Ken Gray - Senior Digital Experience Strategist
6 May 2022
I admire the exuberance of modern technologists and developers, as I used to be one in my younger years. However, today it seems we’re allowing tech to "move" the organization rather than the people; like the proverbial “tail wagging the dog”.
On the surface it seems logical; we stay ahead of the competition and remain relevant by keeping up with technological advancements. However, looking a little deeper, there are fundamental principles of digital transformation, and change management that cannot be ignored. Namely, the people and processes within the organization.
My colleague, Dennis Augustine, whom I respect greatly, advocates strongly, that the better way to implement change is through “evolution and not a revolution because in a revolution there are always martyrs”; I have seen this firsthand.
In the quest for digital transformation, I have seen organizations lean too heavily to the side of “technology for technology’s sake”, with the downside being a disruption to the enterprise, leaving many employees as “martyrs”. Martyrs, in the sense that they’re the last to be considered and are burdened and frustrated with the changes being forced upon them. The best outcome: They stay and slug it out hoping for better days ahead. The worst outcome: They leave your organization in frustration, and your human capital investment goes out the door with them.
When approached with a new technology that will “revolutionize” your enterprise, take a pause (not one of the five Ps, but still important) and consider the following:
To avoid having the tail wag the dog, have a clearly defined purpose and strategic organizational plan. It needs to be able to answer the questions, “Why?” and “Where are we headed?” – kind of a north-star or guiding principles that will help you filter out distractions and allow your organization to focus on change that really matters.
Most large organizations have complex problems or at best ambiguous ones, so it’s important to dig deeper and uncover the true problems that need solving. For example, many organizations will dive into a website redesign, when all they really need is training on how to create relevant content and optimize their conversion funnel so they can drive better engagement and customer satisfaction.
When undergoing organizational change and digital transformation, it’s important to talk to as many people in different areas of the organization to understand if they are facing a similar or a related problem you are trying to solve or if any proposed solutions will impact them. You also want to uncover any knowledge gaps that will be created by the introduction of a proposed technology or if its implementation will create a new role within the organization. Knowing this ahead of time will allow you to plan and create a reasonable timeline for bringing your people up to speed. It will also allow you to set realistic expectations for seeing the results of the change.
Like people, there are already established processes within most organizations and thus an examination of the processes will be warranted so you can factor changes into your plan for upskilling or communicating with your people. A thorough examination may also reveal other areas needing change or include other people not initially accounted for, thus requiring more discussion, discovery, and planning.
Address Platform (technology solutions) only after the discovery of Purpose, Problems, People, and Processes. The choice of platform, must address the true problems identified. Lastly, have a clear understanding of how the technology will be used and fit within the organization so you can minimize the negative impact on the people and make gradual and meaningful adjustments to the existing processes.
If you are currently facing digital transformation challenges and need help making sense of new enterprise technologies and innovation, please let us know and we’ll help you establish an effective roadmap to keep your organization relevant and optimized.
Ken is a two-time Sitecore Strategy MVP (2019-2020) who has been working with the Sitecore platform for more than eight years. He has over 20 years of experience in business analysis, software development, content management, marketing, and digital strategy.
Ken’s passion for data-backed marketing and personalization along with his coaching and training abilities, aids Konabos in helping dozens of Content Authors and Sitecore Marketers improve their productivity and knowledge of Sitecore; thus maximizing each client’s Sitecore investment.
In short, Ken makes the complex toolset of Sitecore, simple.