Digital Transformation

Mapping the Change: Minimise The Uncertainty Of Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation can be a daunting task, but an effective Change Management approach can minimise uncertainty and maximise ROI. Learn how.

As important as it is to embrace digital transformation in the modern day, simply starting that journey can be an uphill battle by itself because people, by nature, are often resistant to change. And organisations of people are doubly so.

We resist it, because we understand that change is a difficult process, full of instability, uncertainty, and stress. For management and employees alike, it can be a nightmare. And often, the larger and more seemingly well-run an organisation, the more trouble it will have making the changes necessary to keep up with the age, because tried-and-true methods – honed over decades of doing business – are especially hard to let go of.

And sometimes, we resist taking the first step on the road to transformation, only because we’ve never mapped out the journey; making transformation even more daunting a step into the unknown.

That’s why it’s so important to approach digital transformation from the effective perspective of efficient change management, taking account of the road ahead, the challenges it offers, and your organisational capacity for meeting those challenges.

Understanding Change Management

Successful change management involves plotting out focuses of change, and putting in place mechanisms to predict and solve for internal and external barriers, leveraging or overcoming obstructions as necessary, on the path to achieving change goals.

Simply put, change management urges the adoption of a big-picture view to identify challenges both inside and outside of the organisation.

Once you have identified problems, you can provide solutions by implementing appropriate internal processes and nurturing complementary behaviours to accentuate the desired change.

But how do you turn this high-level, abstract talk into something more tangible, more operational?

That’s where change management is bundled into the more easily digestible form of change management models.

Mapping Your Transformation With Change Management Models

A Google search will very quickly reveal a sea of change management models that the forward-thinking organisation could employ in their own transformation strategies. And we encourage you to explore the options and select one, or a combination, whose composition most readily resounds with your own organisational and workplace culture.

Kotter’s Change Management Model, for example, focuses on managing change as experienced from the employee perspective – emphasising the potential for employee-centric obstacles at each stage of change, allowing for organisations to accommodate more “human” concerns in advance. The McKinsey 7s Framework, on the other hand, identifies 7 key elements of business whose interrelation necessitates their alignment during the change process – with staff only being one such element.

But when all is said and done, Lewin’s Change Management Model – despite sometimes being criticised for its oversimplification of the processes involved in change – manages to cover the particulars offered by other models in its three broad sweeps: Unfreeze, Change, and Refreeze.


Change (Move)

Freeze (Refreeze)

●      Map out most important processes in the company

●      Locate all obstacles and bottlenecks within the system

●      Assess high priority and low priority process

●      Set KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)

●      Make necessary changes

●      Observe changes in a set period of time

●      Get feedback from key players

●      List all successful changes

●      Review KPIs

●      Reinforce changes by giving incentive or celebrating small wins

●      Constant engagement

The simplicity of Lewin’s Change Management Model encourages the necessary big picture view, without completely sacrificing the more specified attention offered by other models.

And for the purposes of this overview of change management, it serves perfectly.

In terms of digital transformation, the Unfreeze stage is about thawing your organisation from the frozen restraints of the embedded status quo. Not only is the organisation at this stage identifying problems that digitalisation can resolve, but it is identifying potential obstacles to digitalisation.

For example, say your goal is to improve after-sales customer service because it’s an area that has been flagged as a problem. Your digital solution might be to integrate your technical staff into a cloud-based after-sales maintenance service. And obstacles to that solution could include such considerations as insufficient employee expertise in cloud-based technologies, or employee resentment at the perception of increased workload. This would mean that alongside rolling out its cloud-based solution, the organisation would have to put a premium on communicating with staff, and consider the employment of new staff or the reallocation of existing staff – and this could impact the KPIs, which would have to be track fastidiously to ensure the project’s value.

During the Change stage, your organisation would begin rolling out its primary and supporting changes, communicating at every step, and monitoring the changes via feedback from key stakeholders.

And, finally, during the Refreeze stage, the organisation would take account of the success of individual changes, cementing the effective ones into the workplace culture and organisational structure, and incentivising employee behaviour complementary to the changes.

Given the continually updating nature of digital technology, a given project might go through several iterations of the model.

Understanding Digital Transformation At Every Level

The by-now cliché reality is that digital transformation is disruptive, by its very nature.

That’s why it’s so important to take account of every aspect of the organisational system from the ground up, and appreciate the nuanced nooks and crannies that have developed between the interactions of every process, department, and system. Lacking this appreciation will always be one of the most fundamental obstacles to digital transformation and one of the surest ways to disrupt your business operations – perhaps beyond the point of tolerance.

Change management models are powerful precisely because they emphasise the holistic, full-spectrum view necessary for successful transformation.

It’s a view that we at Papillio appreciate, which is why it’s a view accommodated by the Papillio innovation toolkit.








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