Digital transformation: 5 'human' mistakes to avoid

Digital transformation involves more than technology. Consider these common 'human' pitfalls when implementing your digital strategy
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The pandemic has made digital transformation a business necessity, with many organizations turning five-year plans into two-year mandates. But as companies expedite their digital initiatives, are they neglecting the “human element?”

To ensure that all your employees can reap the benefits of digital transformation in their own jobs, here are five critical mistakes to avoid:

1. Forgetting it's more than the technology

Business needs are important. Before starting a digital transformation project, leaders must understand why it is being done, along with the desired objectives and the expected business outcome.

[Also read: Digital transformation: 3 roadblocks and how to overcome them.]

Consider the impact that transformation is likely to have on stakeholders beyond immediate users. Some digital transformation efforts are initiated because someone is enamored with an emerging technology or tool and simply wants to deploy the “shiny object.” Before embarking on a new initiative, make sure you fully understand its implications, and whether it will provide a good return and serve a legitimate business need.

Before embarking on a new initiative, make sure you fully understand its implications, and whether it will provide a good return and serve a legitimate business need.

2. Ignoring the employee experience

Workers under 30 years old are becoming a majority of the workforce in most large enterprises. Seventy percent of the workers at one of the Big Four organizations that we work with are under 30, many of whom joined the firm in the last three years. Their experience and expectations are different from those of the executives making budgeting and other decisions. These workers want real-time, fast-paced, intuitive technologies, like apps that can be found on the AppStore.

3. Neglecting change management requirements

Updates are no longer forklift changes that occur only a couple of times a year – they happen frequently to provide users with the latest functionality and features as soon as they are available.

[ Read next: Change management: 4 tips for leaders on embracing human nature ]

Your employees have gotten used to such apps and experiences in the consumer world; why should it be any different in the business environment? Especially for remote and hybrid workers, change management and digital transformation efforts need to include seamless employee onboarding and easy access to productivity and workflow tools so that employees can maximize their productivity.

4. Failing to train employees on digital tools

Leaders and employees alike must fully understand the tools used in digital transformation, along with their benefits – otherwise, they are unlikely to adopt new ways of working and the organization will not gain the benefits of digital transformation. Using gamification techniques and creating easy-to-use templates can help users more easily adopt new tools and technologies.

5. Forgetting that digital transformation is a journey, not a destination

Digital transformation is an ongoing process. Change will be constant, and there will be no endpoint. Keep this in mind as you start your journey.

Avoiding these five mistakes will help ease your digital transformation and ensure that your employees are on board during times of change.

[Where is your team's digital transformation work stalling? Get the eBook: What's slowing down your Digital Transformation? 8 questions to ask.]

Arun Ramchandran
Arun ‘Rak’ Ramchandran is the Global Head of the Hi-Tech, Platforms & Professional Services (HTPS) Vertical Business Unit, and is also the Global Market Leader for the Digital Core Transformation (DCT) Service Line at Hexaware.