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How to Digitize: Create a Culture of Agility

- October 12, 2016 - 7 Comments

In my previous blog, I discussed the most common question I receive, “How do I begin the digitization journey for my company?” The next question is often, “How do we change our corporate culture?”

Corporate culture is key to the success or failure of digital business transformation. From my conversations with hundreds of companies, I believe executives hold two misconceptions around culture and digitization: 1) digitization will disrupt the culture they’ve taken so long to build, and 2) their culture isn’t ready to enable and embrace digitization.

Both of these positions reflect a widespread reluctance to act and a preference for the status quo. However, in today’s digital world, just the opposite—action—is required. Stagnation is an invitation to be disrupted.

Given this dynamic environment, agility must become your new corporate culture. Because change is the only constant today, the ability to quickly and effectively pivot cannot be approached with fear or in an incremental way. Instead, developing an agile culture must be embraced as an opportunity for growth, and potentially even survival, by seizing control of your organization’s digital destiny.

So, how do you create an agile culture? Regardless of where your company’s culture is today, “digital business agility,” a concept we highlight in Digital Vortex, is a great place to begin.

Create an agile culture with informed decision-making, fast execution, and pervasive security.

In April, I highlighted the three capabilities of digital business agility—hyperawareness, informed decision-making, and fast execution. Today, I want to focus on how informed decision-making and fast execution, along with pervasive security are especially powerful in creating an agile culture. This is because companies need to maximize the value of their most important and costly resource—their people—who need to collaborate across functions and distances.

In fact, work is no longer a place and organization charts can’t tell you who needs to take part in decisions. Expertise must be found and utilized wherever it is located. That’s why Cisco has brought more flexible and intuitive collaboration solutions to market like Spark and Jabber, as well as embedding analytics across the network that enable an agile culture.

Don’t lose sight of the fact that every employee is ultimately a decision-maker who can benefit from seamless collaboration and analytics. Not every “informed” employee needs to be a data scientist, but everyone can take advantage of analytics in their work. This is especially true when organizations shield analytical complexity from front-line users and embed intelligence in their workflows.

After employees are informed with accurate, timely, and relevant information, they need to act on it. In the context of digital business agility, fast execution is the ability of companies to implement plans quickly and effectively. This gives organizations a competitive edge by enabling them to acquire, manage, and rapidly shift talent and technology as needed. Fast execution also enables companies to more quickly create new capabilities, seize opportunities, and neutralize threats.

The last main component to create an agile culture is pervasive security. When companies know their employees, intellectual property, and customers are protected, they are more comfortable investing to build a digital business. Cisco’s own research showed 64 percent of respondents recognize that security is a vital foundation for digital growth strategies. To become truly agile, you need to treat pervasive security as an innovation competency.

In summary, be truthful about what may need to be addressed in your culture, and do not wait.  Seizing the initiative is the only way to survive in today’s digital world.  Learn more about how to digitize your business by staying tuned to my upcoming blogs.

Keywords: culture, collaboration, Spark, WebEx, Jabber, analytics, digitization, digital, transformation, agility, Digital Vortex, analytics, security, decision making, fast execution, digital business agility



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