The pre-pandemic office might have been the place for watercooler laughs and catching up on the latest shows, but Covid-19 has changed that. According to a Gartner survey, 32% of the global workforce will work remotely by 2021. With people seeking more flexibility and businesses trying to compete, that number is expected to grow.
Digital transformation is undoubtedly on the rise. The digitization of customer interactions and internal operations has accelerated by three to four years, according to a McKinsey Global Survey. Furthermore, digital or digitally enabled products have evolved even faster, by seven years. The number of digitally transformed enterprises is also on the rise. By 2023, Statista, a market and consumer data research company, estimates they will account for more than half of global GDP.
In spite of this, building a digital-first culture can be challenging, and it involves all aspects of your business. During the early stages of digital transformation, you might wonder what digital-first actually means and how it can benefit your business. What does a digital-first organization look like and how can you start taking a digital-first approach?
How does a digital-first culture work?
Integrating the latest technologies alone is not enough to build a digital-first culture. Creating a digital-first organization means combining technology and corporate culture to improve processes, maximize efficiencies, and offer unparalleled customer service.
Business leaders must first embed a digital-first mindset where employees are digitally savvy and comfortable adapting to evolving technologies in order to accomplish this. According to a Gartner survey from 2021, 60% of employees are frustrated by updated software due to a lack of training and support. An engaged workforce is the first step in building a digital-first culture.
A digital-first culture has what benefits?
With the advent of technology, companies across all industries have been able to grow and innovate at an unprecedented rate. Being digital-first is no longer about standing out, but about keeping up with the times.
A digital-first culture can, however, help you future-proof your business and emerge as a leader who sets new industry benchmarks. Keeping your business agile and adaptable to market and socio-economic changes will benefit your business at the very least.
The following are some specific benefits of investing in a digital-first workplace:
Transparency and teamwork should be improved
Digital-first teams can collaborate cross-functionally and asynchronously without the delays or misunderstandings that occur in isolated, face-to-face collaborations.
When team collaboration is digital-first, it’s easier to ensure everyone follows the same processes and makes corporate information equally accessible. Transparency and accessibility are encouraged by digital-first strategies.
Enhance agility and adaptability
You can be more agile with technology. With less disruption to your business, you can better meet changing consumer needs. Both tangible and intangible products and services can be used in this way.
Imagine what you could accomplish if you could digitize something as physical as makeup. GLAMlab is a virtual makeup try-on tool. After the pandemic, Ulta Beauty’s app engagement increased sevenfold, with users swatching more than 50 million shades.
Collect better data
When you run your business through digital interactions and processes, you inevitably leave a larger digital footprint. Take advantage of it! Improve your overall performance by analyzing business inefficiencies and uncovering patterns. A robust omnichannel strategy can be built with this approach. Your customer interactions and preferences will help you create a seamless customer experience.
How to build a digital-first culture
1. Put the people first
The latest technology is useless if you don’t know how to use it. The implementation of cutting-edge technology without the proper support will not yield the desired results since people are often resistant to change. Further, some employees fear that technology and automation will take their jobs. If you want to build a digital-first culture, you must address these issues as soon as possible.
A transparent communication strategy and solid training can help address these concerns. Assess your team’s skill level first. Provide job-specific training on how to operate the software most effectively. Software developers might use Slack to ship code and monitor issues, while legal teams might use it to source patent ideas and collaborate with outside counsel. To make the most of the tool, both teams would use different apps, integrations, and functionality. Secondly, ask employees for feedback on how digitization will help them contribute more value to the company, not less.
2. Starting at the top
The key to creating a corporate culture lies with senior management. It doesn’t matter what values you list on your website or paint on your office walls if your managers and executives don’t reflect them.
To build a digital-first culture, leaders must evangelize the approach everywhere they go. Set a good example. If employees are told to use Asana to manage and share tasks, but their boss still uses spreadsheets, what would happen?
3. Take advantage of technology
Today, you are only as strong as your least-digitized business unit. Leaving some departments to run as they are means you’re missing out on the crucial efficiencies digital transformation can bring.
By digitizing, you minimize the risk of losing data or people missing critical information. In order for different business functions to operate efficiently, you need to integrate your various tools as much as possible.
Instead of having separate platforms for sales and marketing, integrate the two to ensure data flows seamlessly. A great example of this is HubSpot, which combines sales and marketing functionality, allowing both teams to share data in real time. Zapier allows you to integrate two tools if you use them separately.
4. Share your vision with others
Employees, managers, and executives all strive to make the business successful. McKinsey reports that nearly 70% of change programs fail due to employee resistance and lack of management support. Get your employees involved in the change you’re making to avoid this. Numbers speak for themselves. People are 30% more likely to sustain these initiatives when they feel like they have a voice in the transition, according to a McKinsey study.
Be sure to include the technical tools, skills, and working style in your job descriptions. You should also do this with your current employees and potential new hires. Transparency and clear expectations are key to developing a digital-first mindset.
The majority of our interactions and work now take place online, so adopting a digital-first culture is essential for any company that wants to remain competitive. Changing the way we do business requires profound changes, but the rewards can be transformational.
If you’d like to talk to us about supporting your small business by empowering your remote workforce to work from anywhere, get in touch. Our application is user-friendly. The setup is easy and you can deliver it to your users ready to use so they can start working straight away.