In this current age, everything is about technology. It’s used in the classroom by Teachers and Pupils, for staying in contact with friends and family, for everyday activities like food and clothes shopping. So surely it’s common sense that technology will be a major enabler of change, to help achieve business strategies, in a similar way to its everyday use of making life easier? However, there are several consistent challenges which can block implementation. Below are a few of the most common challenges and some simple steps which can help overcome these blockers and facilitate transformation.
Change is scary and this can be amplified when it involves technology. It’s easy to get carried away and think about all the “what ifs and what abouts”. In a short amount of time, what was anticipated as an enabler can become a deep hole too hard to climb out of. This can be overcome by keeping things simple; it’s important to have a clearly defined scope. Identifying the overall goal of the project, agreeing the deliverables and confirming the boundaries (what processes, people and products will be in and out of scope) helps keep a project manageable and achievable. Once this has been determined, it will help set the direction for the project, keeping it straight forward.
Once the scope has been confirmed, the next challenge is ensuring the correct information is being provided to facilitate planning and delivery. Local agendas can jeopardise the overall project. Stakeholders need to put aside politics and work together to ensure the success of the project. Identifying the right skills and capabilities and then harnessing these can enable a team to perform more efficiently. Too much pressure on one individual can cause bottlenecks. In addition, if an individual tries to retain power by withholding information it makes it an uphill struggle to achieve the outcomes which will benefit everyone. It can put the overall project at risk in terms of delivering within budget and on time. A stakeholder analysis can be useful tool in overcoming this.
If all the stakeholders aren’t clear on the objectives, this could be why they’re not being transparent. Understanding the purpose of the project from the Management layer down to the Operational layer will help overcome misunderstanding. Taking the time to collect input, work through processes and review the outputs can help pinpoint where additional governance is required. Whilst this might be time-consuming, in the long run it facilitates the management of risk (preventing surprise and potentially failure). It may not be intentional, but stakeholders can be a big challenge if they’re not engaged correctly.
A critical delivery success factor therefore is communication. Stakeholders who do not fully understand the benefits of the Digital Transformation may be slow on the uptake or reluctant to embrace. It’s essential to therefore own the communication and provide regular updates to gain full support. Without a united approach from top to bottom, with the appointment of change champions within each stakeholder group, the implementation and delivery will flounder. Getting the right communication out to the right stakeholders at the right time can help mitigate the fear of change and build trusting relationships.
Now that you’ve overcome the consistent challenges by defining a scope, being transparent regarding the objectives, ensuring stakeholder understanding and owning the communication, the final step is to keep momentum. It’s a useful exercise to regularly review the scope and objectives. It’s important that the stakeholders remain committed and engaged. This requires the right resources being available, whether that’s funding, people, equipment or time. Consider both the tangible and intangible resources and ensure these are managed correctly to facilitate delivery.
So whilst there might be other challenges preventing Digital Transformation as an enabler of change, to avoid getting S.T.U.C.K, overcoming these five challenges will make the process easier.