Blog Digital Transformation in AEC & Real Estate Download the Digital Transformation ebook
Blog

What is Digital Culture?

author-profile
Dom graham

Published on 8th August 20198 mins read

On the surface digital transformation can appear to be all about technology, but in reality it’s about much more than that. Digital transformation represents a shift in strategy and culture to create a customer first approach. It’s also the process of future-proofing the company as an agile service-led organization. 

In its 2018 ‘State of Digital Business Transformation’ report, the IDG surveyed organizations to understand what ‘digital business’ means to them. The following areas were found to be the most sought after:

  • Enable worker productivity through tools such as mobile, data access and AI-assisted processes
  • Ability to manage business performance through data availability and visibility
  • Meet customer experience expectations

Digital transformation cannot happen without organizational change – digital culture is a vital part of implementing digital change. Neglecting the cultural dimension of digital transformation means a job that’s only half finished, or at worst, a total failure. 

The initial advocacy and the long-term success of your transformation rely on people embracing the change with conviction. Research has shown that a company with a strong digital culture contributes directly to the financial success of the company.

Digital culture, as part of digital transformation, means adjusting working practices and workflows:

A customer first focus – put the customer experience at the forefront of your business model. Create solutions for clients.
Quicker to action – in the future, opportunities won’t wait for unwieldy decision making processes to finish.
Teams, not individuals no more silos or choke points; achieve goals through collaboration and shared resource. 
Constant evolution evolve products and services, and reduce the need for large scale change projects in the future.

Advocacy for change
Research has shown that while most C level executives are involved in digital transformation programs, less than half of regular employees are involved or engaged with the process. 

For many companies, this means half the workforce does know or understand what digital transformation is, or why it is happening. As with any change, there can be a reluctance to adopt new working practices, maybe even outright hostility; 26% of companies encounter resistance to change within their organization. 

A successful digital culture is about mindset and perception. Creating a digital culture requires: 

  • Leadership from senior management 
  • Clear and transparent company-wide communications
  • Empowering employees to utilize the results of digital transformation

Culture defines the values and behaviours within an organization. When placing technology at the core of your operations, the human element of culture is vital not only for instant results but also for long term sustainability. 

Communications

Leaders need to engage with employees throughout a digital transformation process. This means the communication of goals, and training for everyone in the company regardless of their role. However, engagement is not a single training session, a few emails, or an online compliance course – it’s an ongoing process that should be embedded into the organization.

What does this ongoing communication look like? It could include:

  • Regular communications – emails, newsletters, channels in communication tools (such as MS Teams or Slack), internal communities, intranet, blogs. 
  • Regular company ‘town halls’
  • Company webinars
  • AMA (‘Ask Me Anything’) forums with company leaders
  • Assigning digital champions

Companies should also create a digital culture ‘manifesto’, and have clearly defined goals and strategies. If traditional structures and ways of working are going to change, people will need guiding principles to help steer them toward actions that align with what the business is looking to achieve. 

What’s the story? 

What should you be communicating to your employees? To start, people need to understand what is happening and why. 

In the modern working environment, employees will be used to the concept of new technology and systems upgrades, but digital transformation is not ‘digital optimization’. Employees need to understand how things will change for them personally, they will need to know how to adapt and reorient within their role, and ultimately, the purpose behind the change. A clear narrative is vital

As employee empowerment and autonomy is at the forefront of digital culture, company leaders need to be evangelists for the change they are promoting. Leading by example will give employees the comfort and confidence to embrace the change – a path to follow. Behaviours can also be influenced by the introduction of recognition for work that aligns with the new company ethos. 

What’s affecting productivity?

What is holding employees back from performing to the best of their ability? Maybe there is unproductive everyday bureaucracy that only exists because “it’s what we’ve always done“. With digital transformation, solutions aren’t suggested by some distant consultant, it asks employees “what will make you more efficient?“, allowing employees to influence their own destiny. 

Taking Risks

Leaders need to be aware that digital culture encourages a greater degree of risk-taking than traditional structures might accept. If responsibilities are delegated and employees encouraged to try new things, then management must be comfortable with a “fail fast and learn" approach. A part of digital culture is about improving the speed and agility of a company. 

Digital Culture in AEC & Real Estate

In AEC and Real Estate, where building and maintaining long term client relationships is fundamental to business, the impact of digital transformation and digital culture will be significant. When you consider the volume of interactions an average employee working on a project may have with a client, there is a vast scope for the impact of improved and more well-connected technology. This highlights the importance of digital culture in ensuring adoption and application of core technology by all employees across the business. 

In most cases, a strong leadership team is required to not only roll out complex digital transformation projects but also to evangelize the technology, and its value. Education and training are critical to minimize ‘culture clash’ which is the resistance or fear of adopting new technology in any given organization by employees. In most cases, being able to demonstrate the value of any new tool or service will help to make a convincing argument for adoption. 

If you are considering adopting Digital Asset Management as part of your firm’s digital transformation strategy and want to know more of the value and benefits DAM can bring to your company, you can contact us through our website via form or live chat.