Managed properly, major changes such as digital transformation can drive significant benefits across an organization. But without appropriate direction, there’s a danger change could damage the reputation of an organization’s brand identity and customer service.
Could I start by asking you to fold your arms across your chest? Do it naturally, without thinking about it.
Now fold your arms again—only this time, make a conscious effort to reverse the position of your arms. The arm that was tucked inside against your body should now be outside, and vice versa.
How is that for you? The chances are it feels, well, wrong. Uncomfortable. It’s not how you usually do it. Switch back to normal now, and it will feel so much better. Why? Because it’s familiar. And that’s the point I want to explore here: change can feel awkward because it takes us into uncharted territory. Why would anyone want to go there?
Time to take control
The answer is obvious, of course. We ought to want to go there because if things don’t change there’s no possibility of improvement. Folding your arms is pretty trivial—but in business, no matter how daunting the prospect of change might be, it should be seen as an opportunity, as something to be steered rather than simply endured.
For instance, when I started at Capgemini in Krakow 15 years ago, the market we served in India, China and other parts of Asia-Pacific was quite small. Client invoices used to arrive for processing in large boxes, and we waded through them, page by page.
Over time, the paperwork diminished as the technology changed—but our role changed too. What began pretty much as data entry became something much more valuable for our clients and much more fulfilling for us. We were no longer merely running processes, we were improving them.
Since then the pace of change has accelerated, and now we’re in the age of digital transformation it’s stepped up several gears. At Capgemini, our Business Services team works with and for several major international enterprises, and their degree of preparedness for these fast-moving developments can vary quite a bit.
Some of them have never embarked on major exercises like these and have few, if any, appropriate internal skills. But they recognize they need to make the move and are happy to take their lead from us.
Others have their own understanding and experience. They’ve already embarked on the transition, and they look to us to broaden and deepen their strengths in new phases of their development; for instance, by introducing enterprise-wide transformation that enables various processes to deliver to their full potential.
Leading from the front
These processes are becoming embedded in enterprises. For example, robotic process automation (RPA) is being built into the process (Finance, HR, Supply Chain, etc.), and at the same time, organizations are flattening and becoming less hierarchical. These developments have the potential to change the spirit and character of businesses and their workforce teams. That’s why in my view it’s so important for senior executives and managers to recognize this possibility and give people the tools to address it.
Once again, it’s a change that needs to be steered rather than merely allowed to happen, because if it’s not directed, there’s a danger it will be to the detriment of brand identity and the organization’s customer service. In short, leaders need to set an example. If they appear to be lost or indifferent there’s no reason to expect anyone else to act any differently.
Properly managed, the difference major changes such as digital transformation through intelligent automation make can be of significant benefit—not just to themselves and their customers but to the people they employ. I’ll be covering the opportunities change can bring to employees in my next post.
In the meantime, here’s another small physical exercise for you. If you have any personal items on your desk—photos of holidays or of the family—try putting them in a different order, or moving them to the other side of your keyboard. It may feel a little odd, but you’ll be seeing them with fresh eyes.
On a broader scale, isn’t this the major opportunity change can bring?
To find out more about how Capgemini can establish and maintain control of your digital transformation, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to learn more about how Capgemini’s Business Services can transform change into a significant opportunity for your organization.
Also, read about the employment opportunities digital transformation can bring.