What does Change Management look like in the digital age?

May 04, 2018/5 mins min read

There are a number of key areas for Change Management in the digital age: Digital Transformation, Digital Talent, and Digital Leadership. This section looks at what impact Change Management has on organizations today.

Change Management has always been associated with change within organizations in a general way. However, as companies move towards digitalization, Change Management is shifting too. There are a number of key areas for Change Management in the digital age: Digital Transformation, Digital Talent, and Digital Leadership. Digital Transformation is probably the most important and disruptive organizational change to happen in recent times. This chapter explores the shifting importance of Change Management and what it looks like in the digital age.

Digital Transformation

In its broadest terms, Digital transformation is the change associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of human society.

Digital Transformation is the biggest change that organizations will face right now. Restructuring the organization to enable the digital transformation is no small task, as many organizations are currently going through this change. Prior to initiating the transformation, the leadership team in any organization must align its thought as to what digital means to the organization and how it will fit into the overall business model.

Whilst the definition of digital transformation is broad, most agree that it contains the following elements:

  1. Customer-centricity: moving the focus from maximum profit to putting the customer well and truly first.
  2. Use of iterative and collaborative processes that incorporate the spirit of "fail fast fail often" such as agile and lean methodologies;
  3. Integration of multiple services and channels, enabled by technology.

This is simply a brief overview of Digital Transformation, the next chapter will look at this important shift in organizations in more detail.

The Digital Workforce

The digital workforce refers to how the skills needed by organizations from their employees are changing. HR departments are and should be, making a digital shift in order make sure that employees have the right skills to be able to take on the challenges of the new digital workplace. One example of this is that there is an increasing demand for marketers that need to have data analysis skills and evening coding skills in order to prestige in digital marketing roles. This could mean the emergence of new roles within organizations too; such as Head of Digital roles. As the demand for skills changes, HR managers need to be instigators of changing themselves and digitalize the recruitment process too.

Digital Leaders

Digital leaders play a critical role in paving the way for the digital transformation and should heavily engage and communicate with key stakeholders (whether internal or external to the organization) in deciding, designing and delivering the digital organization. This means that the role of leadership will change and this will be a challenge for leaders as they will need to change and adapt accordingly.

Change Management in a digital world

As well as new areas to focus on, Change Management in the digital age also brings new models for change implementation. These models, compared to the traditional models, are focused more on fast continuous change, rather than one big time change. We also see that change management becomes more mainstream and a permanent feature within the daily operations of businesses, rather than being exclusive practice for management consultants.

We can see that Change Management is no longer only reserved for organized projects, but rather it is something that is integrated into all parts of the organization, including HR.

This Article is part of a series about Digital Change Management.

Read the next chapter: Change Management in Action: Digital Transformation

See the whole guide: Change Management in the Digital Age

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