The key message at Microsoft Future Decoded 2017 was ‘create a culture that embraces digital transformation’.
With cloud, big data, and artificial intelligence already rewriting the rules of business and competition in every industry, the speakers discussed how the escalating pace of change, particularly around automation, AI, blockchain, and quantum computers, would impact on organisations and their employees.
Clare Barclay, Chief Operating Officer at Microsoft UK, was the first of the keynotes to speak during the morning session on Tuesday 31 October 2017. She announced Microsoft’s latest white paper ‘Creating a culture of digital transformation’, which encapsulated the discussion points of the day’s keynotes.
This report revealed results of a survey of UK business and IT leaders. It found that 53% felt that their sectors were facing significant digital disruptions, yet 47% had no formal digital transformation strategy, and only 23% said their organisation had undertaken a major programme to change its workplace and organisational culture.
The report also highlighted five key challenges that organisations must overcome to successfully navigate their digital transformation journey. Specifically:
- Collaboration not competition: The concept of working with machines can be confusing and unsettling for many employees, particularly if technologies dramatically change their roles and responsibilities. The leaders of transformation programmes must help people understand the collaborative potential of new digital technologies.
- Embrace fear: Organisational change can create a feeling of fear and stress. Transformation leaders must acknowledge the anxiety change can cause and proactively support employees through it.
- Demonstrate value: Employees don’t always buy into the digital transformation strategy. Offer the resources and a framework for people to experiment and build on new technologies themselves. It’s also important to highlight successes and transformation milestones within the organisation to reinforce why this journey is so important.
- Respect your ecosystem: It’s a challenge to align your organisation with broader political and economic factors and outcomes. Understand the internal and external environment you operate in and how new digital technologies should fit within it.
- Live agile: Your organisation may experience resource constraints which could inhibit the creation of an agile digital culture. Transformation leaders should help people move to a flexible, forward-thinking culture of continuous improvement and innovation.
Many business and IT leaders may feel this list of challenges cannot be overcome for organisations of their size, or structure, or within the sector they operate in. However, Microsoft believes that all organisations should attempt to break down the barriers that restrict innovation and must ultimately develop their own unique plan for digital transformation. This approach will make organisations more responsive to change internally and externally, and help employees embrace new technological opportunities rather than treat them with suspicion.
Watch the Vision Keynote from Microsoft Future Decoded 2017 here:
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