Digital transformation can be defined in different ways for different people. For global IT and business process management firm Visionet Systems India’s MD and CEO of BFSI Business Alok Bansal, it is integration of digital technology into all the facets of business operations, right from how things are operated to the delivery of the final product to the customers.
“For me, digital transformation also means challenging the status quo and bracing for the digital disruptions happening in the economy. The need for digital transformation was acutely felt during the pandemic and now through cloud computing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI), we are making our businesses smarter and better. This will also help in opening new vistas of opportunity, accelerate effective decision-making processes and increase customer satisfaction,” he adds.
In current times, when companies are digitising their operations for business growth, the role of HR has become more critical and Bansal sees this time as “a mix of responsibilities and challenges.”
Companies may be utilising social media and using AI for an easier recruitment process now but it is very important to keep human relations intact while making the most of technical advancements.
Bansal says a company in the process of change should adopt a culture wherein it should be ready to embrace new changes without neglecting the morale of its staff.
“New workshops and training can be provided to the employees as well as senior managers to adapt to the changes. Even though the digitalisation of the HR process results in reduced paperwork and saves time in recording employee details, it can lead to a breach of privacy and there are chances of mismatched data leading to negative employee assessment,” he adds.
Bansal also contends HR can offer flexibility to the workforce and an integrated learning approach so that employees get comfortable with the process. HR could also initiate continuous employee engagement programmes where feedback can be obtained at regular intervals, including the challenges they are facing and then, solutions could be provided to them.
On the other hand, he reiterates that organisations need to have a strong change management strategy for digital transformation to succeed.
As many employees, especially those who are not tech savvy and are resistant to change, may find it difficult to handle the new technologies, Bansal says companies that are not well-equipped with IT infrastructure or skills can consider upskilling their employees sensitively. They can also beef up their cyber security systems as data privacy is a major concern today.
“In the BFSI industry, we identify talents capable of driving digitalisation and train them for leadership roles so that they can assist other employees. If there is an absence of such talent, there is always an option of hiring a consultant. There are also Digital Adaptation Platforms that can assist the employees with training tutorials,” he adds.
Leading the digital transformation journey in today’s business scenario
Leaders should have a clear strategy, vision, and goals pertaining to the digitisation process, Bansal says.
“A leader should have the technical know-how to lead from the front and the ability to inspire employees to do the same. The returns do not arrive overnight and leaders should have the patience to wait for them,” he adds.
Frequent interaction with the employees will further reduce any miscommunication or issues that may arise due to technological shifts.
“Many organisations are using data visualisation to communicate information clearly and efficiently to users and stakeholders through statistical graphics, plots, infographics, and dynamic tables and charts. Digital strategies can be refined from time to time based on prior outcomes and pitfalls. Shorter turnaround time and fewer errors will eventually help in maximising ROIs,” he says.
Managing change for employees - a primer for organisations
Putting people first is the mantra behind the success of any business. Every employee may not be receptive to change, especially in the event of a tectonic shift like digitalisation.
“The changes should be aligned with business goals and the employees must feel that the digital transformation is inevitable. Upskilling programmes can be introduced through subject matter experts and mentors.They can conduct orientation programmes and companies can also identify key ambassadors of change within the organisation.
"This will be an added advantage as employees will not be apprehensive in clearing their doubts with the help of their colleagues. Company leaders can also engage employees in their decision-making process so that they feel included in the big change,” says Bansal.
The changing contours of technology in the next decade
Considering the pace at which technology is evolving, the future may well be beyond our comprehension, Bansal feels.
“Quantum computing, I believe, will drive the technological future and virtual boundaries will expand even more. In fact, Cisco has predicted that there will be 500 billion devices connected to the internet by 2030. It is estimated that 79.4 zettabytes of data will be generated through automation, 3D printing and robots. Cyber crimes will be dealt with trust architectures,” he says.
There will also be advancements in the field of biology as well as DNA sequencing along with the development of hyper-personalised medicines. “Energy conservation will happen at an increasing pace in the coming years and we can also hope for clean tech trends like greener transport, sustainable water consumption and earth-friendly office buildings,” he adds.