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Organisations struggle with digital transformation

To avoid being obsolete, companies have to take risk, push for failure and embrace change, said Intervate's Peter Reid.

To avoid being obsolete, companies have to take risk, push for failure and embrace change, said Intervate's Peter Reid.

Although organisations realise the opportunities they can derive from digital transformation, they are finding it difficult to put it into practice.

So said Peter Reid, SharePoint Solutions head at Intervate, speaking to ITWeb at the Intervate digital transformation event in Johannesburg yesterday.

According to Reid, businesses often discuss how they need digital transformation to disrupt, but find it difficult to follow the steps needed for digital transformation to take place.

Capgemini Consulting says while the potential opportunity of digital transformation is absolutely clear, the journey to get there is not.

Reid believes the first step is for an organisation to recognise it needs digital transformation in the business. "If your business does not embrace this opportunity, another business will take away your customers and eat into your business."

The next step is to figure out how to go about transforming the organisation, said Reid. He noted innovation ideas do not come from the CEOs – but from the bottom up – that is the workforce.

However, they will only come from the workforce that is engaged and empowered to try new things and encouraged to fail, said Reid. A company will not get innovation if its employees are scared to fail, he added.

As long as business' leaders are open to new ideas and implementing them, employees will come up with innovative ideas that will lead to disruption and then digital transformation, said Reid.

"Leadership has to encourage failure – encourage employees to try even though the end result might be failure. That is empowering."

Also, innovation depends on management that is willing to hire and grow employees who are open to creating, passionate and interested in seeing the impact of their innovation in the hands of customers, he added.

Reid said that culture plays a significant role in the success of digital transformation and innovation.

It is difficult to change an organisation's culture, but for digital transformation to happen, businesses have to find new ways of working, he added.

"It takes years to change the culture of an organisation. It has to be a coordinated effort by everyone and it takes a very strong role by leadership to change culture."

He pointed out a lot of businesses – especially in finance, mining and manufacturing – are risk averse because they have been ‘bitten' in the past.

As a result they put more policies and rules in place that are a hindrance to innovation, said Reid.

"However, in order to avoid being obsolete, you have to get around that, you have to take risk and push for failure and embrace change."


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