Transformation project that has gone wrong, is that I.T has not asked for enough input from each functional department within the company.
Worldwide Strategy & Portfolio, Cross Industry (Supply Chain, ESG, Engineering, Customer Experience, Intelligence Automation, ERP) in Manufacturing, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
I am in agreement with  . Often times I have seen entire multi-year multi-national projects/programs with a disproportionate amount of time allotted for organizational change (including training) as a blurb. There is a strong correlation of organization change framework and investment to change/solution adoption. Employee retention at large is associated with feeling importation and connected to the company, organizational change management is the opportunity to spread the message to connect each role to the value of the change weather that be culture or moving to robots in a warehouse. 

An additional component that I would add would be to utilize a process engineering tool at the front end for a look at the business overall. This will highlight priorities for change. This also allows for input from the business functions. Human-centric transformation can look at the persona level  and tailor the path to change. 

Lastly measurement of the changes and the human throughout the journey are important. Get the feedback loop. 

Time to value comes faster with this in place, althouth, this is also a trade off as OCM is often scratched of the budget as companies prepare for changes and default to adding it to part of the project plan itself. 
Chief Information Technology Officer in IT Services, 201 - 500 employees
On myside in education the key to driving a successful human-centric Digital Transformation is to prioritize the needs and experiences of the end users, which are typically students, teachers, and staff. This involves creating and implementing technology solutions that support and enhance their learning, teaching, and work processes, while also considering factors such as accessibility, privacy, and security.

The reason why this approach is crucial is because technology must serve people and not the other way around. When technology is designed with the user in mind, it can improve the overall educational experience, increase efficiency and productivity, and support the development of 21st-century skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, and problem-solving. Additionally, by considering the needs of all stakeholders and involving them in the design and implementation process, a human-centric approach helps ensure that the technology is adopted and effectively used, leading to a successful digital transformation.
Chief Information Officer in IT Services, Self-employed
genuinely put people at the centre of the program. think about how they are feeling - prepare them for the future - sell it - check in often and over communicate.
CIO in Education, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
Agree with   (and since his was the first response I saw). Organization Change Management is the key. Without OCM, you're doomed to fail.
Board Member in Healthcare and Biotech, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
My learning has been that for any change irrespective of magnitude, involve the people whose life is going to change through the project and not subject them to "change workshops" after the solution has been designed. When they co-create the new, the transition is easier.

WIIFM question comes up ever so often especially when the recipients of the new are told about the new and what will change for them. My teams are tasked to go across the layers to observe, question and explore with the person(s) on what they do, how they do, when they do, whatever they do. Assess their challenges and opportunities to if possible weave in their inputs into the new.
Director Global Network / Security Architecture and Automation in Finance (non-banking), 10,001+ employees
One of the keys for me has been focusing not on 'Why' I want some form of transformation but 'Why' someone I need should also want to engage. I have found finding the motivation for the 'human' in Digital Transformation is quite often the hardest part of any transformation. 

Remember when you were a teenager and someone tried to get you to transform (the new word for change) some behavior and the response from a figure of authority was 'because I said so' how did you react? As opposed to being sold that getting good grades can lead to a better job which can lead to more personal success? 
I try to think of every engagement in any transformation where I need support from other as finding their 'Why'.
CEO in Software, 11 - 50 employees
Some great feedback here and   probably hit the most important nail on the head. I would only suggest that having the team believe that you're approaching transformation from a human perspective is the battle you need to win first. One of the best ways of having folks "believe" is through demonstration. While there are a number of ways to demonstrate human focus, one of the most important (IMO) is the notion of "Work yourself out of a job and we'll find you a better one". If your teams believe the aforementioned statement, they are much more likely to be interested in change, rather than fearful of it. 

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