The Digitization Journey

By Sreenivas Pamidimukkala, CIO, International Paper

The Digitization JourneyDigitization is way of converting informa­tion into digital format automating the manual process. There will be lot of areas where digitization helps. Areas that pro­vide huge business value should be chosen for digitization. Advantages of digitized data are

a. Data Foundation

b. Data Retention

Once data foundation is created, this data can be used for future trends. There are lot of emerging technology tools that can be used for creating trends like Tableau and Power BI.

Data retention: Data will be stored in a database for further use. This data can be used for future trends and dashboards.

Organization that wants to start the digitization jour­ney should focus on 5 important things:

1. Strategy

2. Executive Sponsor & Stakeholder Commitment

3. Organization Readiness

4. Communication

 5. Project Team

Strategy: When we start the digitization initiative there will be lot of opportunity. Strategy document is more important for the organization. This strategy should be only for 3 years. This document will give the road map on how Digitization will be implemented in an organiza­tion. Strategy document should always have timelines.

Executive Sponsor & Stakeholder Commitment: This strategy should be part of Organization's goals. After that all the relevant stakeholders and the Leadership team should be committed to this goal. This is extremely im­portant that the leadership is aligned in the strategy. We will also see the impact of the changes and what can be done to reduce the impact. Their acceptance and support is the key to your success.

"By assessing the organization’s change readiness, one can better plan and prepare the organization for the changes ahead. This will allow for identification and understanding of potential enablers and potential barriers"

Six key questions to identify Stakeholder Concerns & Issues

a. What is changing?

b. Why is it changing?

c. How will I be impacted?

d. What is in it for me?

e. How will I get the knowledge, skill and information that I need?

f. What do you need for me to do?

Organization Readiness: The organization's capability to adapt to and sustain the changes associated with dif­ferent business initiatives is important. By assessing the organization’s change readiness, one can better plan and prepare the organization for the changes ahead. This will allow for identification and understanding of potential enablers and potential barriers. The readiness assessment will also surface organizational issues and opportunities that need to be addressed. You will always here “Exist­ing system is working fine” why change. IT will always come up with new things. The key elements of change readiness are:

a. Change Vision

b. Change Leadership

c. Building Commitment

d. Sustaining Change

e. Configuring and Managing the Change Program

Communication: This consists of 2 important steps:

a. Communication Strategy

b. Communication Plan

Communication Strategy has the following key ele­ments:

a. Audience

b. Message

c. Channels

d. Timeframe

e. Sender

 f. Feedback

Communication Plan: Simple chart to help people understand the channels, content and action needed for communication. The process by which information is ex­changed between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs and behaviours. By using this we can:

 a. Inform and Involve team members

 b. Build awareness and understanding for the change

 c. Communicate a consistent message

Benefits of Communication:

a. Inform & Involve those impacted

b. Develop awareness & understanding for the project

c. Articulate project vision in consistent message

d. Replace rumours with facts, reducing anxiety levels

A clearly defined communication plan will:

a. Guide distribution of key project messages to em­ployee population

b. Identify how the right messages go to the right au­dience at the right time with the right level of impact

Project Team: Good team always wins. Make sure you have the right resources working on the projects. This will make a huge difference. Team readiness provides in­dividuals with the necessary direction, tools & support to implement the changes related to the project. Team readi­ness is important because:

a. It provides clear direction a common team goal

b. Provides clear involvement and commitment to team and individual roles and responsibilities.

c. Ensures that individuals have the skills and knowl­edge needed to execute their role

d. Open and effective communication channels

Characteristics of Successful Teams:

a. A Common Goal

b. Agreement on how the team will function

c. Cleary defined expectations, milestones and ac­countabilities

d. A focus on solving problems and self-correcting their own internal team functioning

e. Highly developed interpersonal and team skills

f. Provide a supportive environment for team mem­bers

g. A focus on continuous improvement

Setting Up for Success:

a. Team process is like any technical process: teams will deliver only what they are capable of delivering

b. A team not formed properly could stay in the “storming” stage for a period of time

c. Unless intervention occurs, teams norms will rein­force the team’s ineffective group dynamics

d. Setting up for success accelerates the team’s abil­ity to be productive, to reach the performing stage and achieve their deliverables with little or no disruptions

e. Provide the team necessary training and guidance for the initiative to be successful.

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