How Culture Drives Digital Transformation - Troy Taylor

Point of View
3 min readJan 5, 2022
Image from Unsplash by Joshua Sortino

Company culture is key to an adaptive, successful business model, one that can keep up with the increasingly fast-paced inclusion of technology in all operations. I recently came across an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal titled ‘How Culture Drives Digital Transformation.’ It advises organizations to strategically tackle its cultural and organizational pitfalls, to allow for a seamless, beneficial transition that adopts cutting-edge technology.

The article is based on findings from The Technology Fallacy: How People are the Real Key to Digital Transformation, a study that observes how technology is changing the way organizations operate.

‘The difference between a company that harnesses cutting-edge technologies to establish competitive advantage, and one that commits “random acts of digital,” isn’t the selection of the technology. Nor is it the implementation.’

‘Culture, as it turns out, can advance or inhibit digital transformation. If companies can lay the groundwork by building a culture that is more adaptable to change, then implementing new technology and business processes can proceed more smoothly.’

‘An overwhelming majority (87%) said that digital technologies will disrupt their industries to either a great or moderate extent. Yet, only 44% believe that their companies are adequately preparing to respond effectively. The substantial gap suggests that while most organizations may be talking about digital transformation, most may not be taking the right steps to address it.’

‘Those steps are foundational: companies should consider changing how they do business, finding ways to respond more quickly and effectively to ongoing technology shifts, and developing institutional and individual skills, as well as leadership styles, to suit the new environment. And since a company’s culture can make all the difference in its overall digital maturity, organizations need to create environments where digital transformation can unfold. In the study, nearly 60% of respondents from digitally maturing companies noted that their companies drive digital adoption and engagement by cultivating such values as risk-taking, collaboration, agility, and continuous learning.’

‘Critical to creating that innovative environment is communicating the goal. Managers can motivate employees by relaying a clear picture of how they expect the changed business model to function: which customers will be served (and how), what new value proposition will result from different cost and efficiency advantages, and — of course — how technology might support the new model. In the Deloitte/MIT SMR survey, 80% of respondents who identified their companies as “digitally maturing” credited their organizations with having a clear and coherent strategy. Among companies that considered themselves “least mature,” only 15% could match that claim.’

The article expounds on the barriers companies face when dealing with cultural change. These include the competency trap, the speed trap, the structure trap, and the enemy within trap. These all prove difficult for companies looking to alter their cultures to make room for digital transformation. According to the conclusions of the study, ‘minimal, viable changes’ and ‘model leadership for digital dominance’ are the ways to go to ensure that companies can adapt to this new age of business.

You can read the original article here.



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