Why change management and digitalization are inseparable & do's and don'ts on how to successfully shape change
The ability of companies to adapt quickly and successfully to perpetual change is crucial to working in a future-oriented and competitive manner. This is precisely where change management comes in. Actively shaping change and leading the way as a pioneer always requires the willingness of one's own staff to embark on this path. When entire processes and structures are overturned, resistance or concerns can quickly arise among the workforce. But digitalisation is not just about making your organisation more efficient. Through the automation it builds up, it should above all also relieve your employees of repetitive routine tasks. This frees up capacities to devote themselves to core tasks again.
(Unsure where exactly the difference between digitalisation and automation lies? Here we explain it.)
These changes can only be successful if everyone involved pulls together and change management is seen as an important part of the digitisation and automation process. Without the involvement of your team members, who will be significantly affected by the consequences of digitalisation and whose work processes will ultimately change, digitalisation processes cannot be successful. We provide tips on how to reduce emotional hurdles and shape the change of digitalisation.
Your employees will continue to be an indispensable part of your organisation. Take away their worries by implementing the following five points:
Be open about expected changes in the activities of your team members throughout the process. Yes, subtasks will be automated and thus no longer required for the team member. Address this from the beginning and agree together with the team member how the capacities thus freed up and the newly gained working time can be used. Avoid mere specifications, but design a cooperative process.
Don't: Do not initiate change out of fear of change
In The Future of Jobs Report from 2018, the World Economic Forum assumed that 75 million jobs will be lost by 2022 due to digitalisation and automation. At the same time, it estimates that 133 million new jobs will be created as a result of this change. These figures suggest that we are in for an even more extensive transformation and that the adaptability not only of individuals but of entire organisations is becoming more and more important.
In the future, it will be less IQ and more EQ that will determine competitiveness. Not initiating change out of fear of this change can lead to loss of productivity in the medium term and loss of marketability in the long term. Be a pioneer on the path of digitalisation and automation and create the future instead of falling victim to it. Your enabler in this is change management.
Do: Create transparency to achieve acceptance
To be sure of the support and cooperation of your staff, transparency and involvement are essential right from the start. The entire digitisation project must be supported by the staff, because acceptance will determine whether it succeeds or fails. So involve your team members during all phases of the project, listen to them and listen to their concerns.
Before the project starts, it is a good idea to form an interdisciplinary project team with members from IT, management, human resources and the departments concerned. At a kick-off meeting, creative methods such as design thinking can be used to outline the automation and digitalisation journey and address the expectations of all participants.
Don't: View digitisation only as an operational change
Digitalisation and automation will change large parts of the working world in the future. For your company and your workforce, they are not only a means to increase productivity. Automation, in particular, is also bringing about personal and emotional change and is expected to have an impact on socio-economic and psychological factors in the future. Therefore, do not underestimate the impact that digitalisation will have on all areas of your company.
To overcome this hurdle, you should ensure that your team members are guaranteed the freedom they need for successful change management. Avoid unnecessarily long decision-making paths, rigid hierarchies and knowledge sovereignty throughout the project. In this way, you enable your staff to optimally collaborate and receive information during all phases of the project.
We have created a checklist to help you master change management in the course of digitalisation and automation.
Encourage knowledge transfer, both internally and externally. Your own employees can help each other and thus have a decisive influence on the success of digitalisation and automation. Also rely on voluntariness in this regard. Sponsorships promote commitment among the coaches on the one hand and increase the acceptance of the project among the coachees on the other.
But external expertise can also be helpful. To overcome scepticism, to carry out technical training but also to implement the processes sustainably, it can be worthwhile to use external advice. The goal should be that your staff sees and accepts digitalisation as a facilitation and a way of working together. After all, your supporting digitalisation processes are only really supportive if they are perceived and used as such. In this way, friction losses can be avoided and optimal human and digital cooperation can be created. External consultants also help to increase the commitment of the project.
