Most companies, and therefore people, have been immersed in the digital world for many, many years. We’ve experienced this digital transformation step-by-step and mostly embraced its fast-paced, yet sometimes subtle changes. Since the pandemic, however, we’ve been forced to jump onto a speeding train to catch up with the digital requirements of our rapidly changing work environment. Sending employees home to work left many businesses scrambling to provide the remote tools needed for continued business operations. Whether back in the office or still working remotely, you and your company may have found yourselves facing digital obstacles that get in the way of doing your best work.
Managing technology in an office can be hard enough. The company has to provide…among other things…computers, software, internet, bandwidth, data storage, cybersecurity, and the capital to procure equipment and services. Some technology obstacles you may run into include:
Using multiple platforms that aren’t connected
- Weak internet (manly those working remotely)
- Hardware and software incompatibility
- Access from multiple locations and/or devices
- Constant threat of a security breach adds extra steps that can hinder access outside of a firewall
- Depending on someone’s position or place of employment, access outside of the office may be restricted
These are all issues that can hinder workflow and cause disruptions in operations. Poor planning can add extra expenses, as well as a delay in completing work assignments. An IT nightmare is to purchase new software, then find out the current hardware won’t support it. Many governmental entities found themselves in dire straits when they needed their employees to continue working while on lockdown during the pandemic. This was an issue for some positions since access outside the network was strictly prohibited.
There are many cultural obstacles to deal with as well. Whether it’s you personally, teammates, bosses, or subordinates, there are going to be differences in age, income, education, location, and attitudes that can also hinder workflow. These aspects are just as important as the technological ones. Some cultural obstacles to consider include:
- Some older people are still not very comfortable with using technology
- Some lower-income people may not have computers at home (if expected to work from home)
- People living in rural areas may not have a strong internet connection (if expected to work from home)
- People not used, or even open, to the idea of working from home are unlikely to have a designated work area in their home like an office
- Some people don’t have the skillset to comfortably learn new technology
- Company execs don’t see the value in spending the money on technology that will help employees work more efficiently
- Company execs aren’t comfortable with taking the risks of investing in new technology
- Employees don’t see the need for new technology
- Silo view of work processes
This list could go on for a while, but you get the picture. We have to look beyond technology and include the human aspect. It’s up to management to provide staff with the proper resources, as well as incorporate them into the process through collaboration and accountability. They need to see the value in the technology and the part they play in making it work successfully in completing their work as well as accomplishing the company’s goals.
Digital Transformation obstacles
Digital transformation is the incorporation of digital technology across all areas of a business that creates vital changes to how a business operates and how it benefits customers. It requires companies to continually look beyond the current technology, promoting process improvement through experimentation and opening up to possible failure. This can be challenging when trying to move management and/or staff away from long-held processes that people are comfortable with. It is a living process that takes planning and continual review. Jumping into digital transformation without forethought can create a myriad of technology and cultural obstacles, some of which are:
- Lack of knowledge of how to implement digital transformation
- Limited budget
- Pushback from staff
- Learning curve for staff and possibly customers
- Uncertainty of what the outcome will be
- Finding a solution that integrates all platforms
- Departments with silo viewpoints
- No clear or defined strategy
- Executives are not supporting the changes by being absent during the process
This process takes on different levels of complexity depending on the company’s size and needs. This applies to any transformation or change, regardless of scale. Whether tackling a new software that improves a process or a large-scale transformation that completely changes everything, there are some practices you can put in place to help mitigate some of these obstacles:
- Know that digital transformation is an imperfect process and there will be hiccups along the way
- Identify opportunities and risks before undertaking changes
- Create a digital-rich culture that attracts tech-savvy talent
- Executives have to be open to innovation before they can expect employees to do the same
- Have a clear vision and goals that align with that vision
- Garner engagement by showing the benefits of new technology
Overall it’s important to be aware of these possible obstacles when laying out expectations for your company’s workflow when we’re so dependent on digital technology to get you through.
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