Digital transformation is the journey from where a company is, to where it aspires to be digitally.

A digital organisation is generally considered to be one that focuses on customer experience irrespective of channel and has a ‘digital culture’. But how do you get the right mix of skills, culture and technology in order to benefit the customer and the long-term health of your organisation?

This was one of the many questions asked during Digital Cream 2015, an exclusive invitation-only roundtable event, that provides an opportunity for senior client-side marketers to learn from each other about the latest best practice, what’s working and what’s not. 

Here we will be sharing with you some of the key insight from the day, however for the full report please download the Digital Transformation Trends Briefing, which is FREE to download for all registered Econsultancy users.

Convincing the board is still a challenge

The main barriers to transformation stated by the delegates were varied but not uncommon. Issues on how to get how to get people up to speed on digital, and how to drive transformation when it’s a small percentage of your sales, were all shared by our attendees.

However one of the key challenges was still in convincing those higher up the ladder that transformation is necessary for future success.

People on the board are often of a generation that don’t really understand digital and this is often a barrier to getting things implemented. A few delegates wondered how they get the board to understand metrics when they traditionally only care about sales KPIs. 

The table discussed the need for the message to be translated into a language that board members understand, stressing the need to keep up with digitally-focused competitors and the damage that this will do to the brand if you don’t. And most importantly, the message should reiterate that digital transformation is not just about short-term sales.

The need for education

People need a broad range of skills in order to contribute to a modern digital-first economy: social, soft, hard, mastery of the generalist and specialist areas, and life skills. 

In order to implement digital transformation you must understand the skills required to meet the challenge. It’s also crucial to evolve to a model where digital is part of everybody’s job. 

This theme, of digital education across the entire business, came up several times, with delegates having different solutions, from organisation-wide digital elearning programmes to nominated digital evangelists within the business to drive change. 

While each delegate had a slightly different approach, most said they felt their programmes were successful at making those first steps to embedding digital across the business.

In our Organizational Structures and Resourcing Best Practice Guide we asked respondents “How much of a priority is digital training for your organisation?”

In 2011, only 17% described the digital training for traditional marketers as being given a high priority in their company but in 2013 this has increased to 30%.

Similarly, just 27% of respondents in 2011 believed that digital training for other staff in non-digital roles in their organisation was attributed a high or medium priority but in 2013 this had increased to 40%.

Providing the right culture

Culture is all about behaviour and mindset. Applying a few changes to the way the people and teams in your organisation work and interact with each other can have positive effects that spread externally.

The layout of the office was noted by several delegates to be important. Having an open plan office removes the physical barriers that prevent people from communicating and sharing ideas. Furthermore, it encourages a flat management structure in place of a rigid hierarchy. 

Delegates were in favour of hot-desking due to the increased flexibility and the impact on cleanliness in the office. Plus, moving people out of their comfort zone can have a huge impact on their thinking and the way they approach their role.

However, it was also felt that in most cases people gravitated towards the same spot in the office anyway. Either way, hot-desking can be an effective way of encouraging better communication across departments and ensuring people don’t hide behind their monitors.

For the full report please download the Digital Transformation Trends Briefing, which is FREE to download for all registered Econsultancy users.