Creating a Digital Transformation Framework is Easier Than You Think

Dattatri Radhakrishna Digital Transformation
digital transformation framework - an easy way

Digital transformation frameworks provide the structure for integrating new technology into your organization. Think of frameworks as your guide for changing the way your business operates and help you execute your digital transformation roadmap.

Building a digital transformation framework can seem overwhelming, but there’s a simple shortcut: borrow from different models of change management.

After all, digital transformations involve using technology to evolve your business, and evolution is essentially a form of continuous change.

We’ve outlined several ways that you can leverage techniques from proven change management models as you introduce new technology, tools, and software into your organization. Use these tips to jump-start your transformation initiative.

Design Your Digital Transformation Framework Strategy

Before implementing new technology, you need a plan of action. The McKinsey 7-S Model provides a solid starting point.

digital transformation framework - 7S model

McKinsey’s 7-S model is built around balancing seven elements: Strategy, Structure, Systems, Shared Values, Style, Staff, and Skills.

Let’s say you are implementing Salesforce across your company. You’ll start with the hard elements — those that are easiest to identify and heavily influenced by management: Strategy, Structure, and Systems.

  • Strategy: How long will the implementation process take? Will the rollout happen company-wide, or will you release it in phases?
  • Structure: Who will be in charge of the Salesforce implementation? Who will be most affected? Use a change management template to designate change leaders who will manage the transformation.
  • Systems: What systems will this disrupt? What is your current CRM system, and how will you handle the transition? Are you migrating from on-prem to the cloud? What are some potential challenges with security, training, testing, Onboarding etc.?

Then, you can address the soft elements — those that are more influenced by your staff and company culture: Shared Values, Style, Staff, and Skills.

  • Shared Values: Does your strategy align with your company’s values? For example, Salesforce has the capability to send automated emails, but some companies may be against automated communication with clients.
  • Style: Does your implementation plan fit the learning styles of your staff? Consider using a variety of training methods, such as elearning videos, hands-on training in small groups, and a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP).
  • Staff: Does your workforce have the support they need to adapt to these upcoming changes? Work with your leadership team to check in with employees throughout the transformation process.
  • Skills: Do your employees have the skills they need to adapt to changes? It’s important to identify skills gaps and address them as soon as possible.

Soft elements, particularly style, staff, and skills, can be addressed through training.

Factor Training into Your Digital Transformation Model

Employees can’t be expected to adopt new technology without the training they need to do so. For this aspect of your digital transformation framework, borrow from the “Knowledge” and “Ability” points from the ADKAR Model.

digital transformation framework - ADKAR process

In order for employees to adopt new technology, they need the knowledge to know how to make the transformation and the ability to apply that knowledge effectively.

Hands-on, easy-to-understand training is key; employees need ongoing guidance to maintain their confidence during the transformation (and their ability to be a part of it).

Take a Workday implementation, for example. One of the biggest Workday implementation challenges is that the platform may not directly align with your current system, making the transition more complex. Not only will your IT team need training on how to properly migrate data, but your employees will also need to understand how and where to input new data.

You can leverage a DAP to direct your employees to required fields and provide walk-throughs to help them find and input data correctly. Keeping the training within Workday allows employees to learn in the flow of work so their productivity doesn’t suffer during the transition.

Training helps you get ahead of some resistance to new technology, but for more emotional reactions to change, you’ll need to think beyond instructional guides.

Prepare for Resistance to the Transformation

Digital transformations are complex and require a lot of time and attention from your team; some resistance is inevitable. But Maurer’s 3 Levels of Resistance and Change Model can help you understand and prepare for negative reactions.

digital transformation framework - Maurer 3 levels of resistance

 

The model defines three levels of resistance:

  • I don’t get it.
  • I don’t like it.
  • I don’t like you.

Once you use the ADKAR model to move past “I don’t get it,” you can address the emotional reactions and lack of trust.

To win over team members who are unenthusiastic about the transition, your digital transformation framework should focus on the benefits to the company and your employees. There is a big difference between saying, “It is now company policy to use Microsoft SharePoint for all document management” and “We’re moving document management to Microsoft SharePoint to make document sharing easier and faster for our distributed workforce. We estimate this will save three hours of administrative work per employee each month.”

While the “I don’t like you” level of resistance may seem personal, it’s more about trust than your team’s actual perception of your character. Be sure to designate leaders who will vocally support the transformation and serve as guides for your team. If employees trust their leader’s expertise, they are less likely to avoid using the new tool.

Once you overcome resistance, you can focus on driving the transformation forward.

Maintain Momentum by Celebrating Short-Term Wins

Initial enthusiasm for new technology is likely to wane, especially if your employees don’t feel like their efforts are appreciated. Setting and celebrating milestones is crucial if you want to keep the transformation moving. In fact, Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model considers short-term wins to be an integral part of the change process.

Digital transformations can feel slow. Milestones provide a progress bar toward the completed transition and give you a chance to celebrate your team along the way. And celebrating small wins in public is great for morale: a McKinsey study revealed 67% of employees rank praise from immediate managers as a top non-financial motivator.

Be sure to share feedback for employees through the right channels. Shout-outs like “Ileana helped her team reach 80% user adoption for Salesforce in one month!” belong in a public Slack or Microsoft Team channel, while constructive feedback should be shared privately. You can also use tools like Lattice to share praise for individuals or teams publicly to involve the entire organization.

Solidify the Transformation as the New Norm

According to Lewin’s Change Model, a digital transformation cannot be considered successful until the change is established as the new status quo.

digital transformation framework - Lewin's Change Model

Lewin’s Model breaks transformations into three phases: unfreeze, change, and refreeze.

To adapt this to your digital transformation framework, start with “unfreezing” your current system and analyzing how you plan to improve upon it with new technology. For example, your current internal communication system might be a mix of email, conferencing tools like Zoom meetings, and other management and collaboration tools like Google Calendar. You have to unfreeze that process so that you can transform it.

During the change phase, your process can be molded, like water in an ice cube tray. Your digital transformation framework needs to create the mold you want to fill. In this case, your “mold” might be exclusively using Microsoft Teams for all internal communication, file sharing, and scheduling a meeting. You “unfreeze” the current process (disable Zoom & Google calendar for some time), transform (train on Microsoft Teams), and “refreeze” when your team is comfortable using Microsoft Teams or other tools.

Make Whatfix a Part of Your Digital Transformation Framework

Whatfix’s Digital Adoption Platform provides contextual, in-app guidance that helps users learn in the flow of work. If you are introducing new software or tools into your organization, our DAP can help you onboard your team with customized training. Whatfix has a number of features and capabilities that allows you to:

– Personalize onboarding

– Contextually train users based on their role and need

– Alert users about upgrades and changes to seamlessly transition your team
And much more…

Sign up for a demo to see how Whatfix can support your digital transformation initiatives.

Dattatri Radhakrishna

Dattatri Radhakrishna

VP of Engineering at Whatfix
Seasoned and inspiring tech leader with more than 23+ years in the IT industry who has built great engineering organizations from the ground up, through a long term strategic vision and hiring, backed by intuitive people management and sound organization planning. Datta is highly skilled in delivering complex and scalable Enterprise Software solutions for fortune 500 companies. He currently leads and manages the innovations that go behind the Whatfix platform.
Dattatri Radhakrishna
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