We are in a time when businesses live under the command to transform themselves digitally. Everything that has been done so far, all that they are and that has made their success is said to be outdated. However, if digital transformation there is, it began many years ago, with the arrival of the Internet, social media, intranets … The observation of obsolescence hammered by the “specialists” is to be put into perspective, especially if their argument is centered on technological innovation. Admittedly, digital transformation is a reality, but the challenges are above all human and not technological…

The web is not about to end, and it will constantly get more complex. It is impossible to think of transforming oneself once and for all, and to arrive at a point where the company, its organization, its offer … will be safe from this digital transition.

So we’ll be talking about digital acceleration, and the need to run a long distance race at the same time as a speed race, to stay on track, make the right choices and take a step ahead. In short, what to do when acceleration accelerates? Here are some tips to help you get there.

1 – The need to develop a vision

In a chaotic digital world, how can a company stay on track? By first developing a vision in order to define a direction to keep in all circumstances.

Many companies and large groups fail or stomp in their digital transformation process because they cannot get employees on board and they use the wrong levers. They do not project themselves into a viable vision, a dream in common, but remain on solutions or technical means. The tendency is to have an exacerbated focus on the “what” or the “how” but too rarely on the “why”, which leads to reluctance and skepticism. However, it is the role of managers to explain why it is necessary to digitize the company.

=> Executive managers must formalize the vision, the big dream of the company. It is up to them to embody leadership and define the major strategic directions of the company, it is up to them alone to do this.

2 – Raising awareness and training in digital technology, but in the right context

It is very easy to train management or employees in digital, especially with generic training modules to learn how to use Twitter, LinkedIn, Adwords, Yammer … but very often, this learning is disconnected from the specifics of the company.

This is explained in particular by the fact that the objectives assigned to a training have not been clearly reflected (we are training in digital because it was decided by management), and that the integration of learning does not is only rarely adapted to the operational reality which is often specific to a sector, a culture, products or services. The examples of Uber or AirBnB are often put forward, for example, but are they relevant for an insurance company or a food manufacturer?

=> Be careful to train for less time (avoid intensive 3-day seminars), more often (every quarter), with concrete cases from the company (frictions noted in the purchasing process, new competitors, operational heaviness…).

3 – Identify high digital potentials

Without you knowing, digital nuggets can hide in your business. Here an employee who has developed a passion and expertise on social media, there a project manager who spends his weekends editing to share videos … These talents must be identified, valued, and encouraged to take charge digital projects, or even to train their colleagues who will appreciate all the more the contribution of a person knowing perfectly the internal. Others just want to get started. Gather these good energies and unite them!

=> Digital acceleration is done from the inside, and your current collaborators are driving it.

4 – Avoid the traps of buzz and artifices

One of the challenges of the manager in a digital world is also to make the right choices: should you put QR codes on all your communication media? Does your service department need a chatbot? Do you have to install beacons in all your points of sale? Should you launch a miniseries on Snapchat? The same goes internally: should jackets be replaced by t-shirts, is foosball a must in the middle of a meeting room?

What makes a business “digital” is not pageantry, modern premises and trendy technology (even if it always improves everyday life). Being or doing digital is above all a state of mind, an approach of curiosity, a logic of tests and learnings that do not enclose in the past, but prepare for the future.

=> The transformation must be done in depth, not with cosmetic initiatives or that do not fit into a logic of value creation (improving the customer experience, optimizing operational efficiency, flowing the flow of information and Datas…).

5 – Mobilize on cross-cutting issues

No, innovation is not the preserve of a laboratory that you let experiment in your corner. No, data is not only an issue for Marketing and / or Customer Relations. No, exploration is more than just organizing a learning expedition to Silicon Valley to visit Google or Facebook.

There are many subjects around which the whole company must be mobilized. These will constitute the cement of a solid building which will protect it against disruptive earthquakes, tsunamis of the customer experience … These subjects are not linked to an internal department, to a tool or to a technology in particular, they concern all employees and impact their daily lives (eg data, innovation, collaboration, training, etc.).

=> Identify as quickly as possible the cross-cutting issues that block or limit you in your digital acceleration and educate them with all of your employees to involve them in your approach.

I would conclude these 5 tips with a quote from Jean d’Ormesson: “In a hundred years, we have known more changes than in 10,000 years. What acceleration! Everything goes so fast: the present is only a piece of the future that immediately turns into the past. ”

About the Author :

Mathieu Flaig (https://www.linkedin.com/in/flaigmathieu/) is Founding Partner of SYSK (Http://www.sysk.fr), an accelerator for large companies. With almost 15 years of experience, he has evolved in the fields of communication, advertising (Famous Gray), social networks (We Are Social), and then digital transformation. He has supported more than 100 major brands in their digital strategies including Auchan, Blizzard, Bouygues SA, Crédit Agricole SA, FDJ, GRDF, Monnaie de Paris, Mondadori, Nestlé, Pernod Ricard, Renault, TF1… Internet addicted since 1996, in 2009 he launched a blog, http://publigeekaire.com, a summary of marketing and technology.