It Starts With Culture: Addressing the Digital Skills Gap

Waseem Ali

by Waseem Ali

31 Oct '23

Implementing effective digital systems is one of the most impactful things a business can do.


For an organisation, switching to a digital system gives them access to targeted information, which can provide useful insights into areas where the company can improve—whether that’s through efficiency, sales targets, or brand reach.


These insights, when actioned, can have a positive impact on both the employee and customer experience. As more and more organisations are starting to understand the value that data and digital systems can add to their organisation, many are starting to invest in their own digital transformations.


Yet, while digital transformation is becoming more common, there are still significant barriers to the introduction and uptake of these digital systems.


What are some of the biggest obstacles that companies face throughout their digital transformation journey? In my experience, changing company and consumer culture is one of the biggest obstacles.


Change can be daunting


While many companies are quickly recognising the value of digital transformation, this does not mean that employees and customers are willing to completely change the way that they work or use your service, simply because they are told that a new system is more efficient.


No individual works in the same way. Each person will have different needs and ways of thinking, and will have adapted their habits and systems over time to suit their productivity and preferences.


Therefore, achieving digital transformation throughout the workforce, or digitising a product and getting customer buy-in, is not simply about introducing a new platform, but supporting employees or users in using that platform in the way that works for them.


It is not the system that achieves results, but the people who use it.


Meet the people where they’re at


This is something I have witnessed first-hand. I previously worked with the NHS to create a digital hub for community nurses to improve their efficiency so they could visit more patients. By shadowing a community nurse for three days, I was able to learn their day-to-day routine and identify where they would most benefit from a digital system.


I discovered that introducing tablets with a portable logging system meant they did not have to travel to the community base as often to see their schedules and log patient information. Previously the nurses would need to travel back to base after visiting each patient to log their handwritten notes onto a desktop computer. Having a portable system would mean they could immediately upload their insights on the go, without the need for extra travel or re-writing their findings.


However, some of the nurses were resistant to the new logging system – many preferred handwriting their patient notes and had various ways of logging information individually before transferring it to the digital system. While the logging system we suggested would vastly improve efficiency, it was impractical and too standardised for the needs of the nurses when they were working with patients.


To overcome this, we included a handwriting feature in the system. This way, the nurses could handwrite their notes on the tablet and they would automatically transcribe into a digital format. Through this feature, they could still handwrite their notes, but they could save time by no longer having to re-log their notes into the digital system.


The nurses were then able to spend time doing what they did best – visiting patients in the community and supporting them with their needs.


Changing culture to facilitate digital transformation


While this is certainly a success story, it’s important to recognise that achieving a digital transformation goes further than just meeting people where they’re at. This is not a long-term solution, and so to usher in change, it’s necessary to look at the wider picture.


There is no doubt that there will be resistance to digital transformation. Whilst it presents exciting opportunities, it is also understandable that people may be wary or determined to continue using the systems that they already know work for them. Therefore, to achieve true change, there needs to be a shift in culture.


One of the best ways to change culture is through education. Digital literacy will help your employees or customers get more comfortable using digital systems and increase their awareness of how these developments can better support them.


It’s a constant journey


With constant innovation and changes in the data and tech space, it’s important to note that a company’s digital transformation isn’t a one-time delivery.


Rather, there needs to be constant improvements and monitoring, as well as training or new rollouts to make the experience better for everyone.


This constant need for development is why many organisations are taking a more product-led, or agile approach to digital transformation, which allows for greater flexibility since the agile methodology prioritises continuous improvement and constant iterations.


In other words, organisations need to make change and continual growth part of the fabric of how they work if they want their digital transformation to make a real impact.


Find out more about how Rockborne can help your company with data literacy training or provide talent to support your digital transformation, here.


Twitter logo icon LinkedIn logo icon