The importance of pro-digital transformation culture

digital transformation

Why culture is key to succeed in digital transformation?

Speaking of digital transformation within companies, very often, immediately results in just thinking about the introduction of new disruptive technologies into the most important business processes. If you do so, don’t worry, because you’re right; but only partially. As a matter of fact, technology only represents one of the factors that portray digitization, most likely a direct and concrete consequence of culture, the true key to succeed in digital transformation and be a competitive organization.

To best understand the importance of culture in building a pro-digital mindset, it’s needed to ponder about innovation, the engine of the whole digital transformation phenomenon. No wonder that, after all, digital transformation is all about innovating what exists in order to improve it, or even creating new products, services, markets and even lifestyles. And where does innovation come from? Culture, of course. Without the right open-minded culture, is not possible to enable an innovative mindset to fuel digitization; and of course, this would eventually translates into a lack of adoption of technologies, or worse a wrong use of them.

A proper example refers to artificial intelligence, currently meant to be the driving force in digital transformation and most likely the technological field that’s going to completely change our lives. Well, AI solutions play their role at best in the improvement of business operations only when they’re controlled and supported by human professionals, who use their own expertise and knowledge to leverage it as a helpful machine companion to side with in achieving their tasks, and not when they’re just activated to replace human work at all.

Building digital transformation culture: the current digitization status

So, is it possible to build a pro-digital transformation culture? The current digitization status shows that worldwide players are seizing the opportunity to get involved in this great innovation process, thus highlights how the need for specific kinds of expertise, soft skills and know-hows is leading to the development of a proper mindset, strictly related to what could be called as a digital culture.

Let’s take a look at some interesting overall statistics on digital transition:

  • the global digital transformation market is expected to grow up to $1,548.9 billion value by 2027 at a 21% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over five years (from $594.5 billion value in 2022);
  • worldwide spending on digital transformation activities is expected to reach almost $3.5 trillion by 2026, and especially new investments expenditure in the industry is supposed to double in three years (2022-25);
  • the world economy value will be enriched with $100 trillion by 2025 through the development of the digital transformation industry;
  • 91% of businesses are engaged into digital initiatives, both considered as single pilot projects or true integral part of the corporate strategy.

These few numbers, merely representing an overview about the entire sector, clearly show that digital transformation quickly makes steps forward and both private and public organizations are following the wave. And of course, they all care about making forward-looking investments to build a pro-digitization culture and foster the main challenges and opportunities of digital transformation within youngest generations.

To face this successfully and be prepared for the future, it’s needed to develop a right culture of digital transformation. How? A nice example comes from the European Union, funding its EU Digital Program with €46 million to make citizens aware of digitization and shape their future together. Education plays a key role in this game, as especially within the highest grades of school and university students need, and demand, to be channeled towards their future: this simply results in introducing them to the brand new world of work, making them aware of the concrete and most competitive prospects in terms of studies to undertake, occupation opportunities, specialized jobs, new ways of working (like remote working) and providing them with the right tools, that are knowledge, hard and soft skills, to really comprehend and master the power of digital transformation. For this reason, nowadays more and more institutes of education have already activated specific training courses, side project works and activities, in partnership with companies and startups, to give students a chance to experience firsthand what it means to work in environments promoting digitization. On the other hand, the creation of a pro-digitization culture is not only a question affecting students and novice young workers, but it commits businesses to provide all their employees and contributors with adequate professional training sessions aiming to improve their knowledge and capacities to handle technology.

Main factors of pro-digital transformation culture and mindset

Working in environments able to surf the wave of digital transformation and promote digitization actually means to be part of an organization that masters and nurture the right culture and mindset to be a digital-first player. This involves three main factors, the very foundation of each pro-digital company nowadays: people first, processes second, and technology just third. Let’s check out each of these factors one by one:

  1. People (who?) is the first key element to succeed in digital transformation, simply because if an organization wants to digitize, people have to change first. So, this entails to push forward with change management in terms of education and the need to make sure that people – as citizens yet as students and teachers, workers and employers – build and share a pro-digital transformation mindset. It represents a double commitment, internal and external: in the first case, companies looking for leading digitization have to foster the digital culture within the whole team through executive support, collaboration and up-skill professional training; on the other hand, a true digital-first organization also wants to share its values on the outside with customers and partners, thus prioritizing the promotion of digitization culture and digital trust;
  2. Processes (how?) are the second element to succeed in digital transformation and they refer to the ways companies combine their resources to achieve specific tasks and goals; hence, speaking of processes it’s all about identifying what a company needs to evolve along with technology and how to reallocate workers’ jobs and responsibilities. Most likely, the most relevant combination to work on relates to find the best matching between people, with their know-hows, skills and roles, and technologies, the driving forces in the transition movement towards digitization;

Technology (what?) is eventually the third and last element for a successful digital transformation. Let’s make it clear, technologies alone can’t really make the difference for a company if they lack a proper culture and the right mindset to control their potential; hence, while technology is obviously the necessary and essential factor of the digital transformation, there can’t be any real chance for organizations to digitize without matching it with prepared people, well-defined processes and a solid culture based on the right knowledge and values to make people aware of what future brings.

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