Creating the right company culture for digital transformation

Digital transformation is a term that means both everything – and nothing. To some companies, it’s the difference between competing and collapsing, the lynchpin in surviving the rapidly changing commercial landscape. But to others, it’s a task that sits on a never-ending to-do list, regarded as little more than another business buzzword. Last year, Microsoft produced a comprehensive report on the state of digital transformation in the UK: Digital transformation: the age of innocence, inertia or innovation?. The findings were clear: new digital services are changing every aspect of business. But we also discovered widespread discrepancies between the ways organisations view digital transformation, and the extent to which they’re willing to embrace strategies, initiatives and operating models.

This year, we’re delving deeper into the factors, obstacles and attitudes influencing UK organisations and how they can succeed on their unique digital journeys. The report, Creating a culture of digital transformation, has been compiled through a combination of quantitative field research, interviews with experts and business leaders, workshops and a chatbot survey.

We’re exploring what it really takes to ensure digital transformation programmes succeed – because technology alone can’t solve all our problems. It won’t make businesses more efficient, productive, creative or innovative unless organisations embed it into their culture. Where businesses adopt new tech but can’t realise its full potential, it’s usually due to company culture. Businesses must have a culture in place that empowers employees, optimises operations, engages customers, and transforms products and services.

Carol Dweck, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist says: “Some people are afraid of the technology, don’t want to use it, don’t feel comfortable with it, and want to keep using their old skills as long as possible. It’s vital to shift the ethos from being outcompeted or sub-genius in a genius culture, to the idea of a shared struggle where mistakes are inevitable and your team members and company have got your back.”

So, this report explores what it takes to create a culture of digital transformation. A culture that’s agile, progressive and able to evolve alongside new tech and apps. A culture that fosters empowerment and engagement. A culture that can take a company into the future.

Key findings

  • UK businesses can expect further digital disruption in the future
    • 53% of UK business leaders say their industries will face further digital disruption over the next two years
    • Despite this, around half have no formal digital transformation strategy in place, with many struggling to capitalise on their tech investments
  • One of the biggest challenges is cultural
    • 61% of UK leaders agree that alterations in tasks create anxiety among employees
    • 49% find employees express fear of change when digital transformation initiatives are introduced
    • 59% say where tasks are automated, employees are concerned about job security
    • 39% say the introduction of new technologies makes them feel anxious
  • There’s a growing divide between organisations geared towards driving the cultural change that supports technology investments, and those that aren’t
    • 58% of UK leaders say that augmenting their workforce with technology is more important for productivity than simply automating tasks
    • Of those transforming, only 23% are undertaking a major cultural transformation programme in support

Helping businesses create a culture that works

Our research showed that organisations face five challenges during digital transformation:

  • Collaboration not competition – helping people understand the collaborative potential of new digital technologies
  • Embracing fear acknowledging the anxiety that change can cause and proactively supporting people through it
  • Demonstrating value – offering the resources and framework for people to experience and build on new technologies themselves
  • Respecting your ecosystem – understanding the environment an organisation operates in and how new digital technologies should fit within it
  • Living agile – helping people move to a flexible, forward-thinking culture of continuous improvement and innovation

Our report expands on each of these challenges, offering a look into how UK businesses are transforming, both in terms of their technology and their culture. Most importantly, the report gives readers practical, tangible suggestions and tips on how to overcome common obstacles, and start to create change in their own organisation’s culture. And once you’ve got an agile, creative culture in place, there’s nothing stopping your digital journey.


Download the report today to see how organisations around the UK are combining cultural and digital transformations to ensure success