Blog January 23, 2019

8 Tips for Becoming a Digital Transformation Change Agent in 2019

Digital transformation is about more than just technology. It also involves people. If you want to achieve your digital transformation goals in 2019, you may need to focus more on the human side of the equation. Here are eight tips:

#1 Get the right executive support – Executive support is pretty much a prerequisite to any transformation initiative. But even if you’re already the CIO, it can help to have allies from the business side as well. The CEO can add his or her weight behind your strategies, and your peers in marketing, sales, finance, etc., can help you “sell” them to your internal customers.

#2 Interact with people – The CIO role probably has a greater share of introverts than other c-suite level roles. If you’re one of them, you’re going to have to break out of your comfort zone. There is no substitute for talking to the people who will be using the technologies you deploy. It’s the only way to gauge the level of their resistance and address the underlying causes.

#3 Speak their language – No one likes to be made to feel stupid, but if you’re in IT, it’s easy to do that without realizing it. Remember, Dave in finance may be brilliant in his own realm, but if you start speaking in acronyms and cryptic terminology you may lose him quickly – and maybe even permanently.

#4 Have a plan – If you’re a fan of the Dilbert cartoons by Scott Adams, you know that much of the humor revolves around the pointy-haired boss whose actions seem random at best. Don’t be that guy. Share your vision for what digital transformation means to the organization and how it will help you achieve your collective goals.

#5 Keep it pragmatic – Vision is one thing, but you also need to help your internal customers understand how your path to digital transformation will affect them personally. Will it help them accomplish their personal goals faster with less hassle? Make fewer mistakes? Spend less time at the office?

#6 Address their concerns – When it comes to their livelihood, people are inherently suspicious of change. You start talking artificial intelligence and machine learning, and they’re going to start thinking “layoffs.” Help them see that doing more with less is about helping everyone perform their role to the best of their abilities and not about scaling back.

#7 Go slowly at first – Your appetite for change is probably far greater than the average person’s. You’ll need to assess the organization’s openness to technological change (see #2) and then create a plan that lets people set a comfortable pace. Remember, so long as you’re moving forward, you’re moving in the right direction. Wait until you have everyone on board before picking up steam.

#8 Choose a champion – Chances are good there’ll be at least one end user in your organization that shares your love of technology even though they’re not in IT. If they have rapport with their coworkers, they can be instrumental in helping others follow the path you’ve set. Look for people that are natural teachers, other-oriented, and well-liked by their peers.

Digital Transformation Requires Leadership

Digital transformation is not easy. Sometimes, becoming the change agent you want to be can require dropping a few other responsibilities off your plate. This is especially true for CIOs that have a hard time being leaders because they’re too busy putting out fires. Outsourcing some of these responsibilities to a managed service provider can help you find time to be the leader your organization needs you to be.

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