Beyond the adoption of new technologies, digital transformation is a profound change that affects the entire organization. Therefore, there is no point in being at the cutting edge of technology if there is no corporate culture to support it: culture-technology synergy is no longer a simple option. Now, it is a requirement.
Companies, teams and customers. Digital transformation is the evolution of how these three actors interact with each other, how they process information and how they improve their operations. And, from this more social point of view, there is no doubt that culture plays an essential role.
Digital transformation in the business landscape
With 85% of companies that have started their digitalization process, Spain is in a leading position in the digital transformation of Spanish-speaking countries. This is according to the report “Think Digital Report 2022: Barometer on digital transformation in Spain and Latin America”, conducted by Inesdi Business Techschool.
Already 65% of organizations in the country began their digital transformation process more than a year ago, and an additional 64% are expected to join this trend by 2023.
And in Latin America? Continuing with the report, 71% of companies have started their digital transformation process, with countries such as Colombia (80%), Mexico (74%), Argentina (74%), Peru (65%) and Ecuador (58%) at the forefront.
However, not all is optimism. Despite considerable progress, digital transformation still faces significant obstacles. Cultural resistance, lack of specialized skills and coexistence with traditional methodologies are barriers yet to be overcome.
A question of culture
In the race to digital transformation, companies are often at a crossroads between hiring external experts or investing in internal training to acquire new talent and skills. While the digitization of products and services is a priority, innovation emerges as an essential facet to adapt to this new paradigm.
Beyond technological investment and the acquisition of cutting-edge tools, corporate culture stands out as a fundamental part of this process. In fact, the “Think Digital Report 2022” underlines the need for a clear purpose, a digital vision and open leadership that fosters cross-cutting collaboration to consolidate digitalization.
Already in 2017, a Capgemini study shed light on this topic, revealing that 62% of companies perceive corporate culture as the main challenge when embarking on digital transformation. This culture not only determines how decisions are made and how we work together, but must also reflect values that promote innovation, adaptability and continuous learning. This will enable organizations to respond with agility and success to the challenges of today’s dynamic digital landscape.
Cultural barriers to digital transformation
While Spain has demonstrated significant commitment and growth in the area of digital transformation, there are still cultural barriers that hinder the full incorporation of digital transformation into the country’s business fabric. Among them:
Resistance to change
This cultural barrier manifests itself in a fear of the digital world and a reluctance to leave traditional systems and processes behind. Companies often design promising digitization strategies, but fail to implement them. To overcome it, it is essential to carry out concrete actions that materialize the change, establishing clear goals and using appropriate tools.
Digital skills deficit
According to a Telefónica report on the digital society in Spain 2022, only 17% of Spanish companies have digital technology specialists in their workforce. It is imperative that employees are equipped with digital competencies to successfully meet the challenges of the digital age. This shortfall reinforces the need for continuous training and investment in specialized human capital.
Clear and effective communication is crucial to any change process. If the benefits and strategies of digital transformation are not adequately communicated to all levels of the company, resistance, confusion or even rejection may arise. Management and HR teams play a crucial role here, as they are responsible for guiding and overseeing the correct implementation of the digital strategy.
Liderazgo inadecuado y falta de compromiso
Companies must be authentic in their digital transformation process, keeping their values and objectives clear. Adopting foreign models or strategies without adapting them to your own reality can be detrimental.
At this point, the figure of the leader is essential. Companies need strong, capable and forward-looking leadership to make the transformation effective. Digitization is not a short-term project; it requires a continuous, strategic and monitored commitment to ensure its proper implementation, and without a strong leader, this process is complicated.
How to drive digital transformation in your company
To successfully adapt to the digital era, companies must make strategic adjustments and foster certain attitudes and values among their employees:
- Continuous learning mentality. Encouraging constant training, updating and experimentation is vital for digital transformation. This proactive mindset not only makes it possible to respond to innovations, but also to anticipate them.
- Proactive and committed leadership. It is essential that the organization’s leaders understand the importance of digitization and become examples of its implementation and benefits.
- Teamwork and collaboration. Success in the digital age requires a cross-departmental approach. By prioritizing a collaborative environment, silos are eliminated, promoting effective information flow and integrated solutions.
- Failure as part of the process. The road to digitization is full of trial and error. Companies must create a culture where failure is not seen as an end, but as a learning opportunity.
- A culture of innovation. It is vital to encourage creativity, risk-taking and reward those who seek unconventional solutions.
Beyond technology, digital transformation is a combination of the right tools, the right mindset and an adaptive business culture.
People: the core of digital transformation
The true essence of digital transformation in companies lies in their people. Beyond advanced tools and technologies, it is people who drive, adapt and embody the changes needed to navigate the digital world.
Resistance to change can be a challenge, but by listening, training and empowering teams, organizations can overcome obstacles and align their culture with the digital vision of the future. Recognizing and valuing the central role of people in digital transformation is essential for long-term success.