Conference Notes

Change Management for Digital Transformation – my Keynote at the Digital Workplace Conference 2016

Last week I presented the opening keynote at the Digital Workplace Conference 2016 in Auckland, here in New Zealand. It was a great privilege to be able to speak at the conference, especially on the topic of change management for digital transformation, an area I have focused on for most of the past decade. My slides are above.

Here’s the story I tried to tell during the keynote:

1. (slides 2-14) there are a lot of changes happening around the world – in short-distance transportation, short-duration accommodation, package delivery, education, power, ordering coffee, footwear (with haptic feedback for navigating geographical space), and the types of people we hire into organisations.

2. (slides 15-16) there are various names applied to these changes, and one commonality is that “tec(h)” is central to them all.

3. (slides 17-22) digital transformation is about digital-enabled change, and it has direct and indirect effects. The direct effects are easy to imagine and plan for; the indirect effects (or second-order consequences) are more deeply structured and difficult to plan a direct pathway for. But the indirect effects are where the real value and impacts happens.

4. (slides 23-24) when looking inside a firm – and using Office 365 as an example – we can see the direct effects (on practices and processes) and indirect effects (on organisation structure, corporate culture, and business model).

5. (slides 26-43) approaches for managing change from introducing new digital tools into work practices and processes – using scenario examples from Re-Imagining Productive Work with Office 365 and the effective use process from driving effective use of Office 365. My conclusion on slide 43 was that “leading people to effective use of new tools is the new fundamental skill set with Office 365.

6. (slides 44-50) examples of how changed practices and processes start to impact organisational structure, with examples from Westpac New Zealand and Cisco. Slides 46-47 provide a change prompt and single example of how new digital tools can impact organisational structure.

7. (slides 51-59) examples of how new digital tools, and changes across practices and processes and organisational structure can impact on corporate culture. I talked about the difference in corporate culture between a hierarchical organisation and a collaborative one (slide 54), and gave examples from Pivotal, Westpac New Zealand, and ASB Bank.

8. (slides 60-68) the real opportunity with digital transformation – which in my view starts from the digital tools end and flows a series of impacts across practices and processes, organisational structure, and corporate culture, is that of business transformation. This is where the executives who focus on business model transformation / innovation grasp what is newly possible across the previous areas, and say in essence “so now that is possible, how would we design our business model to capture the new possibilities?”

9. (slides 69-72) three summary statements to conclude:
– [1] get the relative-impact right (e.g., new digital tools create opportunities, but the impact is the direct / indirect effects they create)
– [2] leaders need good technologists with great business acumen (e.g., cloud services like Office 365 provide a mandate for technologists to step up their game and contributions)
– [3] getting to effective use enables your firm to benefit from significant indirect changes (and then I kicked the boxes).

How are you managing change for digital transformation in your work? I would love to hear your story and brainstorm possibilities.

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