Why do companies struggle with digital change?

Let’s face it, for most change is daunting. It’s human nature to revert to your comfort zone. Unfortunately, in today’s digital world, change is the acceptable norm.

recent survey found that 68% of marketers feel their role has changed more in the last two years than the previous 50. It’s hard to believe now that ten years ago nobody had heard of the cloud, the iPhone didn’t exist and 20 years ago most people didn’t have an email address.

Therefore the question companies now need to ask is, “Are we geared up for change?”

>See also: What is a true digital enterprise?

Managing change

The speed of change with today’s technology creates both opportunities and challenges in equal measures. The opportunity to make products and services available instantly to a massive audience is countered by the fear of change, driven mostly by those whose jobs are at risk from the efficiencies created.

There are very few examples of enterprise businesses that have managed to keep up with this rapidly changing world, and those that have normally have such large incomes they can afford to take a chance.

Change has to be led from the top, and supported from the bottom. Telling teams to change will, in our experience, force more resistance to the change, and far worse is a leadership team who don’t believe in the change required. Boards often talk of ‘the cost of doing nothing’ – no risk, no pain, let’s just ride it out.

Taking your team along for the ride during a change process is never going to be easy, and it has to be undertaken quickly and collaboratively. Creative tools tcan help develop ‘whole brain learning’ in teams where there are often more left (i.e. logical) than right (i.e. creative) brainers.

One universal truth

Change should never be undertaken just for the sake of change – nine times out of ten, it will be driven by the customer.  There is only one universal truth in every business and it’s the customer.

You may think this view too simplistic, too obvious or just too easy, but never underestimate the power of the customer (or end user) when it comes to focusing on what a business (or organisation) needs to prioritise or indeed what it needs to change.

In a world where once the brand was powerful and the customer grateful, today the customers are now very powerful and the brands very grateful.

For example, Transport for London (TfL) wanted a web service for customers of the largest and most complex transport network in the world. It was committed to a customer-centric approach the wanted the design to deliver on this.

In essence, it was prepared to take a risk and embrace change to improve the experience for its customers. The feedback has been outstanding.

>See also: How to overcome the barriers to digital transformation

“Not only has [it] changed the way we work with our customers, it has changed the way we work with ourselves,” said Chris Macleod, marketing director at TfL.

There are very few companies that have truly embraced change – fear tends to overrule opportunity. Yet, digital adoption and change in general are a requirement in any modern business that wants to grow and thrive in today’s economy. There’s a reason Blockbuster went bust while Netflix continues to expand exponentially.

Don’t spend so long thinking and planning that inertia sets in and you miss the opportunity. Take risks, embrace change and reap the rewards.


Sourced from Chris Averill

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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