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Digital transformation involves integrating technologies and solutions into every area of a business. It touches all business areas and requires a fundamental shift in the way organizations operate and deliver the best customer experiences. Digital transformation and new technology call for governments to improve outdated systems and embrace new ways of working. Successful digital transformation requires human innovation.

We all know growth and change are essential for digital transformation, especially for those in the government sector. In one way or another, digital transformation impacts the whole organization and all its people. With change comes many challenges. Knowing how to address these challenges and manage change effectively helps ensure that employees are ready to embrace new ways of working. However, change does not happen in isolation, and technology alone is insufficient. Successful transformation requires a structured approach to ensure new processes are implemented fully and achieve the desired results. Whether new technology calls on us to innovate in the digital space or stakeholders continue to demand improvements to outdated systems, there is an increasing need for human innovation.

Acknowledge the need for change

The first step is creating a sense of urgency. The urgency or importance of the change is vital to change management and establishes a vision for change. If people do not see the urgency of changing, there will be complacency toward any proposed change.

Acknowledging and understanding the need to change helps employees become part of the solution. Involve all people impacted to develop a shared understanding of the situation. Listen to those closest to the change and understand their frustrations. Feedback loops can open the door to more conversations about why change is necessary and how to prepare for the change.

Whether the current systems are unreliable or outdated, people need to feel confident that the new approach will be better. So take the time to hear from the team and develop a clear digital transformation case that addresses concerns and embraces innovation.

Integration of digital technologies fundamentally changes how government operates and delivers value to customers. New technology calls on employees to change and innovate. To be successful, organizations must embrace change and optimize human innovation. Now the team can develop a change plan.

Modernization requires an understanding of the full mission life cycle so that improvements in one area do not hinder another. This can be very difficult in a complex government enterprise. — Larry Reagan, Vice President, Maximus Federal

Create a plan for change

People instinctively recognize when a process, procedure, or design is not working well, even if they do not know why it is not working or how to fix it. Inefficient technology, processes, or procedures can feel daunting and complex, leaving us asking ourselves, “where do I start?” A well-developed plan for change helps organizations break the problem into more manageable pieces, set goals, and identify where to start, go next, and how to get there. A change management plan helps organizations maximize resources, improve quality, and allow for repeatability to address challenges with robust solutions when designed well.

Effective change does not just happen. Any plan developed must be suitable for the organization. The first aspect of creating a change plan is communicating a clear vision for the future.

  • What is the ultimate goal for your organization?
  • Where do you want to see the organization in the future?
  • What is your future-state vision for digital transformation?
  • Who can help design and implement the change?

Once the change management team is assembled, consider how much buy-in is required and the level of support needed from others. Gaining buy-in is most effective when people across the organization are engaged and onboard.

Finally, think about what determines success. Is it more effective customer service, increased outcome-based results, less time spent on administrative tasks, improved scheduling, or better staff retention? These factors should form part of the business case and decision-making process for a successful digital transformation.

Implement the change plan

Implementation can feel like trying to build a plane that’s already airborne. By providing clear communications, and a path of activities aligned with timelines, everyone will know what has to happen, when it needs to happen and what their role is.

Change champions from across the organoiron can help put the new practices into place and serve as role models. Through positive engagement, the team can tackle tasks and advocate adopting and effective use of new technologies and processes to their peers.

Throughout implementation, ensure a focus on the support workers. These integral team members have to manage many critical aspects of the day-to-day operations while learning a new system or process that could add extra stress to their daily lives.

Therefore, ensure to provide the team with the correct tools and training to implement the change. Then, with the right technology or implementation partner, the team will have the support to integrate the new digital ecosystem successfully.

Human innovation provides a way to share expertise, develop successful and personalized problem-solving methods, and introduce users to new agile concepts such as incorporating behavioral science into solutions.

An effective change plan can help to:

  • Evaluate and align the organization’s structure so that the capacity and resources are ready to make a change
  • Prepare managers to lead teams in the change process
  • Provide knowledge transfer and training, ensuring the right skills are in place
  • Identify those affected by the change and their involvement in the implementation and sustainability of the changes
  • Introduce changes as an element of competitive advantage
  • Engage and motivate resources to focus on the right activities and support efforts to achieve high output quality and work efficiency in implementing the change

Evaluate progress and feedback

As soon as possible, evaluate how impactful the change has been. Scheduled time for feedback ensures the change plan is on the right path. Shared experiences across the team also allow for more meaningful connections.

For a successful digital transformation journey, the team needs positive change management and high user adoption of new technology. Be sure to include the entire team in the process, empower people, find and utilize change champions, and empower the team to optimize human innovation for successful digital transformation.

Digital transformation is an organization-wide process that affects the entire philosophy of the organization and the way it does business. So naturally, it is almost always a significant undertaking. Effective change management embraces human innovation and helps people adapt to achieve the desired results naturally.