Digital Transformation and Employee Empowerment

Digital transformation as Microsoft explains it is: “The realignment of or investment in new technology, business models, and processes to drive value for customers and employees and more effectively compete in an ever-changing digital economy.” Today, digital transformation is taking center stage as organizations envision and plan for the future.

In a previous post we introduced the four pillars of digital transformation and discussed how digital transformation can improve customer engagement. Now we will look at the second pillar to understand how digital transformation affects employee empowerment.

Empowering Employees Through Digital Transformation

Empowered employees are generally happier employees who have been given the autonomy and tools they need to do their job successfully. And when employees are empowered, customer satisfaction improves and the overall business benefits. Digital transformation, therefore, has been a welcome evolution for employees, who are benefiting from the many new capabilities these digital tools offer.

A study of 500 digital transformation strategists and executives, conducted by the Altimeter group, revealed that one of the highest ranked benefits of digital transformation for organizations included a positive impact on employee morale, with “37% of respondents stating that, second to increased market share, employee engagement was the next big return.”

Breaking Down Barriers and Improving Collaboration

As the saying goes, knowledge is power. One of the best ways to improve employee morale is to ensure that employees have the knowledge and information they require to successfully execute their job function. A customer relationship management (CRM) system is one of the tools that is making this possible. As a central repository for storing and managing data, a CRM is able to provide employees with a single point of reference that is easy to access and simple to navigate. Certain roles, such as customer service representatives, can benefit greatly from this functionality, as they are able to locate the information they need, immediately, to answer customer inquiries. Not only that, but having access to information enables customer service reps to upsell, offer product and service recommendations or take action on something that previously would have been impossible due to a lack of information. When employees are armed with the knowledge they need to solve a customer problem, autonomously, they feel good about their job and morale improves.

A CRM is also the perfect collaboration tool, one that can make the sharing of information and ideas easier than ever before. When employees are able to collaborate more gets accomplished, individuals are more productive and innovative and the business prospers. Through collaboration a culture of success can be achieved.

These CRM capabilities are enhanced even further when the CRM has the ability to integrate with the other business systems your company relies upon, such as an enterprise resource management software (ERP) and/or business intelligence software (BI). When systems are all working together, and information is shared across the business, departmental barriers are broken down. As Jim DuBois, Corporate Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Microsoft, stated, “Knowledge and insight exists inside your infrastructure; it’s just waiting to be found. By securely breaking down information barriers we’ll understand and learn how everyone in the company uses their time and help maximize the impact of our workforce.” In order to help businesses do just this, Microsoft has launched a new and revolutionary product, Microsoft Dynamics 365, that seamlessly integrates ERP, CRM and BI into one solution, making it easier than ever before for companies to grow, evolve and transform.

Pyrotek, an international metal and glass supplier and consultating firm, realized the benefits of a CRM first hand, when they integrated Microsoft Dynamic 365 (formerly Microsoft CRM) with their Sharepoint. As they noted,

“In addition to improving the efficiency of sales teams, the connected solution has improved collaboration between the sales organization and internal teams, and it has provided management with real-time insight into pipeline status and sales performance. Microsoft Dynamics CRM makes our sales personnel more effective by reducing the amount of time they spend on non-value-add activities and by creating more time to spend with customers. And sales managers can now focus more time on training and coaching in relation to high-impact customer activities. Both of these enhancements have a major impact on our revenue-generation potential.”

Fueling Innovation and Shifting Company Culture

One of the greatest challenges that organizations face as they progress along their digital transformation journey is user adoption and a cultural mindset that must shift in order to make room for innovation. As the Altimeter study found, “Innovation is often limited when teams are not empowered to operate outside of their day-to-day work. In our 2014 and 2016 surveys, we learned that 63% of leaders believed changing company culture was a top challenge facing digital transformation.”

In order to deal with these challenges some companies are creating innovation centers or forming innovation teams to “understand and test new technologies and develop new solutions/services,” according to Altimeter.

When it comes to user adoption of new technologies, training is critical. While many large enterprises have in-house training teams, these teams should not be relied on to implement effective training on their own. While an in-house training team is beneficial for the rollout of any new technology, it is the technology providers themselves who should be educating users. For example, at Hitachi Solutions, we employ industry experts who have deep knowledge in varying verticals and understand Microsoft Dynamics 365 inside and out — which means they can thoroughly train employees in each department, from finance to HR, understanding that each department will have different needs and goals when it comes to the new Dynamics 365 product. Working with an implementation partner to create in-depth training plans for all the different teams who will be working with the system is important to ensuring user adoption. A confused, frustrated employee is not going to give a new system a chance; but when in-depth training clears up any doubts or questions, they will readily accept new processes.

When employees have the tools they need and are appropriately trained on how to utilize those tools, everyone benefits — because when employees feel empowered, customers are provided with the highest level of service and this translates into recurring revenue for your business.

Would you like to learn more about transforming your business to better empower employees and compete in your market? Microsoft’s newly released product, Dynamics 365, promises to transform the way companies do business from start to finish. If you are interested in discussing this new release or would just like to talk about ways to use CRM or ERP technology to enhance your business and progress your digital transformation, contact one of the implementation experts at Hitachi Solutions.

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