The good news? A majority of organizations have a digital transformation strategy in place. The bad news? Most of them aren’t going according to plan.
A recent study we did titled The State of Intelligent Process Automation found the majority of companies (64 percent) have followed a formal digital transformation plan for three years or less, while one-third of companies have followed a plan for one year or less. While organizations are firmly planted in the early adoption stage of their digital transformation plans and many demonstrate advanced maturity, internal organizational problems are limiting progress.
Specifically, our report uncovered a key barrier to overall digital transformation success: poor top-down communication. Failures to effectively communicate across the organization, as well as a lack of training, are preventing many companies from moving their digital transformation strategies forward. In fact, less than half (47 percent) of line of business (LOB) employees even know what digital transformation is.
Your company’s success is tied to the ability to maintain momentum with your digital transformation efforts. And to recapture momentum, you need to find new ways to improve communication and clarify leadership for digital transformation initiatives.
Poor communication and a lack of training kill digital transformation progress
Decision makers cite poor interdepartmental communication (35 percent) and insufficient employee training on new technology (32 percent) as primary obstacles to digital progress. Part of the problem involves a lack of information sharing between managers and the rest of the workforce. Our study found that 67 percent of managers are aware of digital transformation, compared to just 27 percent of non-managers.
The lack of information about digital transformation stokes employees’ fear that they will be replaced by machines. Thirty-six percent of LOB employees say they’re concerned new tools will eliminate their jobs, even though 13 percent claim they are unaware what these tools even do. This indicates not only a need for stronger communication, but a gap in training.
Overall, we’re seeing a shortfall in the alignment needed to achieve permanent change from transformation initiatives. Breakdowns in communication, processes and training hinder progress on the digital transformation journey. But the solution doesn’t begin with employees – it starts with executives and decision makers.
How to jump start your company’s digital transformation plan
Your organization has already invested substantial time and resources in digital transformation and you can’t afford to let internal obstacles stall your progress. To stay on track, there are several best practices you can follow to more effectively engage line of business employees in digital transformation efforts.
- Make top-down communication about digital transformation a priority.
As cited earlier, many LOB employees are out of the loop on digital transformation. This awareness gap has serious consequences for organizations because it creates a barrier to progress. Lack of clear communication of the organization’s goals and employees’ role in that journey only leads to confusion and disillusionment
Top-down communication is critical for improving organizational awareness about the organization’s transformation journey. By clearly communicating your digital transformation plan and describing how new technologies like automation and AI impact employees’ day-to-day activities and long-term career paths, you can incentivize them to become partners and even advocates throughout the process.
- Educate your workforce about your digital transformation journey.
LOB employees who don’t understand digital transformation view automation as a threat to their jobs. Nearly a third of employees believe that intelligent capabilities jeopardize their current role, despite the fact that companies are hiring additional staff to manage digital transformation rather than replacing human employees with automated technologies.
It’s important to educate the entire organization about your digital transformation journey and the benefits of intelligent process automation. In some cases, employees may even provide insights that improve the implementation and adoption of new technologies.
- Empower LOBs with intelligent process automation.
A third (33 percent) of leaders cite lack of sufficient training for LOB employees on new technologies as a barrier to progress for digital solutions. Maybe that’s why just 53 percent of decision-makers say their LOB staff are extremely likely to use new tools that will be implemented as part of digital transformation plans.
No-code and low-code intelligent process automation technologies facilitate the adoption of new tools by empowering LOB employees to automate workflows without over-reliance on IT to solve every problem. When combined with a Center of Excellence (CoE), no-code and low-code platforms that make it easy to manage, automate and optimize business processes not only accelerate progress – they also engage employees in the process.
Challenges and obstacles are inevitable in any digital transformation initiative. But a lack of communication and training are major barriers to progress. By clearly communicating about digital transformation and creating a center of excellence to empower LOB employees, you can eliminate these barriers and lay the groundwork for your entire workforce to become more engaged in your digital transformation journey.
is CEO of Nintex and a proven SaaS executive with more than two decades of financial and operational experience at mid- and large-sized software companies. From 2014-2018 Eric served as Nintex CFO where he was key in driving the company’s move to the cloud and subscription pricing. Prior to that, Eric served as vice president of finance for Jive Software, where he helped lead the company through its IPO process, and before that, as vice president of worldwide sales operations at Serena Software. He has also held financial and operational leadership positions at Merant, InFocus Corporation and IBM (formerly Sequent).