Digitalisation: Will it be Your Organisation’s Accelerator?

Working from home – it has been all over the news and certainly the spread of COVID-19 has had its effect. However, the concept of working from home is far from being brand-new since it has been around for a couple of years now. It is rather the speed by which companies have had to adapt their internal organisation which has had such an impact. Being forced to digitise within a couple of days has encouraged companies all around the world to promote their digital agendas. So now, the question has been raised, how one can benefit from this swift change in habits to redefine corporate organisation in a meaningful way?

Paving the way for a better organisation

In order to enhance a company’s organisation, one should make an in-depth appraisal of its internal organisational structure. A first step is to formalise all the key processes the company uses on a daily basis. Various tools such as the Ishikawa diagram or the SIPOC-method, which is commonly used in lean management techniques, can facilitate such an undertaking.

Moreover, formalising each process helps to map all internal dependencies and displays which key resources are interacting with each other. This explains why all processes should be analysed and given a thorough digital readiness check, thus making it possible to assess the company’s current standing on the digitalisation agenda.

The digital readiness check will give a good indication of which fields can be further digitalised. The company’s current IT infrastructure will on the other hand determine to what extent its organisation can be modified. Conducting an IT infrastructure checklist will set the framework for those areas which still have to be improved.

In the meantime, one should not lose sight of any industry-specific trends: being aware of what competitors are up to is essential to avoid lagging behind. However, the question why one would follow the path of digitalisation to improve a company’s organisation still needs to be answered.

Benefits of an enhanced organisational structure

Achieving a competitive advantage is one of every company’s primary goals. Setting yourself apart from competitors starts with making internal improvements; conducting a digital readiness check, whereas mapping the current IT infrastructure provides a good overview of what can be enhanced at a corporate organisational level.

Firstly, digitalising processes may free up key resources, which can result in an overall increase in productivity. Formalised processes leave less room for individual mistakes, which in turn will eventually pave the path for smoother workflows. Moreover, companies which rely on process optimisation to improve their internal structure, tend to operate more cost-efficiently.

Given the fact that digitalisation enhances overall accessibility to the workplace, employees will be able to access their desktop in a more flexible manner. Allowing employees to work from home frees up office space, which can be used for other purposes. Furthermore, it offers new opportunities for the company’s talent acquisition team. When no longer faced with the necessity of expecting physical presence, you automatically broaden the scope of who can apply for job openings. In this way, the company as a whole can potentially benefit from a more culturally diverse workforce, which enriches their problem-solving abilities.

Manage change & challenges

Although it seems that digitalisation offers plenty of advantages, a couple of impediments still have to be dealt with. Becoming more digital may trigger a certain resistance among employees. With the disruption of internal organisational structures and the introduction of new technologies, some staff members may have to accept that their traditional way of doing things is no longer appropriate; to avoid any confusion it may be useful to install a clear digital governance, as this will determine the employees’ new roles and responsibilities based on the new corporate structure.

Moreover, you will be well advised to implement an internal communication strategy to ensure that your staff are well informed about any changes that lie ahead. This allows them to understand the changes they will be affected by better and thus paves the way to a higher acceptance rate. Fully understanding how the new organisation impacts them individually, creates intrinsic motivation and encourages employees to walk that extra mile. Furthermore, digital governance will regulate which procedures and tools to apply when switching to a more digital workflow.

Although companies might be willing to adapt new forms of digital restructuring, they must still follow compliance regulations. Accessing company material at a distance might cause security issues, which can be dealt with by ensuring that the IT infrastructure includes cybersecurity-related countermeasures.

Conclusion

Formalising processes and conducting readiness checks helps to set a framework for a change in an organisational structure. The transformation towards becoming a digitised company will not be free of obstacles – such impediments have to be dealt with to ensure sustainable change. When redefining key processes, it is important to not lose sight of the impact it will have on the company’s workforce, but by establishing a bottom-up approach you will be certain to gather information about best practices and keep employees in the loop. This approach will further encourage the company-wide adoption of a digital learning culture and in turn ensure continuous process improvement.

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