In part one of my series of articles on digital transformation and how it impacts people, I looked at whether humans should be worried about technology taking over their jobs. The conclusion was we shouldn’t be if we think of technology not as a threat, but more as an opportunity to transform our operations in order to achieve operational excellence and efficiency.
In short, I concluded that instead of us worrying about digital transformation, let us rather embrace it and ask ourselves, how can we help our organisations to provide more value to our customers and meet their ever-changing – and rising – expectations both today and tomorrow?
And just like that, we have a topic for part three. But I digress.
For now, let us focus on the people, because if there is one thing this technological era has taught us, it’s that people are still a crucial part of the workforce and we will always need them because there will always be things humans can do that machines can’t.
That said, people must still make it an active priority to remain relevant, because digital transformation is partly about the ability to continuously adapt to rapid change, and it’s the ability to adapt that breeds relevancy.
The question people should be asking themselves is how? Well, this can be achieved through what I will call ‘continuous learning’, and the reason for that is because digital transformation needs to be understood as a process of ‘permanent innovation’.
This may seem to be a contradiction, however: the concept of permanence implies the absence of change, while innovation implies constancy of change. Combining those yields an important synthesis, namely the practice of innovation not as an occasional occurrence but as a repeating process of value-creation and organisational adaptation.
So, as vendors are introducing new versions of their solutions almost every quarter, employees and organisations need to learn how to take these to market. And every quarter brings new challenges that require learning new things, which is why learning simply must be an ongoing concern.
Fortunately, learning itself is undergoing digital transformation. So instead of studying for three years only to find out your expertise is no longer relevant, there are digital learning platforms that give you an opportunity to learn about new solutions, sometimes before they are even released, and it is important to take advantage of these.
Some more good news is from a study conducted by the Technical University of Munich, where out of 81 executives who participated, 80% of them acknowledged the importance of digital transformation while only 35% claimed to have a defined digital transformation strategy in place for their organisations.
The way forward
On the surface this doesn’t seem like good news, but look at it this way: it is clear that most organisations appreciate the idea of transformation, but are still not well-equipped for it.
The only way forward for them will be through skills development which involves you as an employee; combine that with your own personal development ambitions and the result is you being more relevant than ever.
You could even end up being so far ahead with your own development that you could potentially even head your organisation’s digital transformation implementation.
Change is the only constant
Remember, change is the only constant in life and embracing it is always the best path forward, not just for you as an individual, but for us as business people, businesses themselves, and society at large.
Embrace it, take charge of your own destiny through constant learning, achieve operational excellence, and you’ll never be left behind (or replaced with a machine).
Xhanti Nomqolo is a Market Development Consultant at Tarsus On Demand.