4 steps to a smarter digital transformation for your business

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This article was contributed by Corey Glickman, Head of Infosys Global Sustainability and Design Consulting Services

The past two years have forced companies that previously looked and waited to become companies that are now focused on accelerating their digital transformation efforts. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned from this accelerated pace, it’s that getting good results isn’t a plug-and-play proposition.

Companies that focused on keeping abreast of technology adoption during the pandemic, but modern digital systems are both complex and adaptable, and to get the most out of them, organizations must now focus on the human purpose.

The Infosys Digital Radar 2022 survey found that over the past two years, companies across all industries have expanded their technology adoption to a high level across all disciplines. Earlier, Infosys found that a significant proportion of companies (10% in 2020) was way behind and looked at the technological journeys of others before starting their own.

Previously, it made sense for the cautious viewers in a company to see how digital transformation was playing out in their industry. Now that virtually all businesses have flipped the digital switch, what does it take to make it work?

The next stage of digital transformation is to make sure that the effort pays off and that requires technologies to function at a human level. This applies to a growing universe of stakeholders: from customers and employees to shareholders and the communities a company affects.

Here are the four steps to uniting digital adoption and purpose:

Integrate experience Increase the human element Build diverse, committed teams Measure efforts towards environmental, social and governance goals

From efficiency to experience: deploy your company for a successful digital transformation

The first step from analog to digital is where the benefits were most apparent. Digital systems cost less and operate more efficiently than analog precedents. Digital transformation continues to excel at driving efficiency and increasing revenue, according to research from Infosys’ Digital Radar 2022. And yet users want technology to deliver something different now. Specifically, they want technology to aid innovation, provide better customer service and discover new insights from the petabytes of data they have at hand, Digital Radar found.

These are all very human, experiential desires. Enterprises must integrate human experience with technology and operations to build on the achievements of the past two years. Valuing experience over activity – or interaction over transaction requires more from technology and users. Experience integrated with technology will create solutions that are relevant, adaptable and capable of supporting enterprise-wide digital transformation efforts.

Take employee satisfaction surveys. Dissatisfied or delighted employees are much more likely to complete surveys, making it difficult to capture an authentic measure of customer experience. A leading telecommunications company in Australia (also an Infosys customer) developed a sentiment analysis tool by studying help desk interactions. Each conversation was given a sentiment score and analyzed. These efforts allowed the company to identify issues more quickly and develop solutions that improve employee satisfaction. For those who were not yet satisfied, managers and HR representatives could be brought in.

Up with people

Too often the focus on people ends in a process in the design phase. This results in solutions that do not work well and do not get used. Partially functional and underutilized technology has contributed to the emergence of design thinking methodology and the spread of Agile programming techniques in the IT department and beyond. Agile is now applied across all business domains, with scrum teams and Kanbans filtering across organizations. Like the PC and smartphone, Agile is not a new concept, but it continues to deliver results.

The CIO of a $30 billion company in the US describes that the Agile understanding of “minimum viable product” (MVP) starts at the project charter, at the very beginning of a project, and continues throughout the lifecycle. Teams often think about the entire project rather than MVPs throughout the project. “Go back to what Agile is all about: making something that’s small, achievable, and something we can learn from.”

Build diverse, dedicated teams

Talent is the engine of digital transformation. But as technology has grown abundantly, talent has become scarce. Knowledge workers in 2022 want more than wages and extras from their employer. They want a purpose.

Diverse, dedicated teams deliver technical solutions that meet the needs of everyone because of the things that make them unique and the cause that brings them together. A diverse team sees solutions through different lenses, which ensures greater inclusivity.

Aruna Ravichandran, chief marketing officer of WebEx by Cisco, describes three core principles of successful teams: intellectual diversity, psychological safety, and a purpose worth fighting for.

“When you wake up every day, you need to build a goal that employees feel is worth fighting for. And that needs to be communicated in everything you do,” she said in an October 2020 podcast interview with Skyler Mattson, the company’s president for human experience. WongDoody

Psychological safety increases creativity and creates a culture of risk-taking, which promotes innovation, explains Ravichandran. For a manager to really know what the team is capable of, the team members must have the ability to express their views without worrying about whether they will be heard, Ravichandran emphasized.

Use ESG as a benchmark for your company’s digital transformation

Technology and transformation projects involve tons of measurements. But purpose and experience are difficult to quantify. The good news is that the increasing emphasis on corporate environmental and social practices, as well as corporate governance, provide good proxies. Shareholders and stakeholders demand that companies account for their impact and actions, as well as their business results in the form of quantifiable environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals.

Investors, partners and others have compiled an alphabetical soup of standards, from ESG and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to the accounting adjacent Sustainability Accountability Standards Board. These standards provide a good framework for companies to use in defining and measuring ESG progress, write Corey Glickman and Jeff Kavanaugh in “Practical Sustainability: Circular Commerce, Smarter Spaces and Happie Humans.” Business leaders can work from this emerging framework to build a scorecard and then set lofty goals. This combination of a clear scorecard and ambitious goals can help companies move forward, rather than just collecting operational data, Glickman and Kavanaugh write.

Computational design (using computers and computational methods to design new things) keeps the focus on the human experience by interpreting and measuring the behavior of real users at a granular level. Science-based targets have formally evolved to measure environmental characteristics such as emissions and ethical governance. This scientific approach also transforms the qualitative world of social responsibility and diversity into results-oriented, action-oriented programs. Technology and purpose go hand in hand here: the rise of exponential technologies – technologies that enable very rapid change – and new ways of thinking are enabling companies to practically pursue higher goals.

Launching better experiences and new ideas

The adoption of technology has long helped companies save money and operate more efficiently. Now people want technology to help them deliver better experiences and launch new ideas. That can only happen if the human purpose is integrated into all digital transformation efforts. Technology must deliver on an understandable, human level for all stakeholders: customers, employees, shareholders and neighbors. Codified in ESG, built by diverse teams, focused on people and integrated with experience, the goal is the path to digital transformation that makes sense and works for people.

Corey Glickman is Infosys’ Head of Global Sustainability and Design Consulting Services

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