The Importance Of Integrating The Human Element Into Digital Transformation

Roger Noia

Digital technology in all its various forms is changing the way organizations work across all aspects of the business. But even if processes and functions are streamlined, simplified, automated, augmented, and refined, there is a greater chance that the digital transformation will fail before it can deliver its full potential. It’s a phenomenon that we see across all business areas and industries, but in reality, the solution is all too simple.

The ways that leaders, employees, suppliers, and customers adopt these innovations to collaborate, engage, and innovate are just as important as the digital applications that facilitate those capabilities. If the strategy or technology is embraced by the people it enables, the results could potentially expand the customer base, grow revenue growth, increase efficiency, and bring about an entirely new business model to tap into unfulfilled customer needs. If they don’t, you might as well not implemented it in the first place.

Enterprise collaboration and communities: A fundamental step towards digital transformation success

An essential building block to effectuating digital transformation is collaboration that stretches across distance and boundaries to form dynamic teams drawn from different workgroups within and outside of the enterprise. By delivering a shared repository of expertise, training materials, and corporate knowledge, employees and customers – from the front office to the back office – can access critical information and know-how they need, when they need it.

Here are two use cases that every business should consider to benefit from enterprise collaboration.

1. The employee experience: Break through the obstacles of employee engagement

Employee engagement is one of those strategic topics that refuses to leave the HR agenda. Year after year, chief HR officers (CHROs) worldwide are challenged with raising engagement levels beyond Gallup’s widely reported average of 13%. And even with the biggest budgets that rival those used to fix manufacturing flaws, progress is still stagnating.

It’s true that workplace cultures of high engagement are difficult to find, but they do exist. And I’m not just talking about the infamous corporate models of Google, Pixar, Virgin, and Southwest Airlines. There’s also Sargent & Lundy, Welcome Break, SunPower, and a variety of others who may have discovered the secret to achieving their own engaged culture.

As these companies prove, the age-old employee engagement dilemma cannot be solved through technology, processes, and rewards alone. People are engaged by people – productive and satisfied employees who like their work, who they work with, and who they work for. By connecting people to other people, as well as the information and processes they need to get work done, HR can finally realize the full potential of their employees and further develop them to create a business that is strong, stable, and ready for anything the future brings. 

2. The customer experience: Sell smarter, faster, and successfully with the right connections

Sales, marketing, commerce, and service teams spend a lot of time connecting the dots between people, information, and data to gain insight into prospective and existing customers. Day in and day out, they search for answers that will pinpoint which customers are ready to buy, what their needs are, and how can they become more aware and knowledgeable about the brand. However, despite even the best efforts, most of this information is incomplete, providing only a small view of the larger picture of the customer experience. At the end of the day, it’s limited collaboration across all organizations – from the front office to the back office and across regions – that are involved in the total customer experience.

All too often, regional offices and departments adopt their own habits and culture around collaboration. As a result, critical information and data are buried in volumes of emails, exchanged through private discussions, hidden within spreadsheets housed on a laptop, and kept within ourselves. And even if a collaboration tool is adopted, it’s typically confined with the immediate team focused on closing a deal – instead of being shared with back-office systems such as HR information systems and customer relationship management platforms, and with the entire sales ecosystem scattered throughout the world.

The bottom line on digital transformation

Leading digital transformation means driving competitive insights through intelligence, integration across organizational structure and capabilities, and market-leading value creation. However, none of this can happen without the people involved in actualizing such changes. By integrating the basic human instinct to connect with people and expertise, digital technology has a better chance of helping businesses break down barriers between teams, eliminate information silos, bring full employee engagement into any business process, and solve problems quickly to drive results.

Check out these sessions at this year’s SAPPHIRE NOW conference to see how enterprise collaboration and communities can help create the digital transformation your business needs to succeed in today’s ever-changing world. While you’re at the event, be sure to participate in our usability testing to get hands-on experience with the SAP Jam Collaboration solution and help mold the future of this product’s innovation.

Roger Noia

About Roger Noia

Roger Noia is the director of Solution Marketing, SAP Jam Collaboration, at SAP. He is responsible for product marketing and sales enablement for our dedicated sales team as well as the broader SAP sales force selling SAP Jam.