As we discussed in our second digital transformation blog post, “3 ways to drive business outcomes with a digital transformation," the most convenient technological experiences that employees enjoy outside of work become their minimum expectation within the workplace. If you aren't set up to meet these expectations, you run the risk of reducing employee engagement which, in turn, negatively affects their ability to engage customers and help you surpass the competition.
In our last blog post, we investigated three steps needed on your digital transformation journey that involved assessing how you leverage information and technology today. Now it's time to dive deeper into the digital transformation process with a focus on empowering your employees to optimize data for useful insights. Answering the following three questions can help you move further in your journey:
1. Do you currently use data to tell you what has already happened?
2. Are you more advanced — using data as a proactive approach to tell you what can happen in the future?
3. Are you even farther along on your digital transformation journey — leveraging data to help you determine how to make what you need to happen to meet your goals come to fruition?
By this point, if you've followed the steps in “3 ways to drive business outcomes with a digital transformation," you've set yourself up to uncover more information that can help you drive bottom-line profitability and innovation by further engaging your team. The goal is to get your business to a place where you can answer question three in the affirmative and start optimizing your data to provide your team with actionable insights.
In "Constellation's 2014 Outlook on Dominating Digital Business Disruption," R "Ray" Wang notes, “Data analytics provide the ability to uncover insights, deliver relevancy and predict the future."3 Harnessing data analytics technology provides your team with smart data — helping them to gain valuable insights that lead to innovative ideas. There are a number of technologies available that can help you leverage information in this way, including:
Of course, for any of these technologies to offer truly valuable insights, your employees need to not only adopt them, they need to be able to use them with relative ease and little — or preferably, zero — frustration.
According to IDC, 77% of executives' top priorities depend on technology. Unfortunately, just because executives have deployed new technology doesn't mean it's being embraced by your team — a prerequisite for engaging employees and putting new technology to optimal use. How many times have we gone into a meeting room and seen a whiteboard that nobody uses for presentations? How you utilize your technology is important, but if it's not adapted to your company's specific needs, employees will rarely take the time to learn how to use it — especially if the learning curve and time investment is high. Ultimately, this scenario can lead to an unproductive and frustrating work environment that creates more disengaged employees. The key is to do the extra research to help ensure that you're not buying technology that isn't user friendly and doesn't serve your purposes efficiently.
Employees need to be able to walk into a meeting room and feel confident that they can use your collaborative technology with the knowledge that it will be effective and help them gain buy-in for their ideas. Sharing ideas and collaborating effectively are highly important necessities when it comes to driving innovation. This means employing collaborative technology that's easy to learn quickly and use effectively. But even the most ideal collaborative solutions have little use if employees don't have the smart data they need to help them prepare to present their ideas.
When looking for tools that can help you turn your data into insights, keep in mind that you need to enable your team to:
Although the value of specific data that employees can use to help your team innovate is important, understanding the value of all of your information is vital to finding technology that will help your team capitalize on this value.
Wang notes, “Since 2000, 52 percent of companies in the Fortune 500 have either gone bankrupt, been acquired or ceased to exist." This has a lot to do with the inability to keep up with the digital curve and the increasing competition in the marketplace. Arguably, it's also due to the fact that companies are trying to drive digital transformations without a full investigation into how the right technology can be used to drive business outcomes and engage employees. Seeking technology for technology's sake is never the answer.
This is why keeping a focus on how you can use technology to better engage your employees is so important. Meeting the expectations that have resulted from technological conveniences employees experience outside the workplace is an important consideration that should inform your decisions at every step along your digital transformation journey. Your goal should be to get to a place where your employees are happy and engaged. This will lead to increased productivity, improved customer experiences and more opportunities that arise from employee innovations.