Don't: View digitisation as an event rather than a process
Automation in particular is not something that, once implemented, will run without your further intervention for the next 20 years while you sit back and watch profitability increase. Automation and digitalisation continue to require training, management, monitoring and adjustment. Especially with regard to your staff, you should never lose sight of education and training in the use of automated processes.
During the project phase of implementation, you should focus on short-term wins and duly appreciate and celebrate interim successes. Do you need to digitise certain processes before automating them? Very well, consider this step as a sub-project whose success can be appreciated by all stakeholders.
Do: Anchor digitalisation and automation in the corporate culture
Automation requires cross-departmental work. Most of the time, the IT department is responsible for providing the technical infrastructure and the backend, but is not informed in detail about the processes and activities of the departments. The departments, on the other hand, naturally know your work processes in detail, but lack the technical know-how to implement the automation. Just as you should put together an interdisciplinary project team at the beginning of the automation project, it is indispensable to train your employees specifically and in the long term on what is possible in the area of digitalisation and automation. The goal is for your staff to independently recognise at which interfaces and processes further improvement is possible. You can then leave the technical implementation to the specialists. We are happy to support you in uncovering potential, highlighting possibilities and implementing automation.
Cloud Integration, iPaaS, SaaS, BPA… Ough, hard to keep track of all these terms. They are currently used frequently (and increasingly) in the context of automation, and it is sometimes difficult to make a clear distinction and distinction. We have already written blog posts on the terms iPaaS, SaaS and BPA, but we’ll take them up again here to make the difference.
But let’s start with cloud integration, because that’s the central umbrella term in which we embed all the other technologies in this blog post.
To illustrate these advantages, an example is suitable that we know well from our everyday work as an automation agency:
The central data to be used here is the data of a major customer. This can be the simplest information, such as the address. This address is required in numerous but completely different processes in the company: on the one hand, for correct invoicing in accounting. On the other hand, in the CRM system, where all the data of the large customer is also stored. But the address is also important in sales, for example, when employees go to the sales meeting on site.
Now the customer announces that the address of the company has changed after a move. This information will reach you by e-mail. There are now two options:
01. The e-mail is forwarded to all affected departments, accounting, sales, customer service, marketing… All persons open their corresponding program, CRM, accounting software, marketing tools (such as newsletter marketing) and change the data already stored there of the customer. This means that in multiple applications, different people do exactly the same thing: change one address. 02. But there is also an alternative: By connecting your applications, thus by integrizing them, the customer’s e-mail, or rather the information it contains about the address change, is automatically passed on to all affected applications: CRM, accounting, marketing, ERP. This does not require any clicks, because the cloud integration detects a trigger, i.e. address change, and thus automatically starts the process.
What sounds unimpressive in a single process becomes more effective when such a process occurs several times a day or weekly. Because there is a lot of data that is available in different applications and should always be correct. If these applications are cloud applications they are suitable for cloud integration.
But cloud integration doesn’t just happen. There are now a variety of applications that enable and implement this. Such tools usually allow us to link the relevant cloud applications on a central platform and define clear rules on when, how, where, how much data should be passed on and what happens to them.
IPaaS, SaaS, BPA, ABC – who can still see through it?
To realize cloud integration, there are various applications and technologies that are sometimes used interchangeably.
Cloud integration cannot be done without SaaS, iPaaS and BPA
Cloud integration is rather an umbrella term that includes numerous technologies, such as SaaS, iPaaS and BPA, and this is also absolutely necessary. Cloud integration is a concept that is made possible by appropriate technologies.
However, all terms share the commonality that they are cloud-based and thus offer enormous potential for growth and scaling. In addition, they are often cheaper to implement and maintain because changed requirements are easy to implement.
As an independent automation agency, we implement cloud integration according to your requirements. We use a variety of SaaS tools and iPaas (strictly speaking BPA) software. Together we find individual solutions that are flexible and scalable.