Friday, September 8, 2017

Accelerate Digital Transformation via both Hard and Soft Forces

Businesses have to address collective thinking, attitude, balance both the hard and soft elements, enterprise behaviors and move to an outcome-focused, outside-in organization.


Organizations large or small are on their digital transformation journey, although there is no one size fits all solutions to ensure the change success, it is important to take a systematic approach, strike the right balance of “push” and “pull” from multiple directions, and accelerate digital transformation via both hard and soft way.


The hard force to drive digital transformation: The “hard” issue to stifle organizational change and business performance is that the systems, processes, and technologies many organizations are using to manage the business are becoming inefficient or outdated in this rapidly changing world. Digital transformation is inevitable, and often the emergent digital technologies with a high degree of digital convenience are imposing forces of digital disruptions and change drivers. To accelerate change, it is also important that business management has objectivity and humility to realize that their processes or systems are out of date and they need to keep consolidating, modernizing, integrating, innovating, and optimizing. With the advance of digital technologies and tools, organizations can build integrated enterprise platforms and differentiated business competency with faster speed. The digital convergence of devices and services are creating new business models and revenue source as most companies across industries are being forced to become technology companies and run information businesses.

The soft force to catalyze digital transformation: The hard technological forces continually push the organization to reach the tipping point of digitalization. However, if you only take the visible business factors such as process or technology alone as an element of the strategy execution, you may miss the point and head to the troubles, or things will be slow down again after adoption. Because digital transformation has to be expanded in every dimension and permeating into underlying organizational structure and functions. Therefore, soft forces such as leadership, communication, or culture will become the key factors for the success of changes. Organizations also have to tailor their management styles to make these soft business elements well mixed into organizational competency. Interrelational management processes are developed to help reduce tensions, frictions, and business conflicts that arise; interactive business management processes are developed to help communicate objects and concepts with clarity. Change Management is considered as a “soft” management discipline because there is no hard formula to manage changes and change itself keep changing. People have no problem with change! They have problems with uncertainty, risk, and fear. Thus, it is important to build the digital workforce and workplace that change is encouraged, creativity is inspired, and the soft forces to changes are fine-tuned to catalyze digital transformation.

The hard forces of digitization are disruptive and push the organization to adapt to the dynamic environment. But the soft business elements can truly touch the mind and heart, and make change sustainable. To accelerate to the speed of changes, businesses have to address collective thinking, attitude, balance both the hard and soft elements, enterprise behaviors and move to an outcome-focused, outside-in organization.

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