According to a research, by 2020, around 2.5 billion people will be connected across various social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. Pointing towards this trend of increasing use of the digital space to share information and build partnerships, Vlasta Dusil, Head of Human Resources, SAP, stated that as we enter an era of fast paced information sharing, an era that is finding an increasing usage of machine learning and the Internet of things, we also run the risk of over complicating the process. Thus for any business undertaking transformation processes in the coming years should be cognizant of this fact.
Transforming into a digital company
Vlatsa Dusil stressed on the importance of focusing on transformational results that are sustainable in nature. To do this, it is important to not see the transformation process as a process of simply converting existing paper intensive work into a digital platform which basically serves the same purpose. It ends up defeating the purpose of undergoing a digital transformation process. What becomes necessary here is the aspect of bringing fresh thinking into the picture. Leaders need to identify the reasons that justify a transformation process and what digital transformation would bring within the company. The process of digital transformation would actually be able to contribute towards increasing the efficiency of business processes only when clear areas of improvement are identified.
Vlatsa also shared how certain processes within SAP like digitizing board room interactions and talent mobility decisions have yielded favourable results. For example, the process of digitizing board meetings helped members of the board have access to real time data for making results rather than looking at old data collated in spread sheets weeks before the actual meeting. Along with this they were also able to shift to a paper free meeting structure. These changes combined with the digital application of predictive analytics on qualitative data for various purposes like recruitment and managing attrition rates were some instances with successful implementation of a digital transformation process. But the success of this process depended heavily on the leadership of the company who outlined clear results of digitization.
Impact on workforce
The first impact after a company has undertaken a transformation process has always been on the immediate workforce. The impact gets further amplified within certain organizations that have a multigenerational workforce. With organizations possessing almost 5 different generations in one cohort of employees, the impact is unevenly distributed across the group. Along with this, transformation processes also blur organizational boundaries. The digitizing of work increases employee’s access to it, enabling them to explore options like remote work and work from home options. Excessive digitization of processes also leads to them becoming more complex in nature, impeding business growth rather than supporting it.
This brings the onus on HR professionals today to be proactive in designing people processes to ensure digital transformation within organizations which lead to sustainable changes.