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The Secret to Digital Transformation Is Not Technology – It’s People


Thursday, 4th August 2016 at 10:38 am
Richenda Vermeulen
Digital transformation is the word on everyone’s lips at the moment, but with 84 per cent of companies failing at it, Not for Profits must take a look in the mirror to understand that true transformation happens from the inside out, writes Richenda Vermeulen, managing director of digital agency ntegrity.

Thursday, 4th August 2016
at 10:38 am
Richenda Vermeulen


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The Secret to Digital Transformation Is Not Technology – It’s People
Thursday, 4th August 2016 at 10:38 am

Digital transformation is the word on everyone’s lips at the moment, but with 84 per cent of companies failing at it, Not for Profits must take a look in the mirror to understand that true transformation happens from the inside out, writes Richenda Vermeulen, managing director of digital agency ntegrity.

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Forty per cent of Australian customers are unsatisfied with their digital experience. Yet 84 per cent of businesses who attempt a digital transformation project will fail. The main reason why? They’re not prepared to change behaviour. Often, they think the right tool or strategy will get them where they need to be, without thinking about the people using the tools and implementing the strategies.

But from my experience working with over 100 Not for Profits, real transformation transformation that works exists at the intersection of people and technology. Businesses are still operating with the same structures, systems, and hierarchies that were created during the industrial revolution when our environments were static, but the digital revolution demands that organisations need to change.

So we’ve evolved to offer a new service line aimed at helping you build the right culture so you can get ahead in the digital-first world, and stay ahead too.

Digital transformation is already happening

Whether you like it or not, digital has completely changed the way customers and donors make their decisions. Online, information flows quicker than ever before, and if an experience with your brand isn’t up to their standards, they’ll be quick to switch to a better option.

The solution should be simple: give your users an experience that not only meets their needs, but engages, delights and makes them want to tell other people about it.

The reality is far different. Brands struggle to provide even adequate digital experiences, caught up in their own procedures and bureaucracy and the desire to focus on what they want to say rather than what users want to hear.

NFPs must rethink their approach to transformation

Internal culture is one of the biggest blockers to transformation. A siloed, secretive, or risk-averse culture prevents innovation and change, and ultimately leads to failure of a digital transformation project. ntegrity is unique because we sit at the intersection where digital strategy and cultural transformation collide.

Some of the ways we help organisations transform from the inside-out are through vision workshops, tools assessments, team-architecture mapping and culture hacking.

Culture is a system, and so just like software it can be hacked. Culture hacking is about thinking systematically to find the sweet spots where a small change can have a big impact quickly and sustainably.

For example it can be something as simple as how one team runs their meeting, to the layout of the tables in the lunchroom, to the language you use in your job ads, to the way content is collected by your team.

It’s about creating norms and developing new muscle memory to shift to a people-driven and customer-centric model. When you have consensus across departments to the vision, you have a business that is ready to scale.

So, what’s next?

We know it can be intimidating, and often it’s hard to pinpoint where you should start. That’s why we have a five-step process for digital transformation projects.

We take our clients along a data-led path, starting with evaluation to understand their current conditions, before moving onto a strategy that will help them to effectively and sustainably achieve their goals. Next, we help share the vision with the whole organisation and equip them with the right tools, skills, resources and a roadmap to guide success. Then they’re ready to scale; to test, learn, optimise and continue.

We’re seeing transformation at the forefront on the public agenda, especially with the Digital Transformation Office, whose Digital Service Professionals panel we’ve just been appointed to.

But we know there is no cookie-cutter approach to digital transformation, and we take care to choose a solution that will be effective and sustainable for each NFP we work with. Want a copy of our new digital transformation services brochure sent to you for more information? Get in touch!

About the author: Richenda Vermeulen is the director of ntegrity, a digital consultancy that helps NFPs implement innovative solutions to improve fundraising and communications. Prior to ntegrity, Vermeulen spent 12 years in the Not for Profit sector, from frontline social work to launching social media marketing at World Vision Australia and World Vision USA.

More reading: NFPs Must Do More to Prepare for the Digital Age.


Richenda Vermeulen  |  @RichendaG

Richenda Vermeulen is the Director of ntegrity, a digital consultancy that helps NFPs implement innovative solutions to improve fundraising and communications.


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