Digital transformation: from ‘priority’ to ‘a matter of survival’

Digital Fluency: Your Framework for Future Growth

When the pandemic struck last year, organizations worldwide rapidly transitioned workforces and operations to remote working. Digital transformation became more than just a priority — it was now critical for survival.

We’ve since researched how large organizations are honing their digital edge, not just to survive, but to grow for the future. Our research identifies two key factors that enable this growth: the right methodology and the right intelligent platforms.

First, our research found many organizations are missing critical factors from their digital methodologies, limiting the value of these initiatives; and second, we learned the way that companies successfully hone their digital edge and drive agility is by increasing what we’ve termed ‘Digital Fluency’.

We used these insights, along with our years of experience, to develop The Digital Fluency Framework. It identifies four key components that lead to Digital Fluency — Digital Foundations, Digital Operations, Digital Leadership & Culture, and Digital Workforce TQ (Technology Quotient).

In this article, I want to focus on the first of these — the need for strong Digital Foundations — to provide some tools and guidance to enable fast, effective and profitable digital transformation.

The Digital Fluency Framework

Our study found that just 14% of companies are ‘digitally mature’. But these companies are 2.7 times more likely to have experienced high revenue growth over the past three years and 5.4 times more likely to still be projecting high revenue growth in the next three years. They’re also more likely to be considered ‘a great place to work’ and to lead their peers in ‘customer satisfaction’.

Clearly, technology skills are already a valuable new currency and a significant feature of success. I believe they will only become more so as remote working and remote operations transition into a post-pandemic ‘new normal’. If organizations are to thrive, not only will they need to provide the most up-to-date technologies and digital architecture, but their workforces will also have to embrace the goal of Digital Fluency.

Skills: the new currency

The Workday platform gives organizations complete visibility of their people. So, if ‘technology skills’ are the new currency, we see Workday as the ‘bank’ — storing, managing and leveraging skill resources within the organization. This creates the foundation for organizations to identify skills gaps, leverage opportunities for under-used skills and build reskilling journeys, ultimately enabling talent redeployment to better effect.

That’s good for your organization and good for your people. Your organization can better identify and plan for skills and matching jobs or gigs to those most qualified; your people can take ownership, moving away from rigid, inflexible roles to advance their careers in new and more meaningful ways; and your managers are empowered to make better, faster decisions for their team. Your organization becomes more agile, more dynamic, more connected.

Anticipate. Empower. Adapt.

Workday’s practical operational benefits are a critical element in your Digital Foundations. Where HR software often stops with tracking and managing your workforce, Workday provides insights into the skills and capabilities you have now to enable better planning. This equips organizations to plan for changing needs, to identify the new skills and training needed and to match those to the existing workforce to give people better access and opportunity.

With intuitive solutions like Workday Learning, which gives learning a much more prominent role in the enterprise, that ideal of the agile, resilient, adaptable workforce is more achievable. For workers today, learning and development is now seen as a primary benefit of employment. People want to learn to strengthen their ability to thrive in the new working environment.

At Accenture we’ve put much of this to the test. We partnered with a large technology conglomerate to reimagine their HR function with Workday, empowering managers across the globe with the necessary data, insights and authority to manage their teams, shifting the role of HR away from process management and reviewer to a new “go-to-market” role focused on providing increasingly meaningful services for the workforce.

We also transformed our own HR function leveraging Workday. That journey started with the flow of succession planning for our leadership team. Workday enabled us to understand the skills, experiences, goals, aspirations of our leaders far beyond simply looking at their role. That was an important change of mindset and drove us to reimagine our HR architecture and build a Digital Foundation centered on continuous learning and listening, using technology and metrics to enable flexibility, well-being and equality. We’ve now deployed Workday and our Digital Fluency Framework across the entire company and in doing so created the agility that empowers an organization of 500,000+ people across 120 countries operating in the digital age.

As the name implies, a ‘Digital Foundation’ is something to build on, and it’s important to note that the Digital Fluency Framework should be implemented in its entirety for an organization to flourish and remain resilient in the face of inevitable disruption. In a future piece on digital transformation, I plan on elaborating on another pillar of Digital Fluency: increasing your Digital Workforce TQ (Technology Quotient).

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Growth & Strategy Lead for Accenture’s Workday Business Group, driving differentiated value for our diverse clients globally.