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The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things for businesses, leaders and employees around the world over the past year. From navigating remote work challenges to planning the safe return to work, we’ve all had to practice agility and adaptability to weather an unconventional, and unforeseen, storm of events. These changes speak to the need for digital transformation among businesses around the world. As mobility evolves, so too does its strategic importance in facilitating digital transformation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly forced many companies into digital transformation whether they were ready or not. Shifting to an entirely remote work setting and quickly pivoting to understand the intricacies of IT management are some likely scenarios senior leaders have had to deal with. But what exactly is digital transformation? The answer is likely to differ for each company, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Digital transformation is often an evolving process that includes company culture.
Harvard Business Review explains that digital transformation is often less about digital technologies, and more about the organizational mindset for change. Leaders can cultivate a digital-ready culture, defined as “a shared and mutually-reinforcing set of values and practices that enable high performance in service of innovation and execution in a digitally-enabled business environment.” The differences that make a digital-ready culture are in the companies’ values and practices. It’s not just ordering the best laptops – that helps – but it’s also cultivating habits of digital experimentation, data-driven decision making, and agile product development.
As digital transformation occurs around the world, some countries are reporting their digital success. According to the DBS 2020 Digital Treasurer Survey of around 1,700 corporate treasurers, chief executives, chief financial officers and business owners in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region this past May, Singapore corporates come out on top for digital readiness. Forty-five percent of local businesses reported having a well-defined digital strategy, followed by Hong Kong at 45% and Japan at 41%. An overwhelming ninety-nine percent of APAC businesses reported facing external pressures to digitally transform, exacerbated by supply chain disruptions and the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the challenges facing survey respondents in their quest toward digital transformation is the lack of digitally skilled talent. The U.K. feels this need as well according to a survey of 200 senior business professionals, with over half (56%) planning to increase digital skills training budgets for staff in the next year. Additionally, more than half (53%) of respondents aim to grow their IT infrastructure budget, 60% of business leaders aim to expand their use of digital collaboration tools, and 44% aim to accelerate remote working according to the survey.
While digital transformation is often about culture, meeting the global demand for mobility involves leveraging technology to recruit and sustain critical roles within the global workforce. From analytics for retention, to artificial intelligence for talent acquisition, to technology that simplifies the assignee experience, mobility leaders will be crucial in understanding digital systems that help companies better manage talent. As the workforce becomes ever more digital, mobility professionals are key to getting an organization one step closer to cultivating the digital-ready mindset, values, and culture. Whether due to a pandemic or for meeting strategic needs, mobility will be there to help facilitate digital transformation.
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Mobility is Worldwide ERC®’s monthly magazine, delivering industry and business news and updates, as well as insights on global talent mobility programs, tips and trends.