Recently I was speaking at/on a virtual conference, Insight Live, by Digital Leaders. Here’s my presentation which was aimed to help move on the conversation…
The theme was digital transformation and of course I had an opinion about how the role of communication and public relations should be more integrated and a strategic part of the plan. Not just a nice to have. There were 210+ people registered to attend my seminar.
I’ve worked with, and among, many people who talk about digital transformation as if it were just a case of plugging in a router and attaching some wires. I’ve heard people get excited about coding, developing new apps, recruiting new skills into the business. I have never once heard about how communication and public relations plays such an important part. It’s something I’m hugely passionate about. If you don’t have a communication strategy to bring everyone along with you (internally and externally) and buy into the transformation plan, how on earth will you achieve transformation?
8 steps of digital transformation
- Establish the purpose and objectives of the business. Put the customer at the centre and build a platform around their needs.
- Use data to inform strategy and keep testing, learning and iterating. Good governance is essential.
- Develop a manifesto around how you will commit to keep developing. Ensure every change is a step closer to purpose and achieving goals. Flexibility is key.
- Use automation to streamline processes and machine learning to keep evolving and getting closer to augmenting decisions.
- Get agile. Share ideas and collaborate across the organisation, regularly with the shared ambition of meeting customer goals. Breakdown internal barriers.
- Empower people. Identify skills gaps, retrain and upskill, reward thinking differently and encourage entrepreneurial mindsets. Diversity is essential to truly represent customers and bring in new ideas and experiences.
- Risk and security. Ensure processes are risk assessed and security is a priority. For example cyber security and data.
- Build this into the strategy.
Practical ways in which public relations can help achieve the transformation
- Helping businesses to understand and define purpose and objectives and presenting this in a clear way
- Use these definitions to communicate with customers, letting them know of changes coming and how it will improve their experience – keep on communicating
- Empowering employees to affect behaviour change and upskill – trying to get them to change the way they work requires careful communication, additional requirements such as training need to be considered and how you communicate with the team could either have them onside or be a disruption
- Facilitating a sharing culture and encouraging regular communication opportunities will fulfil the need to share data and also, to encourage an agile way of working
- Develop any useful materials for internal or external use which may help stakeholders understand changes and timescales and the impact on them
- Communicate any positive news externally to stakeholders such as media, partners, suppliers
- Work with IT and HR to ensure the risks around the new platform, processes and timeline are assessed and worked into an issues and crisis communication plan
- Monitoring what’s being said by stakeholders and using this to inform developments going forward
- Reacting to enquiries and continuing to look for collaborative opportunities