4 Ways to Chart Your Digital Augmentation Journey

COVID-19 accelerated the digital transformation exponentially, driving 87% of global companies to invest in technologies to address a myriad of challenges, from supply chain disruptions to employee communications.1 Amid this rapid growth, leaders have struggled to find the most efficient means to implement and manage these systems as they deal with talent shortages and a constantly changing business environment.

Organisations focused on addressing these challenges are reimagining their processes with a digitally augmented workforce that shares project ownership and accountability through a blended model of talent and technology. It’s all about maximising an employee’s ability to be more creative, productive, and strategic with automation and planning tools to support their capabilities.

Here are four ways organisations can chart their digital augmentation journey to improve decision-making and business performance.

Foster employee buy-in early

It is a universal truth that change requires leaders to have a clear vision their teams can rally behind and follow with enthusiasm. However, many employees view technology as a ticking time bomb for their careers, resisting the need to integrate new tools into their daily work. To help alleviate that fear, employers should be transparent about the reasons for change and specific about both short-term and long-term benefits to the company and individual team members. To do this, leaders should focus on creating a network of influencers, including star performers beyond the IT department, who can educate others on how to use the tools and reinforce how each worker can contribute to creating a digital culture. Publicise quick wins and recognise employees who adapt and coach others.2

As companies hire contract workers to replace vacant full-time positions and supplement project work, it is vital for them to provide statements of work that clearly outline expectations for how workers will use technologies. Leaders should also ensure outsourced workers are included in technology training, communications, and support.

Establish accountability

Managers and employees should feel a sense of responsibility for tasks related to digital augmentation and have a solid understanding of the initiative’s goals and key performance indicators. They should assess workstreams and prioritise areas that can be automated to produce the greatest benefits. Companies that define how they are using digital transformation with specific priorities are 1.7 times more likely than others to report that transformation results surpass expectations.3

Implement new tools with agility

After defining business goals and establishing measurable outcomes, new tools should be thoroughly evaluated based on how they align with corporate strategies along with the benefits they will deliver, such as improving cost efficiencies or reducing time to market.  These tools should help to support and amplify employee work, rather than minimise or replace it.

Benefits Data Trust (BDT), a Philadelphia-based organisation focused on poverty reduction, integrated smart technology into their application process to address the amount of time and documentation required for clients to apply for and receive public benefits. According to Ravidnar Gjural, BDT’s chief data and technology officer, the system now aids call centrestaff in navigating and completing thousands of applications in a reduced timeframe while still maintaining a human connection.4

Human resources and procurement professionals can also benefit from better planning tools to simplify complex talent hiring decisions and the Statement of Work process. Channel Advise is a sourcing tool that combines behavioral science with data-driven knowledge of the talent marketplace to generate better business outcomes. Co-developed by Deployed and Talent Solutions, the tool helps leaders make smarter decisions so they can increase time to hire, improve organisational agility, reduce costs and hiring bias as well as minimise compliance risk.

Prepare for obstacles

“At least 40% of all businesses will die in the next 10 years if they don’t figure out how to change their entire company to accommodate new technologies,” says John Chambers, former chief executive of Cisco. Companies that lack a deliberate strategy or rely on traditional project management methods for their digital transformation may face this fate unless they take immediate measures to link technology tools to customer experience and faster times to value.

JPMorgan Chase, for instance, recently faced this decision but strategised early to create an agile transformation, restructuring teams to be product-focused vs. project-focused, according to Gill Haus, CIO for Consumer and Community Banking at Chase. Instead of focusing on strict specifications and delivery milestones, teams now start with customers’ needs in mind and use the right technology enabling employers to speed up the delivery of new app features and ensure the brand’s customer experience is top notch.5

Unfortunately, many organisations are not preparing employees to use planning tools effectively to develop and manage emerging technologies. That drives home the need to invest beyond the tools themselves through significant training that improves worker readiness.

To learn more about how your organisation can create a successful workforce that rises to the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow’s technologies, read the Future of Work III: How Work is Done.