Navigating disruption in the digital era: Culture is the key | HCLTech

Navigating disruption in the digital era: Culture is the key

Panelists on a HCLTech Tweetchat say the right culture is almost as important as the technology in making a successful digital transformation
7 min. read
Bennett Voyles
Bennett Voyles
Contributing Writer
7 min. read
Navigating disruption in the digital era: Culture is the key

All over the world, executives face tough choices about how to pursue their digital transformation. Choose the right path and your company may emerge more profitable and with a more secure set of competitive advantages. Choose wrongor even make the right choices in the wrong orderand your firm could easily lose its way.

In a wide-ranging Tweetchat hosted by HCLTechs on May 4, nine technology management leaders shared their insights in a virtual panel discussion about navigating disruption in the digital era.

Three themes dominated the conversation: first, the challenge of keeping up with the rapid evolution of technology; second, the need to invest more in employee education; and third, the importance of building a resilient, agile culture that can handle extreme changes.

The right technology

“The rapid pace of technological change is a challenge for organizations seeking to stay ahead of the competition,” said Heather Wilde Renze, Chief Technology Officer at the Difference Consulting – Beautiful Solutions. However, Wilde Renze argued that good technology planning can mitigate those risks. “Prioritizing investments that enable agility and adaptability can help organizations respond to changing market conditions,” she said.

“The increasing use of voice-enabled interfaces and natural language processing will drive the development of more intuitive and personalized digital experiences,” Wilde Renze predicted.

Right now, Dion Hinchcliffe, VP and Principal Analyst at Constellation Research, also advises investing in the improvement of digital experience (CX, EX, PX), cloud and strategic AI (foundation models, lLMs), data management and analytics (BI/APIs), iPaaS and low code.

Like Wilde Renze, he sees personalization as a key trend in the coming years, in particular, the “1:1 digital personalization of customer experience”.

At the same time, Dr. Sanjay Katkar, Co-Founder, joint Managing Director and CTO of Quick Heal Technologies Limited, advised companies to keep cybersecurity concerns top of mind. “Cybersecurity and privacy technologies will continue to be crucial, as cyber threats become more sophisticated and data privacy becomes more crucial,” he said.

Antonio Figueiredo, Senior Director of Strategic Programs & Architecture at Salesforce, also sees cybersecurity investment as crucial.

As with a lot of software these days, many of these security technologies will be “app-based”, according to Shane Fogle, Director in the Security & Privacy practice in the Atlanta, GA, office of Protiviti, a global consultancy, “especially in the areas of identity and access management”.

Distributed ledgers will be an important part of many security solutions, according to Katkar. “Blockchain will continue to evolve and enable secure and transparent transactions in various industries, such as finance, supply chain, and health care,” he predicted.

Beyond keeping the bad guys out, according to Wilde Renze, these emerging technologies will also help organizations keep up with ever-evolving regulations. “Investing in digital transformation can help organizations to meet these challenges and respond to changing regulations and data privacy laws,” she wrote.

The right stuff

But panelists said that success depends not just on adopting the right technology but on developing the right technologists to run it. “Invest in people who DRIVE digital transformation,” said John Nosta, founder of NostaLab, a digital health think tank, and a member of the Google Health Advisory Board and the World Health Organization’s Digital Health Roster of Experts.

“To future-proof enterprises, it is imperative for the workforce to regularly upskill itself,” emphasized Kalyan Kumar, CTO & Head – Ecosystems for HCL Technologies.

But how? In a world where the machines can learn by themselves, what will human beings need to do to stay relevant? “Soft skills like creativity, adaptability and critical thinking are essential for navigating digital disruption,” Wilde Renze said. But to develop those traits, the company will need to prioritize “investments in communication and leadership development that can foster a culture of innovation”.

Culture change is important, said Mike D. Kail, CTO at PrimaryIO, a data protection service, and seasoned C-level executive with 30+ years of experience in technology management. “Culture is the foundation on which digital transformation is built and removing the ‘cultural inertia,’ is key for success,” he explained.

Nosta also saw culture as crucial, and linked from one of his tweets to a Psychology Today blog in which he included details about a poll of 270 corporate leaders published in the Harvard Business Review. That survey found the biggest obstacles to innovation in large companies to be “not strategy, vision, tactics or the elusive search for the big idea, but culture!”

What kind of culture succeeds? Katkar has a guess: Tomorrow’s winners will have employees who have “a growth mindset and a willingness to continuously learn and adapt to new technologies and market trends”.

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The right timing

What project should you tackle first? “Prioritize by identifying critical business needs, evaluating risks, and considering competitive advantage,” Figueiredo said.

But don’t spend too much time prioritizing: Sandy Carter, Chief Operating Officer and Head of Business Development at Unstoppable Domains, a platform for user-owned digital identity, warns. She said: “New technology like [artificial intelligence], Web3, quantum, blockchain, and [augmented reality] are really dominating in the space!”

In the end, however, Kail argues that the recipe for success in digital transformation is quite simpleconceptually, anyway. “The key digital transformation strategies include developing a clear digital vision and strategy, investing in the right technologies, and fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration,” he said.

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