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Embracing digital – what we’ve learnt about winning the digital adoption game

With a wealth of disruptive technologies emerging at an increasing rate, how can we ensure successful implementations which truly make a difference?

Every day within both our working lives and our personal lives we interact with technologies, be it our work laptop, phone or even being able to enter the Tube with a contactless card at the barrier. Technology is exciting because it's very difficult to predict what the market will look like in the long term. A successful adoption of a technology can enhance the speed of growth, market share and profitability for businesses. Take Netflix for example, gone are the days of sending a DVD in the post, now they offer a cloud-based streaming service to multiple countries. This didn’t happen overnight, so how have they sustained such growth?

We’re continually looking at what the next big disrupter is, and how can we better work with our clients to take advantage of these new advancements. Over the years we’ve learnt that successful adoption around technologies is all down to laying the groundwork within an organisation.

We started asking ourselves a basic but fundamental question recently which is: is there a better, more intuitive, adoption-focused approach when it comes to the discovery and implementation of innovative technologies? It is much more common to see new technologies fail to meet their expected potential in the short term, but often exceed it in the long term, so why is this? Can we adapt our approach to reverse this trend?

With exciting technologies such as AI, big data and machine learning being thrown around, it is, ultimately, still us humans who are responsible for creating, constructing and maintaining these technologies. While the latest innovations can arguably exceed the speed and amounts in which the human brain can process data, they are unable to construct more hardware or extend their limitation (yet). This is why the ‘people and change’ element of a project, focusing on training and upskilling the people affected by the technological change, is vital to any successful ‘digital’ transformation. One of the key requirements for any successful digital enablement is establishing leadership capabilities and ensuring that a top-down approach to change is adopted early in the project lifecycle.

Any change within a business which includes a digital change requires many elements to be included, which are often overlooked, ranging from HR, business processes, the customer experience, legal, upskilling of the workforce and ensuring a digital mindset is the default within the organisation.

A recently published survey by the Chartered Institute of IT stated that only 14% of organisations feel they have the capabilities internally to conduct any sort of transformation (BCS 2018 REPORT, 2018). So how can we look at a different approach to successfully enter this ‘in-demand’ market? By engaging with the right people and ensuring all activities are completed? Perhaps, in theory, it could work brilliantly and be a repeatable methodology which would ensure a successful digital implementation at every attempt. Unfortunately, the variables which exist in each client organisation and sector, such as complex barriers involving GDPR, internal policies, HR and legal can make this extremely difficult to pursue. One suggestion could be that we create a set of ‘digital mindset values’ which allows an organisation to work through enabling customers to ‘arrive at the stations’ on their digital roadmap.

This, in turn, could support a more successful adoption of the more difficult technologies which require much more than an online training document which nobody reads. Could we potentially look at ways of creating these values where, after an initial analysis, the current maturity is mapped out, and it is our role to partner with our clients to advance them to the agreed in-year objectives through our own digital accelerators?

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Sean Thain

Management consultant, digital technology, Capita Transformation

Sean has a background in IT development, digital transformation, solution design and operational excellence. His passion lies around emerging technologies and applying these to help Capita and its clients.

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