Three steps to a successful digital transformation
Digital technologies are part of our daily lives. Smartphones, social networks, the Cloud, Big Data and the Internet of Things have dramatically changed each and every sector of the business world. Like a tidal wave sweeping over our economy, little by little since the 2000s half the Fortune 500 companies have been wiped off the list. For many companies founded prior to the digital era, digital transformation represents a real challenge, one that can only be met by reconsidering their very fundamentals.
Physical and virtual worlds coalesce
It's a fact. Digital is stepping up the pace of trade and strengthening what is now international competition, particularly with the arrival of the ‘born-digital’ newcomers. Traditional economic models are fast becoming obsolete, and the way in which companies interact with their customers, partners and employees has undergone a radical transformation in the wake of real-time and interactivity demands.
From data centers and mobile devices to physical environments, new approaches have evolved to provide a better customer experience. The emergence of these trends has seriously challenged traditional business relations, systems and processes; indeed it has rendered them completely obsolete.
It is fascinating to see just how much the line between the physical and digital world is blurring. The lack of distinction between these two worlds is forcing companies to redefine their business model. And this is the true challenge of the digital business: greater agility within innovation efforts, and a stronger desire to improve the customer experience.
This reconsideration is fundamental, for it is the only way for companies to meet, or indeed, exceed customer expectations. Technology has introduced and provided customers with access to all the new solutions and services. Everything is instantly within their reach, they can now buy anything they want, from anywhere and anyone. Their product and service reviews are published and shared straight away. ‘The age of the customer’ is truly upon us, and the power is no longer with the supplier, but with the consumer.
The value chain
The success of a business model now lies in companies' ability to connect easily to the people, processes and objects connected within the value chain.
This transition is often laborious, since organizations must begin by establishing digital connectivity channels and then build digital services before they can even focus on the digital experience.
Obviously, the task's complexity depends on the maturity of the company embarking on its digital transformation, as well as the state of its IT infrastructures and environments. However, three fundamental aspects must be considered to support the digital transformation:
Connectivity and digital channels: The volume of data now created and stored by companies has reached unprecedented levels. To fully exploit the potential of this trend and transform this data into useful information, companies must introduce digital business processes and connect the data flows of each silo, using integration technologies like APIs, secure data transfer (MTF) or EDI.
Digital services: Business service exposure and use via digital channels is broadening professional relations and offering customers greater added value. For example, by incorporating dozens of different applications (Uber, Yelp, etc.), Google Maps allows the co-creation of value between Google and its commercial partners. These services are far from being reserved exclusively for companies specialising in new technologies. These days all sectors can use API, from retail and finance to the hotel industry. This allows organisations to exploit their services in an innovative way, creating new revenue potential.
Digital experience: The set-up of a digital platform is essential to both the creation of new economic models and the success of a digital transformation. Banking services, for instance, have evolved dramatically, and customers can now consult their information on their mobiles and online and not just at their branch. Omnipresence is a strong customer experience.
Amazon is another excellent success story. Over the years, the company has developed new business models with the set-up of digital platforms. Previously limited to book sales, Amazon is now a Cloud giant, holding its own against the biggest IT companies.
Shrewd managers and directors who adopt these changes, allowing their organizations to capitalize on digital technologies are able to navigate this new environment quickly and successfully. It is a transition undertaken by a growing number of companies that can see the business potential heralded by the digital revolution.
Embrace digital transformation with confidence, not fear, and focus on what makes it possible.
How changing your company's software code can prevent bias
Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day.
Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization.
Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.
Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?
We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization
What impact can exclusive terms have on employees?
Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.
Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code
Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!
What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?
What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.
What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology?
My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve.