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Volume 30, Issue 3

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Tuesday, 13 June 2017 15:58

BCI: Cultural issues are the number one obstacle to digital transformation

The Business Continuity Institute

When looking at the potential threats that could disrupt our organizations, it is often physical or virtual events that we first think of – adverse weather, supply chain failure, cyber attack, pandemic. But while we often consider an event or occurrence to be disruptive, do we also consider a lack of activity to be disruptive? Is there something we’re not doing that could lead to a disruption within the organization? In today's digital world, failure to keep up with technology could be just as damaging as any tropical storm.

A new study by Capgemini and Brian Solis has found that 62% of respondents see corporate culture as one of the biggest hurdles in the journey to becoming a digital organization. As a result, companies risk falling behind competition in today’s digital environment. Furthermore, the data shows that this challenge for organizations has worsened since 2011 by 7 percentage points, when Capgemini first began its research in this area.

The Digital Culture Challenge: Closing the Employee-Leadership Gap uncovers a significant perception gap between the senior leadership and employees on the existence of a digital culture within organizations. While 40% of senior-level executives believe their firms have a digital culture, only 27% of the employees surveyed agreed with this statement.

Cyril Garcia, Head of Digital Services and member of the Group Executive Committee at Capgemini, said: “Digital technologies can bring significant new value, but organizations will only unlock that potential if they have the right sustainable digital culture ingrained and in place. Companies need to engage, empower and inspire all employees to enable the culture change together; working on this disconnect between leadership and employees is a key factor for growth. Those businesses that make digital culture a core strategic pillar will improve their relationships with customers, attract the best talent and set themselves up for success in today’s digital world.”

The findings reveal a divide between senior-level executives and employees on collaboration practices with 85% of top executives believing that their organization promotes collaboration internally, while only 41% of employees agreed with this premise.

Corporate culture is equally as important in the business continuity profession, so much so that it features as one of the six professional practices referred to in the Business Continuity Institute's Good Practice Guidelines. Integrating business continuity into the day-to-day business activities is vital to a successful programme, but this can only be achieved with top management support.

The report highlights that companies are failing to engage employees in the culture change journey. Getting employees involved is critical for shaping an effective digital culture and accelerating the cultural transformation of the organization. Leadership and the middle management are critical to translating the broader digital vision into tangible business outcomes and rewarding positive digital behaviors.

“To compete for the future, companies must invest in a digital culture that reaches everyone in the organization. Our research shows that culture is either the number one inhibitor or catalyst to digital transformation and innovation. However, many executives believe their culture is already digital, but when you ask employees, they will disagree. This gap signifies the lack of a digital vision, strategy and tactical execution plan from the top”, said Brian Solis. “Cultivating a digital culture is a way of business that understands how technology is changing behaviors, work and market dynamics. It helps all stakeholders grow to compete more effectively in an ever-shifting business climate."