With winter just having ended in Australia, it offers people the opportunity to reflect on events that happened over the past six months. July brought the end of the greatest sports competition in the world, the FIFA World Cup. It might be difficult to draw direct similarities between digital transformation and soccer, but upon closer inspection, there are plenty of similarities between a soccer team gearing up to compete in the World Cup and the internal culture of a business embarking on a transformative digital journey.
Many businesses view digital transformation as being essential to business growth. In fact, “85 percent of enterprise decision makers globally believe they have two years to integrate digital initiatives before falling behind their competitors.” Similarly, if a soccer team hopes to bring home the World Cup, they must have a strategic manager, skilled players, and a strong team ethos. If these characteristics can be harnessed throughout a team of individuals, whether in an office or on the pitch, a winning culture can be instilled that will achieve results.
New manager means a new system
Many C-suite leaders would agree that digital transformation is crucial not only for business outcomes but for enhancing efficiency throughout the staff, with 32 percent of organisations claiming that digital transformation has helped improve operational efficiency. With nearly 90 percent of companies believing that digital transformation is a competitive opportunity, it is vital that the C-suite get the journey correct to ensure they end up above their rivals. A poor decision about rolling-out digital transformation by the leaders of an organisation can not only cause financial losses but reputational ramifications as well.
In soccer, there are many different styles of play. Some managers prefer an attacking technique while others are more preferential to a defensive style of play. A soccer team’s coaching staff is made up of many roles, the manager, team coach and assistant coach They all must contribute and work towards the same goal to get the best out of their players. Choosing the wrong playing style against an opponent causes their team to be eliminated from the World Cup prematurely. Like a soccer manager, it’s vital that the C-suite understands the strengths and weaknesses of their team. There is no silver bullet approach to digital transformation, as there are different approaches, that are suited to different scenarios.
Investing in the team
At every World Cup, a young talented player emerges and captures the hearts of spectators worldwide while legendary players revered by entire nations may retire opening the door for a new star player. Teams must continue to upskill existing players to build team chemistry and match the coaching staff’s direction and the team’s ambition.
The same can be said for businesses. The C-suite can build and upskill a talented team of IT professionals to elevate the digital capabilities of their organisation through the implementation of cloud environments, artificial intelligence, and automation. While investing in new talent is a good thing, a complete overhaul of the IT team would be detrimental to any organisation as it takes a long time for new employees to get used to new systems and processes.
Being a team player
Just like soccer players have a position they excel in, employees within an organisation have roles to ensure their company functions to the best of its ability. While there are many differences between an attacking midfielder in soccer and the Chief Technology Officer of a hospital, they share certain characteristics.
Emotional trust: Even though technical skills and knowledge are important, companies who are going to successfully use machine learning, automation, and cloud technology, need to trust in co-workers and the organisation goal. Trust ensures the company and team are going in the right direction.
Diversity of thought: Technology isn’t designed with one person in mind, but many people. Therefore, it helps to include employees from different professional backgrounds and experiences who can contribute different perspectives laterally on digital transformation across an organisation.
Shared goal: All successful teams have a common objective that everyone within the group prioritises above their own personal goals. While this objective is usually set by the manager or CTO, players and employees that share the same ambition will quickly get behind the manager and support these goals. Along with sharing an objective, teams also share credit or criticism across the entire group.
Going the distance
Successfully transforming a business to be more adaptive in an ever-evolving digital market will be a constant work in progress as technology alters the way services are delivered. The determination to address digital transformation is underpinned by strong leadership and culture combined with a shared vision.
The World Cup happens once every four years, while digital transformation is constantly taking place. If organisations or international soccer teams hope to reach their end goal, they must ensure they have a system in place that everyone can get behind, a workforce with grit that allows everyone to go the distance.
Tony Marceddo is general manager at Vault Systems