2020 has been a major shakeup for the global economy and there’s a palpable contrast in the way CIOs look at business these days. The anomaly about the need for Digital Transformation has reached the ‘Move it or Move Out’ state drastically. The question now is how to capitalize on digital transformation efforts and sustain them in the longer run.
Banking on our two-decade long experience in Software Consulting, we can say that a digital culture is not built in a day, neither is it just an IT regime. For a modern enterprise to function without glitch, the human resources and technological advancements need to arrive at a crossway so that a dynamic digital-first, people-focused culture is built, that which propels productivity and inculcates a competitive edge.
2020 has particularly been tough on enterprises that still entertained a legacy approach. The IMF had predicted that the global economy would shrink by 3% or more in 2020. On one side there was the pressing need to maintain business continuity and on the other end was this mental warzone where C suites had to struggle through their belief systems and adopt emerging means. However, that is what we perceive as the silver lining to the scenario because it inadvertently pushed the entire IT industry towards monumental changes – changes that we could not have witnessed in the next 5-7 years if it wasn’t for this pandemic.
From a very unbiased place, IT is that one industry which always had the provision to work from anywhere. However, all through, we preferred our processes on-premise for team-bonding and better productivity. The pandemic and its restrictions on social interactions prompted us to think of ways to delivered unhindered support to our associates, even if that meant working from remote. This over-night decision again, came with its own pros and cons.
We identified that there could be 3 major disconnects in this regard:
1. Reduced team bonding leading to siloed structures in the work culture – reduced transparency within teams could lead to difficulties in decision making for hierarchies. The challenge was to repurpose our DevOps approach in the true sense to scale and sustain this shift over time.
2. The prospect of reduced engagement between the management and the employees – we aimed to develop a people-first approach within the enterprise where each employee felt valued and had a fair idea of the management’s vision.
3. The growth aspect for every member of the team including the team leads and mentors – the situation called for active people management skills and redefining the expectations we would have from our team in a volatile scenario.
As a brand, our major concern was not to fall back into the same loop of behaviors from pre-pandemic days. And now with a formidable remoteness, the employee-employer relationship had to be boosted to the optimum. In this case, our management devised three key initiatives that proved to be effective in boosting the morale of the team and building a productive work process:
1. A Cultural Vision: The teams when working from their remote locations were faced with several challenges. While understanding their pain points was a thing, we equally could not let our services falter. Hence, a cultural vision was communicated with the people leaders and the teams about the standard of work they were supposed to maintain.
2. Aligning to the Digital Vision: The C suite had contemplated and weighed several pros and cons of the calculated risks that were being integrated. The only thing left was to align the teams to the same vision in terms of work culture and responsibilities.
3. KPI Standardization: Since every operation was going virtual and was supposed to stay remote for an unknown time, goals and KPIs needed to be evenly distributed. We communicated our transformation goals to our teams and clearly explained where their individual efforts stood in the roadmap.
As good as these efforts sounded as a strategy, there was another phenomenon that needed to be treaded on with care. Being a part o the IT industry and modernizing frameworks for numerous enterprises around the world, Digital Transformation wasn’t new to us. But it certainly brings a fatigue factor with itself which can affect even the most progressive businesses.
Like always, a data-backed approach led us to the core analysis of the undercurrents. It led us to dissociate ourselves with the idea of reserving hierarchal power with a selected few. Understand, for a future-proof business, critical business decisions need to be taken at trailblazing speed – and people who work and deal with issues more closely than the management, are always at a better place to judge the effects of a change.
We can round-up our efforts to seven aspects that proved to be the game changer for us:
- Digital-proof Business: Voluntarily resorting to seeking digital solutions for every issue and eliminating mental blocks to try new technology
- Data-backed Approach: Resorting to business intelligence and data analytics for predicting outcomes of calculated risks.
- Transparency: Radically removing processes that block associations with third-party solutions and vendors
- Agility: Adapting changing demands at speed of demand, integrating emerging technology and supporting robust decision-making
- Collaboration: Inculcating cross-functional, inter-departmental cooperation, optimizing resources through easy flow of information between teams
- Innovation: Advocating disruptive changes and exploring newer dynamics to initiate growth
- Customer-focused Approach: Transforming customer experience by implementing dynamic digital solutions, expanding customer base by co-creating new products and services
The team is the most invaluable technology any enterprise owns and for a process to function with interoperability, it is essential that the resources feel valued. To deal with the bane that 2020 brought in, we channeled our focus on empowering the core team and augmenting our strength by adding resources with meaningful abilities. And voila, our business concerns with Mischief Managed!