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The Importance of Change Management in a Digital Transformation

Updated: Jan 12

A brick wall with a curly arrow painted on it.

Companies increasingly find that every initiative is an innovation in a digital world. More companies rely on digital capabilities to deliver customer value, optimize processes, increase agility and drive revenue. It’s no surprise that 90 percent of company executives say they have some kind of digital transformation initiative underway. Despite its importance, ignorance of managing change prevents many initiatives from delivering the expected results. 70 percent of change management initiatives fail because employees don’t buy into the new way.

Change management helps organizations understand the impact of new technology, processes, roles and skills on people within their organization, build a communication plan for change, and create a structured approach to manage organizational changes caused by projects or programs.

The transformation of a company requires leveraging the power of people, processes and technology

Change management is a key component of any digital transformation. It’s about ensuring that people, processes and technology work together to benefit the business and its customers. In other words, change management is not just about people. Organizations must recognize that change management is as integral to digital transformation as technology. Change management is an integral part of any digital transformation program. As with any major change, organizations need to recognize that change management is as integral to digital transformation as technology.

Digital initiatives are a business imperative

In today's fast-paced, digital world, a business can't afford to go it alone. The vast majority of companies have adopted a digital transformation strategy to help them navigate the complexity and uncertainty of their environments. And while every organization has an individual approach to this change, they all have something in common: they need to manage it properly to realize the benefits they’re after.

The importance of change management in digital transformation cannot be understated. In fact, according to recent research from IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV), if you don't conduct effective change management for your digital initiatives at every stage of their development—from ideation through execution—you could be putting your entire business at risk.

Change management is an essential part of any digital transformation program

Change management is not a one-time activity or a project to be completed at the end of your digital transformation program. It’s an essential part of any digital transformation program, and it's not something you can leave until after you've made all your other major decisions.

If you're starting a new business or even just launching a new product, change management should be integrated into every aspect of the operation: from strategy to operations and everything in between. Change management isn't even a phase or process; it's more than that— it’s an ongoing journey that requires constant attention and proactive action for you to succeed at making changes on your terms, rather than having them forced upon you by someone else's agenda (or lack thereof). Every digital transformation initiative involves some level of change and risk.

In addition to the changes in technology, business models, and business processes that are a part of every digital transformation initiative, many other changes must be managed. These include:

  • Changes in team members: You may need to replace some old hands with new ones or add more people as your team grows.

  • Changes in management strategy: Your organization’s leadership and management style may change as you move forward with your digital transformation initiative. This can affect how you manage expectations and make decisions about changes both within the company and externally with partners and customers.

  • Business operations: As you come up with new ways of doing things using your new technologies, these will have implications for how things get done on an operational level. For example, customer service is handled differently than before because it's now automated by AI rather than humans.

Change management is an integral part of any digital transformation journey

Change management is an essential part of any digital transformation program. Digital transformation programs are designed to change how we think and do things, but change is often difficult for people. This can be when they might resist new ideas or feel uncertain about how things will work out. Change management helps you manage these expectations to get your transformation started on the right foot.

How to implement a change management strategy effectively

The question is not whether your team needs a change management strategy but how you can implement one effectively. When done right, change management can make all the difference in determining whether or not your digital transformation succeeds. The important thing to remember about change management is that it is not a one-time event but an ongoing process requiring constant attention and monitoring. This means that changing mindsets won't happen overnight—it will require consistent reassurance from everyone involved for people to get on board with new ideas and methods of doing things.

In addition to this top-down approach, it's also important for teams across your organization to work together on building consensus around changes before they're rolled out by leadership teams higher up the ladder (if necessary). This way, everyone understands why these changes are being made and their role in implementing them successfully within each departmental unit or area of focus within their respective fields/areas of expertise.

What will be the result of your digital transformation journey? Will it be successful? Your ability to convince employees and stakeholders to adopt new processes and tools is the answer.

Contact us if you need help with your Change Management, or set up a Call to learn more about working with Quicksilver.

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