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Digital Transformation: How to Get Customers on Board

It’s natural for people to want to stick with what has worked, so the suggestion that an organization must completely “transform” can be intimidating at best and terrifying at worst.

The hardest part of digital transformation has almost as much to do with people as it does with technology—presenting service providers with a golden opportunity.

According to CompTIA, most companies do not feel fully prepared to enter this new digital era. “While IT pros have built confidence over the past year (34% extremely confident in 2016 compared to 24% extremely confident in 2015), this optimism is not fully shared by business function employees (24% extremely confident in 2016) or executives (17% extremely confident in 2016),” states the February 2017 CompTIA report “Building Digital Organizations.”

CompTIA further notes that small businesses are less likely than larger companies to feel confident in their technical acumen—and to put more weight on traditional goals.

Regardless, states the CompTIA report, “digital transformation is vital for future success, and companies of all sizes will need to understand the proficiencies required to become a digital organization.”

All of this presents the perfect opportunity for service providers to help companies, both large, and especially small, move the digital transformation needle. It’s natural for people to want to stick with what has worked, so the suggestion that an organization must completely “transform” can be intimidating at best and terrifying at worst. Here are five ways service providers can help their customers make the shift in a way that makes employees feel both respected and supported, while enabling the company to meet strategic IT, business and security goals.

1. Don’t be disdainful of what has worked in the past.

Sure, you’re enthusiastic about the ways in which digital transformation can position companies for growth, and you know what technology products, services and models can drive the move to digital transformation. But it’s important not to make employees feel like you are pooh-poohing—or ignoring—what currently works. Show respect for the old, but …

2. … Make sure employees are ready for the future.

Be clear about what’s happening and why it’s happening. Explain to employees how new ways of working can help them increase productivity and thus, the potential to try new things and grow not just the bottom line but their own career potential. Depending on the employees, it might make sense to offer classroom-like training or web tutorials, or maybe even one-on-one support. But it’s extremely important that you … 

3.  … Know your audience.

Don’t treat employees as one lump group. There are some employees who will be eager to try new things and will intuitively figure out most of it, and some who will go kicking and screaming all the way. Target training and support accordingly, but …

4. … Don’t make assumptions.

When you are figuring out how best to support employees, do not assume that “older” employees will need hand-holding and that millennials (and Generation Z) will be good to go on their own. It might make sense to provide employees with a quick self-assessment of their comfort and skill level, and what they would like in the way of training. Just make sure all employees understand that …

5. …Digital transformation is not a one-and-done deal.

Yes, there is some upfront foundational work (down to modernizing the data center and integrating public and private clouds) that needs to be done, but the whole point of digital transformation is that the company is agile and ready to make the next move whenever and wherever it makes sense (in large part, driven by mobile and determined by the increasing use of data analytics throughout the company). 

In this context, lines of responsibility are shifting as business units find themselves doing more IT-oriented work (and thinking) and vice versa. “The collaborative environment that digital organizations are creating implies shifts in responsibility,” the CompTIA report states. “Obligations that previously fell to the IT team—and, in doing so, defined that function—are now shared between IT and lines of business.”

This is the sweet spot for service providers that can provide time, expertise and the right technology solutions to move the company—and its culture—to a digital future. By following these guidelines presented here, providers can help ensure that the path to digital transformation is a smooth one.

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