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Internal Communications and Digital Transformation

Written by

Simpplr Marketing

Published

July 22, 2022

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What does a movie about baseball have to do with digital transformation strategy? If you’ve ever seen the film, Money Ball, it’s the story of Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A‘s baseball team, who’s charged with a Herculean task—building a winning baseball team on a shoestring budget. But since he’s pretty good at math, he pioneers the field of sabermetrics—the empirical analysis of baseball stats to find players with untapped potential.

And it works! His unorthodox approach leads to a record-breaking winning streak and changes the face of baseball forever.

But when Beane starts hiring players known for lackluster performance, nobody gets it.

And that‘s the big challenge with digital transformation—it asks people to accept and implement fast, sweeping changes. Disruptive changes. Changes that aren’t always easy to understand.

Our hero, Billy, needed a solid internal communications plan to implement the changes he wanted–without having to take all the guff. The lesson transfers from the ballfield to business in every case. Change management communications is vital if you want your own transformation efforts to work.

Smart communications can help your team see from the get-go why your digital transformation strategy is an exciting opportunity for the whole company.

What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation uses new digital technologies to change the way a company does business—often flying in the face of traditional industry wisdom.

So, what does that look like?

  • Digital transformation is Netflix believing people would rent movies online and wait two days for them in the mail instead of stopping by Blockbuster on the way home—and being right.
  • It’s Uber believing they could build an app and crowdsource a planet-wide taxi service made up of everyday drivers using their own cars in their spare time.
  • Today, it’s Google, believing that someday soon they’ll be able to replace drivers with autonomous, self-driving vehicles. Only time will tell.

Digital transformation is blossoming everywhere–fast

In every industry, the businesses transforming part (or all) of an organization with digital technology is a growing part of daily life. Whether you’re digitally transforming your internal comms or using intranet software to support broader disruption, thoughtful internal communications can make change management a lot easier.

Digital transformation in operations: faster responses, smarter staff 

As the telecom industry moves closer to crunching ‘Big Data‘ info in real-time, advanced automation, AI, and machine learning that use the internet of things (IoT) are becoming practical and effective. It’s happening so rapidly, it’s often difficult to keep up. And that’s where internal digital communications comes in.

What do you suppose would happen if you walked into an emergency room and tried to tell hospital personnel that you were 82% likely to have a heart attack within the next 15 minutes. Would they believe you?

Or would you be more likely to get immediate help if the staff were kept apprised of the rise of medical technology in smartwatches?

Like that theoretical hospital, most business operations staff aren’t poised to take advantage of these new opportunities and they depend on the company to keep them in the know. Digital internal communications is a fast and highly efficient way to prep your staff for developing tech long before it comes to market.

By the time the first pre-heart-attack patient walks in the door, that patient‘s health insurance info will be pre-synced to the hospital computer system. The staff will be pre-trained, and the digital watch’s health metrics will display automatically in their doctor’s augmented reality (AR) lenses. When seconds count, digital transformation can be the catalyst of change.

Bots, tweets, and Big Data: Digital transformation in customer experience

A recent McKinsey survey reported that the COVID pandemic accelerated the digitization of customer interaction digitization in North America by as much as three years. When people needed to buy and pay for everything they needed without leaving their homes or interacting with others, the demand for technology like sales bots exploded, and companies found themselves left behind if they didn’t catch up quickly. 

And in a different survey from Google, 59% of shoppers already consider it important to be able to shop on mobile platforms when they’re choosing a retailer or brand.

Marry that digital customer experience to AI and Big Data, and sales platforms that predict user interests are clearly becoming the norm.

We’re entering a world where a sales center will be expected to change your phone or text script based on the last few screens someone viewed. Does your sales staff and technology have what they need to make on-the-fly changes based on social media trends? Or on the top five news stories of the day?

Digital intranet software is one of the best ways to get breaking and constantly changing information out to the employees who need it–and the difference can be a game-changer.

Digital transformation in employee experience

Employees can make or break the digital transformation process, and engaged employees are far more likely to be on board with disrupting their daily workflows to improve performance, better serve customers, and frankly, have greater job satisfaction.

That‘s why forward-thinking businesses are using AI-driven, cloud-based intranet software to streamline and enhance internal communications.

Hundreds of studies, including our own Glassdoor report on internal communications, have shown that internal communications teams should focus on three key areas to drive employee engagement:

  • Purpose: showing employees the positive impact of their work
  • Alignment: keeping everyone working together toward that impact
  • Community: making sure all employees feel safe, valued, and supported

Today’s smart intranet solutions are helping even global comms teams to apply digital transformation to the employee experience.

Internal communications 2.0: connecting the digital dots

What would life be like without digital internal communication tools like Slack and Zoom? Both are examples of digital transformation we’ve already accepted into our “new” work lives.

That’s why modern intranets are designed to integrate with them, extending your communications reach even further. When you integrate your intranet with the digital transformation tools you already have, the data you want to share with employees and customers can move that much faster–and so can employees’ acceptance of the change.

1. Changing attitudes about change

Company culture is a fluid, ever-changing cycle of attitudes and behavior. It shapes—and is shaped by—day-to-day operations and interactions in both traditional and digital workplaces.

It’s human nature to be cautious—and even suspicious—of change, and when changes come without transparent communication, you might end up building a fear-based culture that’s highly resistant to change. The only way to combat that is through thoughtful, informative and frequent internal communications. If your change involves digital transformation, keep everyone well-informed about the expected benefits of digital transformation—not only for the company but for everyone’s work experience.

2. Hello, remote workers, are you okay?

Engaged employees are the true heroes of efficiency and profitability in almost every business. Effective internal communications, in turn, is the backbone of employee engagement.

Since the necessity of remote work during the pandemic led to a workforce discovering they preferred the work-from-home model, deskless employees have become commonplace. You might worry that these employees are harder to keep engaged. Once again, digital communications is an invaluable resource for them and for you. It helps employees stay connected, involved and positive. And you get regular feedback. The things that frontline employees share with you will keep you on top of new developments and keep your new technology implementations on track. 

When you add consistent messaging and transparency to the mix of information speed and human interaction, it’s easier to keep everyone calm and focused on your transformation initiative every step of the way.

3. Create a nexus for employee collaboration

Collaboration is at the heart of every successful company, and an internal communications platform should be a digital infrastructure to encourage it across home offices, despite distances, and without too much worry about time zones.

To make good use of these digital tools, encourage a culture of help and support so employees feel comfortable sharing their knowledge with each other. Information silos can reduce interdepartmental acceptance, productivity, and morale, so use the technology available to keep the knowledge flowing.

4. Get everyone in the  company excited about change

Everyone needs to know when big digital transformations are on the way—from CEOs down to the newest hire. Use internal communication channels to inform everyone and get them excited about new innovations. However, remember to be egalitarian when sharing digital transformation updates and stories to keep everyone on the same page about major business operation changes to avoid mistrust and hurt feelings if some employees have information that others don’t. An internal communications engine like an intranet is no place “for your eyes only”—the intranet is for everyone. And when everyone is up to date and engaged, they feel more involved with the big picture.

Final thoughts

Looking to implement sweeping changes that will disrupt the way your company works—for the better? Start by implementing a digital intranet solution for your internal communications.

It’s surprisingly fast and easy to deploy an intranet solution, and sets the stage for all your future transformation initiatives. 

See how a smart intranet solution can support digital transformation throughout your organization. Request a demo today.

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