Everyone alive today will have the opportunity to experience what it is like to move from one era of human development to another. This new era will be one where we love, work, learn and age in a completely different way to our forebears.
This year is going to be a critical one for the process of digital transformation of society and the economy. Individuals and companies have already realised that change, and in particular digital change and digital transformation, is a necessity that needs to be made a top priority, so that we can all learn to overcome our present challenges and survive the future ones.
Last year I co-authored a book entitled “The Great Opportunity. Keys to leading the digital transformation of enterprises and technology” in which I defined a new formula for success of digital transformation. Twelve months on, I would like to share a refreshed version of that formula, which has benefitted from experience and discussion with clients, as well as further consideration and research. DT= (Ve x Va x N x H) + (Human Factors x customers x technology) x Com
This formula is intended to help everyone understand the elements that, in my personal view, are critical to tackling the key elements of a profound, and necessary, process of digital transformation.
The formula has 3 parts. Firstly, human values and characteristics that are essential to this process; secondly, the agents of transformation; and thirdly communication. In other words, the formula encompasses both “soft” and “hard” skills, if you want to view it that way.
In the end, what we are all going to experience is a profound social and economic change which is strongly impacted by digital technology. Therefore, this thinking will also apply to many other changes taking place in society and the economy, which are not directly associated with digital transformation.
PART 1 – HUMAN VALUES AND CHARACTERISTICS
Let’s start our understanding of the formula driving this transformation by recognising the values and the intrinsic reasons that lead us to this change. Digital transformation is primarily a challenge and a “human” experience and therefore we must understand the human values and characteristics that we need to promote, if we want to succeed in this complex process.
Velocity: We have to be quick, because we live an age of exponential change. A rapid start will be needed, to encourage everyone to learn, experiment and explore, but also so that we can gain a competitive edge and arrive before others.
Valour: We also have to be brave; we must make decisions without all the necessary information and data. So at a certain level we must trust our instincts and be brave, turning the challenge of the unknown into an opportunity. We need to be aware that change is a necessity, not an option. No turning back, no alternative is possible, except change.
Need: A team’s level of motivation and morale is of vital importance in a time of rapid and constant change and transformation, both of the workplace as well as of the business model and competitive environment. A successful team leader needs to understand how his/her workers feel and help them expect success, so that they can act successfully, and ultimately succeed.
Humility: Speaking about humility in corporate environments may seem too “soft” an issue. But humility is increasingly important, reminds us that do not know everything and we have to be willing to learn. Arrogant attitudes of the past, giving way to a leadership style closer and open to hear and learn are the pillars of the new leaders.
PART 2 – THE AGENTS OF TRANFORMATION
There are three main agents of transformation. The main ones, which are also the most complex, are related to people, that is our own teams and clients. Within the processes of change the organization itself can become our own worst enemy. The cultural change that is required by digital transformation involves talent renewal processes, organizational changes, learning to work differently, while also mixing generations and areas of expertise. All of this must happen at once, so it is vital to speed up and put in motion the machinery of internal change.
Above all, whatever we do, the customer has to be the ‘raison d’etre’ of the organization. Today we have tools to know our clients better and be ready to deliver what they need at all times, thanks to technology.
You might be surprised that technology has been placed almost last in our formula. Although technology is part of the means by which we have to achieve change and also the main reason why everything is changing, we cannot put it at the center of everything we do. Technology should be a tool that allows us to adapt our business to the changing needs of our clients, but technology must always be viewed against what really makes sense for our market and our business and above all, to our clients.
PART 3 – COMMUNICATION: LET THE WORLD KNOW
Whatever we do, let us not forget the importance of communication, both internally within our organisations and externally with the market. We have to share what we want to achieve, as well as the reason for the changes. Our clients need to feel that we are up to dealing with a reality where, as the philosopher Bauman says, “everything is fluid” and there are no boundaries between the physical and virtual realms. A world that surprises us every day and that will surprise us in the future even more.
I encourage you to develop your own formula. Use it. Change it. Evolve it, improve it and share it again. This iterative learning process will make our industry, our societies and our economies stronger, and more competitive. It will allow us to be better prepared for a future and a world that is even closer than we previously imagined.
Mosiri Cabezas is Director of Digital Transformation and Business Acceleration at Telefónica, with over 16 years’ experience in the development and deployment of digital services for Europe and Latin America. Previously she held senior positions in various business areas and Telefonica Moviles and brand marketing for Telefonica SA. She is an Economist from the University of the Basque Country, completed her training in France at the University Pierre Mendes France and did an EMBA with a specialization in e-business at the Instituto de Empresa.