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Digitization: It’s About Putting People First!

Key takeaways from a roundtable discussion with top CIOs and IT executives, including how to put people at the center of your digital transformation strategy

Digitization is all about people.

That was the core message of a recent roundtable discussion our CEO, Hartmut Hahn, and our Digital Adoption Expert, Felix Brehmer, were a part of.

It’s an important message, and that’s why for this blog post, we want to give you the key takeaways from this event, which included top CIOs and IT executives from over 10 industries coming together to discuss how digital adoption, a crucial factor for the success of digital transformation initiatives, can drive business value.

The Digital Employee Experience: Challenges 

At the beginning of the discussion, participants were asked to rate the current digital experience at their respective companies. Below is a summary of the results. 

pie chart depicting how CIOs and IT executives view the digital employee experience at their company

  • 9.1% rate it as excellent 
  • 63.7% rate it as very good
  • 9.1% say it’s good
  • 18.2% say fair

There are, of course, many factors that make up the digital employee experience, but one of the major ones is the introduction of and working with new—and oftentimes highly complex—software, which comes with resistance to change

Myriad reasons contribute to resistance to change, but one of them, as brought up during the discussion, is IT being the driver of new technology in their organization. This, according to the participants, can be problematic because the IT department pushes for solutions they find beneficial for the business on their own. This means that they’re operating in a silo and ignoring the needs of the employees and all other departments that should be involved in the decision-making process. 

This, in turn, makes employees skeptical about IT, and they then try to introduce new tools on their own. This ultimately results in the organization owning too many tools introduced by different people over time, which 

(a) can’t be used by everyone, 

(b) aren’t compliant with processes, and 

(c) can’t integrate with other software and processes. 

The Digital Employee Experience: Solutions

With challenges come solutions, so how can you overcome the problems presented above if this is what you’re experiencing in your organization? Here’s what the experts had to say:

  • Identify an internal “technology champion” who will drive the use of technology and work with it on a daily basis.
  • IT people know about technologies, but business people also need this knowledge for joint and integrated efforts in driving transformation.
  • Create cross-functional teams that drive change together.
  • Double down on strong communication and collaboration skills across the teams. 
  • Showcase the business impact of innovation or new software. Share the estimated time-to-value and expected results with employees.
  • Always have a people-first approach in mind.

Unlocking Digital Transformation for People

One of the questions posed during the discussion was, “What steps do you take to unlock digital transformation for your people?” This was an important question as it revealed how nearly every participant had a story where digitization failed because the needs of employees weren’t taken into consideration. 

So, how can you unlock digital transformation for your employees? Here’s the advice given by the CIOs and IT executives:

  • Ask people what to improve—they are the best to identify what is needed.
  • Reduce fear of or resistance to change by explaining the impact, value, and estimated outcomes of the initiative. People need to know how long the project will take and what they will get out of it.
  • Set up a global operational excellence program that covers both process changes (short-term) and technology changes (long-term). The goal is to create a pipeline of changes the organization has to go through and to assess what can be done and when.
  • Take people with you on the journey to transformation and change from the very start.
  • Create new training materials and use e-learning platforms.
  • Move processes to a digital format but continue the improvement process. 
  • Focus on one process at a time instead of running multiple initiatives simultaneously and having employees trying to follow all of them. 

Below is a shortened version of the points above. You can use this for social media purposes if you’d like to share it!

key takeaways on how to unlock digital transformation for people written in white on a navy blue background

Digital Adoption Platforms for Digital Transformation 

Okay, okay … we know we write about our product quite a bit these days, BUT we just want to give you a very brief summary of why digital adoption platforms, like Userlane, will greatly help you in driving digital transformation at your company! Here are the key uses cases for DAPs as well as the benefits they offer.

Use Case 1: Self-Service Support 

DAPs can reduce common support tickets from users by more than 75%. This is because DAPs come with automated, interactive guides that lead users step-by-step through the software application in real time. By automating IT support, you can reduce the burden placed on the IT desk and make all users self-sufficient in any browser-based software

Use Case 2: Software Rollouts

With DAPs, you can roll out new software two times faster thanks to personalized guidance for each user right from the very beginning and immediate knowledge transfer.

Use Case 3: Key Feature Adoption

Point out specific and important features and processes to your users to increase feature adoption and ensure higher user engagement

Use Case 4: Change Management

Overcome resistance to change by offering users constant, on-demand support, and make sure every user is fully productive throughout periods of uncertainty or rapid change. 

Use Case 5: Insights and Improvement

Use DAPs to analyze user behavior and process compliance to track software adoption, progress, and to intervene at just the right moment when a user is having difficulty with a certain process. 

That’s a Wrap! More Key Takeaways to Come!

We hope you gained something valuable and enjoyed the insights provided in this blog post from participants at the roundtable! Remember that it’s people who make business and digital transformation happen!

We’ll still be attending plenty more virtual events this year, so we’ll make sure to bring you some of the key takeaways from each event (next up are The European Online Digital Transformation Conference and PLG Disrupt) to help you succeed in your digital transformation efforts!

If you’d like to see how Deutsche Bahn works with our product to drive digital transformation, then read up on our case study. 

Written by Tracey Ruff

Tracey is a Marketing and Content Specialist at Userlane. She is passionate about writing and social media (Instagram in particular) and is keen to start her own vlog. She has a Master of Arts degree in English Literature and has plans to pursue her PhD in the near future. Currently writing about Learning and Development and User Onboarding, Tracey is excited about how the tech industry - especially relating to SaaS products - is evolving. She also loves living and working in Germany (and may or may not be slightly obsessed with Taylor Swift and cats).

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