GUEST COLUMN: Who has driven your company’s digital transformation?

Ben Smit, business development manager from systems integrator AVEX asks 'who has driven your company’s digital transformation'?

Now that my kitchen table is also my office at the same time, I notice that I take the news even faster. It’s Covid-19 and all the measures around it that dominate the headlines of the news on a daily basis. Every day... again.

Last week I saw a poll on a website with the question: “Who in your company has driven the digital transformation?”. The choice one could make was: A) CEO, B) CIO or C) Covid-19. You probably know the answer most voters have chosen. And that is because technological adoption is often driven by external factors.Usually technology adoption can be a lengthy process. For example, one looks at competitive advantages, technical possibilities, etc. An important characteristic in an adoption process is also the relative advantage. The question that is asked is: “What is the advantage of innovation over existing technology?”. This can be time saving, more user-friendliness or cost reduction.

To answer the question, until recently it was important to include potential adopters in such an interactive process. Just to find out how big the relative advantage is and make it measurable. People want more insight into the data in order to proceed to decision making and to make a good business case.Never before has the adoption process been as fast as it is now and driven by all the measures taken to contain the coronavirus. Decision making processes that normally take months or even years are accelerated.

Examples are sectors such as government, healthcare, education and business. We also see that organisations often had a lot of trouble landing innovations and new technologies in a good way with their employees. Change processes that are slow (or deadlocked) because the wishes of the users are insufficiently met. As a result, the route to user adoption, enthusiasm and productive use often runs steeply upwards. Forced by the current situation and steep adoption one learns to appreciate the possibilities of technologies the quickest. Both the pros and cons.

My own colleagues (who work with this technique on a daily basis) are even surprised and get even more out of the solution than they already did. Comparable to the many options of your car or smartphone where you only use a few of them in the end. You only find out how useful these options are when you need them.Existing technology, introduced years ago, is only now being used for effective communication. In the past only used by some in the company, now forced by everyone. Because under pressure, everything liquefies. Perhaps this is a ray of hope for the new way of working in this new one-and-a-half-metre economy.