Digital Transformation

8 Basic Steps to Building a Digital-Ready Culture in Your Organization


A digital-ready culture is critical for organizations to remain relevant in today’s fast-paced business environment. It means integrating digital thinking into every aspect of operations, from strategy to marketing. This shift in thinking  should first be inculcated   within the leadership, and trickle down to the employees. .

But building a digital-ready culture in your organization goes beyond acquiring the latest tech infrastructure or implementing new software. It requires a fundamental shift in mindset, values, and work practices, and involves embracing innovation, adaptability, and collaboration. Let’s dive into how you can make this  happen.

Why is a digital-ready culture important?

Organizational digital transformation often faces cultural barriers. In fact, Gartner has identified culture as a primary obstacle for organizational digital transformation. By fostering a culture that embraces digitization, organizations can overcome these barriers and effectively adapt to the ever evolving technological advancements, customer expectations, and market demands.

How to build a digital-ready culture in your organization

1. Start with a digital journey

The first step to building a digital-ready culture is to develop a digital strategy that aligns with the business objectives. Create a roadmap for implementing digital initiatives and solutions that enhance customer experiences, improve operational efficiency, and achieve business goals.

Take inspiration from, Starbucks’ digital strategy which focuses on creating a seamless customer experience across all channels, from mobile ordering to in-store pickups. They use a mobile app to enable customers to order and pay for their coffee ahead of time, reducing wait times and enhancing convenience for  busy customers.

2. Start at the top

Leading by example lays a strong foundation when fostering change within a culture. It is crucial for leadership to demonstrate a commitment to the new values established in your digital strategy and to champion and drive the necessary cultural shifts. Leadership that rigorously adheres to these values sets a powerful precedent for others to follow.

Visionary leaders like Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft and Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google have positioned their companies as digital frontrunners, with their leadership being instrumental in driving innovation, fostering a culture of digital readiness, and securing a competitive edge in an  ever-evolving digital landscape.

3. Empower employees with digital skills and tools

It is essential to equip your employees with the necessary skills to navigate digital tools and technologies. Offering employees access to fit-for-purpose digital tools and upskilling them to effectively use these, enable them to leverage technology to its fullest potential. These tools can range from a simple spreadsheet software to project management software and collaboration platforms to data analytics tools and automation solutions.

Coca-Cola’s “Digital University” serves as an excellent example by offering training on crucial topics such as digital marketing, social media, and data analytics, to equip their workforce with the necessary expertise. As a result, they have cultivated a more digitally adept workforce and enhanced its overall digital capabilities.

4. Foster a culture of innovation

Employees must be encouraged to venture into uncharted territories by experimenting with new ideas and technologies. This is promoted by creating an environment where innovation is valued, and failure is seen as an opportunity to learn and improve. This empowers employees to think creatively, take calculated risks, and explore their passions, which will propel the organization’s digital transformation journey.

Google’s “20% time” policy allows employees to spend 20% of their time on projects that they are passionate about. This has led to the development of several successful products, including Gmail and Google Maps.

5. Break down silos

Digital transformation requires breaking down silos and encouraging cross-functional collaboration on digital initiatives.

For example, Procter & Gamble’s “Connect and Develop” initiative brought together employees from different departments to collaborate on innovation projects. This approach helped them develop new products and technologies quickly and efficiently.

6. Embrace agile methodologies

A digital-ready culture is agile and adaptive with the ability to pivot quickly in response to new challenges and opportunities at a moment’s notice. Agile methodologies like Scrum and Kanban enable organizations to quickly adapt to changing market conditions and customer needs.

Spotify uses a “Spotify Model” that combines agile methodologies with a “tribe” structure to create a more flexible and adaptive organization. This approach has helped them quickly respond to changing customer needs and market trends.

7. Measure success

A digital-ready culture embraces data and analytics, offering a competitive advantage to businesses in today’s data-driven world. Measuring the success of digital initiatives, setting clear KPIs, and tracking progress enables data-driven decisions and identifies areas for improvement. By prioritizing data and analytics, organizations gain the ability to measure success, adapt proactively, foster a culture of continuous improvement, and ensure ongoing success.

Walmart serves as a prime example of leveraging a data-driven approach to measure success and drive continuous improvement.

8. Continuous learning and improvement

Finally, a digital-ready culture values continuous learning and improvement. In the digital age, new technologies and trends emerge at a rapid pace, and businesses that can stay ahead of the curve will be more successful.

Companies like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon prioritize employee upskilling through comprehensive training programs, certifications, and access to learning platforms. This commitment to continuous learning empowers employees to embrace new technologies, drive innovation, and propel their organizations forward in the digital era.

In conclusion, culture plays a critical role in driving true digital transformation within an organization. Building a digital-ready culture is not easy, but it’s essential to keep your organization relevant in today’s digital age. By developing a digital strategy, empowering employees with digital skills, fostering a culture of innovation, breaking down silos, embracing agile methodologies, and measuring success, organizations can create a digital-ready culture that drives growth, improves efficiency, and enhances customer experiences.

The need to foster a digital-ready culture is not limited to large enterprises, but it is equally important for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). While SMEs may not prioritize this as much as larger organizations, they have a significant advantage in their ability to quickly embrace a digital mindset. Their agility enables them to swiftly respond to market changes, innovate their business models, and gain a competitive edge. In fact, SMEs often experience faster and more tangible outcomes from embracing a digital-ready culture because they can adapt quickly and implement changes on a smaller scale.

As a digital transformation partner, we work with organizations from multiple domains to help them build digital-ready cultures which have enabled them to achieve significant improvements in their digital capabilities and achieve their business objectives.