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Digital transformation a mystery to employees

Businesses must communicate better with their employees about digital transformation and adoption of new technology

More than half (57%) of employees don’t know the correct meaning of ‘digital transformation’, according to research from Cherwell Software.

The survey of employees at 500 businesses found that a further 20% couldn’t guess its meaning, and 12% thought it meant moving to a paperless office.

Reactions toward the adoption of new technology in the workplace were also mixed. Thirty-four per cent of employees were confused about AI while 60% said they were excited about it. Additionally, just 9% viewed their workforce as digital innovators.

An integrated approach to the use of processes and data across all departments is vital to successful digital transformation, the research stated. But the survey revealed that just 6% of businesses’ data and processes are very well-integrated across all departments and 42% have not integrated inter-departmental data and processes well.

Oliver Krebs, vice president EMEA sales at Cherwell Software, said the results show that not enough is being done to communicate the implications of digital transformation to employees. “It’s obvious that not enough time is being devoted to communicating with employees to develop their understanding and involvement in the process of digital transformation,” he said.

“Unless business leaders bring their teams along with them on this journey British organisations are likely to fail and our ability to compete in the global marketplace will be severely compromised.”

Andre Cuenin, chief revenue officer at Cherwell Software, added: “The research demonstrates that UK businesses still have a lot to learn in terms of planning and implementing digital transformation and their adoption of new technologies like artificial intelligence if they want to shed their image of [being] digital innovation followers.

“The deep level of confusion and miscommunication among employees must be addressed by industry leaders. This may be due to the fact that digital transformation is frequently pigeonholed as an IT issue, whereas in reality it should be seen as an initiative that involves everyone across the business – from the board down to the most junior employee.”

YouGov surveyed employees at 500 businesses with 50 or more employees on behalf of Cherwell Software.