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Digital first vs digital confusion

This post originally appeared on my LinkedIn profile here; Digital first vs digital confusion.

The race towards digital first and it’s anticipated organisational transformation is driving many organisations around the globe. However, whilst the technology moves forward at a pace, the users of the technology are often held back, sometimes by things they can change and other times by things they can’t.

The digital transformation agenda seems persuasive as we seek to reduce costs and increase profitability, but it only works if all parties to it can harness its potential. We rightly put customers first in our concerns about whether they are willing or able to engage with us in this new environment; however, that sometimes comes at a cost to staff as investment internally in digital skills can be sadly lacking.

We put sophisticated communication and collaboration suites in place and then wonder why staff don’t embrace the opportunity to change the way they work. What we forget of course, is that people are people, who naturally tend towards what’s familiar; after all an email in one system is just the same as a message in another – isn’t it?

These changes also present additional challenges to staff through increased autonomy. Whilst this is a good thing for motivation; the reality is it can be frightening and confusing when you don’t know what the ‘right’ thing to do is, or even if indeed there is something that can be called ‘right’.

When you are faced with a platter of options, which one do you pick? Do you go for the red shiny one or the blue satin?

In this brave new world, the engagement and adoption questions can never be so much about ‘how do I do something’ (save this, share that, do this task etc … ), instead we are moving into a world where the important question is ‘why’.

Giving staff autonomy through systems like Office 365 or G-Suite means educating them in a completely different set of ‘digital skills’. These are skills that give them the confidence to question why they are doing a task in a particular way; and when they can answer that, sometimes they may discover it doesn’t need doing at all.

(image courtesy: geralt

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