Know thyself and half the battle is won.Sun Tzu
When a sportsman has to overcome himself and succeeds, reference is always made to “internal” qualities, sometimes innate and sometimes acquired: willpower, determination, heart, concentration, grit. It is these qualities, in fact, that, applied to training and competition, allow the athlete to improve, to excel. Let’s think of a company, whether large or medium-sized, as a single organism, made up of as many cells as there are employees or departments, instruments or business functions. Here it is: such a company, to maintain and even increase its competitive strength, can behave like a sportsman and look, first of all, at its inner potential.
This is what is happening in many sectors, whether production or services, with the advent of digital transformation: not only, are technological tools and devices being adopted to amplify the potential of the company and its collaborators, improve processes, facilitate communication both internally and externally, but at the same time, organizational concepts are changing. An evolution that sees the establishment of new models, functional precisely to make possible an increase in performance stimulated and supported by the use of the most modern digital technologies.
Evolution comes from within.
Industry growth, competition, and the opening of new markets are some of the elements that influence a company’s performance, but today more than ever, competitiveness can take advantage of a fundamental cue represented by a powerful and progressive improvement in operational practices and concepts. Taking advantage of the opportunities offered by digital platforms and tools means first and foremost making the company better: more efficient, more productive, more responsive, more versatile.
Businesses around the world are turning their investments and strategies to digitization as the foundation of their internal and external operations, to the market and their customers. Digital platforms that enable access to and sharing information, the use of functional tools, the automation of many processes, the support of analytical applications, and geographical independence concerning one’s operations are at the heart of this pragmatic and conceptual revolution.
All change brings with it advantages and complexity. In this case, the need to accompany technological change with an equally decisive remodelling of organizational schemes does not simplify this process. However, it cannot be postponed.
Challenges and obstacles on the road to new competitiveness.
It is clear that it is new technologies that stimulate and support the digital transformation of companies, but it is essential that the adoption of digital tools is followed in parallel by the acquisition of new management and corporate culture, a new way of understanding productivity and operating patterns. This is the first challenge and the first obstacle. Overcoming them requires a clear vision, an understanding of the prospects and benefits, and solid leadership in the company. But that’s not enough, of course. You also need investment in skills, not just systems. For example, the search for employees qualified not only in professional knowledge, but in the digital work system is identified as a key element for a successful digital transformation, which is not based solely on the adoption of technology and the change of business processes and strategies, but emphasizes employees. In this regard, McKinsey’s 2021 research found that 89% of companies, globally, are experiencing a skills shortage or will do so in the coming years.
Nelle organizzazioni che, acquisendo un nuovo modello digitale, vogliano realmente accrescere la propria In organizations that, by acquiring a new digital model, really want to increase their competitiveness over time, certain qualities of employees will play a key role, such as the propensity to acquire new knowledge and skills, alongside those skills that the World Economic Forum of 2020 has indicated as “skills of the future”, but already necessary in the current work environment, including critical thinking, analytical and problem-solving skills, self-management, adaptability and resilience. In particular, Professor Karen Osmundsen of the NHH (Norwegian School of Economics) pointed to the cognitive skills of employees, including a willingness to learn and openness to change, as essential qualities for operating in companies that have adopted digital tools and platforms.
Digital Transformation and Digital Culture: all for one and one for all.
Returning to the initial example of the sportsman, we could say that to compete, it is not enough for him to have strong muscles or concentration. In his body and mind, everything should work well, individually and organically. And, as we have seen, also concerning companies, each element must work efficiently, individually and in interaction with others: colleagues with colleagues, managers with employees, technicians with salespeople, but also people with machines or data. To achieve this, technology alone is not enough, it must find fertile ground at the individual, group and corporate level. Indeed, as far as individual employees are concerned, there are some key factors to consider, such as technology acceptance, training and well-being at work. And the perception of how digital transformation will benefit not only the company, but the employee, especially in terms of job satisfaction. In the same way, about the group, an effective digital transformation is closely linked to elements such as team communication and collaboration, the ability to build relationships within the team (including through digital tools or platforms), and adaptability to the logic of digital working. Even at the corporate level there are some fundamental pillars on which digital transformation rests, including human resource support, corporate culture and, of course, leadership.
Business leaders are called upon to take on important responsibilities not only in terms of defining and developing the operating model in a digital key, but also in terms of motivating the company’s population and managing change, with the decision-making speed and communication skills that come with it. Constant internal communication, in particular, plays a fundamental role: if the decision to implement a digital transformation is a strategic managerial choice, traditionally top-down, the implementation is bottom-up and the success of this operation also depends on the ability to involve the workforce. The company’s people represent the first and most important of all the elements within the company which can, according to a win-win logic, become more efficient and guarantee greater productivity and competitiveness.
The pillars of success and the appropriate tool to enhance them.
The importance of the workforce, the motivation and attention to the satisfaction and well-being, as well as the productivity, of the company’s people and, on the other hand, the creation and diffusion of new work culture in the company, which takes into account digital tools and their personal and team use, are solid foundations on which to build not only the digital transformation but also the future strategic vision of the company. There is a third pillar to be included in this scheme and it is represented by the most suitable tool to support changes and allow the company to count on an agile operating environment, equipped with all the necessary tools and at the same time collaborative, efficient and focused: it is the Digital Workspace.
IDC has identified digital workspaces as one of the three elements of successful transformation in 2020, indicating that they are a driving force for business growth due to their architecture, management capabilities, security and user experience approach. All of these qualities help support day-to-day business operations, attract and retain talent, and improve workforce development. Suffice it to say that, again according to IDC, Future of Work 2022, by 2023, 70% of employees with connected workstations in operational roles will use intelligence embedded in digital workspaces to connect with customers and colleagues from anywhere, increasing personal and business productivity.
Digital Workspaces are a critical tool, now more than ever, in a world (and market) where each employee is both an individual resource and a member of a dynamic team, where adaptability is a basic requirement, and where the adoption of automation and fluid communication will enable increased competitiveness and give rise to more agile work culture.