Digital transformation was a key lever for mining and metals companies in gaining a competitive advantage. Now, it’s necessary to keep the lights on. While this was on executive and boardroom agendas long before the pandemic, the current landscape has presented new opportunities to foster an effective culture and advance digital transformation strategies.
Companies continue to make headway in the digital transformation of their businesses, with automation and analytics becoming a standard. More recently, we’ve started to see the use of digital twins to help unlock productivity across the value chain, and many companies are now even using the term “integrated operations centre” rather than “remote operations centre.” A small shift, but one that embodies how companies are adopting more streamlined end-to-end solutions.
Digital transformations are iterative, fast-paced and require the right people and culture to make them successful. While many understand that digital transformation is critical to sustainable productivity and margin improvements – and that getting it right will be a key differentiator – they’re strapped with the challenge of getting employees to understand the upside of digital ways of working. Right now, there are many culture gaps that companies face to successfully implement a digital transformation:
- Employees are not educated on digital transformation priorities and behaviours that will enable digitization.
- Leaders are not familiar with new ways of working and are not equipped with the right tools to lead their teams in times of constant changes and could be lacking digital fluency.
- The organizational structure is often complex, with unclear accountability and a disconnect from current operating models.
- The workforce is often fragmented by geography, operations, language and knowledge, resulting in non-standard and siloed policies, processes and systems.
Companies cannot dismiss the importance of having a strong culture to build sustainable performance.
Without it, they risk eroding the beneﬁts of transformation. Companies need to identify what digital looks like for mining and metals organizations, align on the behaviours necessary for embracing digitalization in the future, map out the barriers to transforming behaviours and ways of working, and clearly delineate possible solutions. There are three steps to start weaving digitalization into organizational culture and begin unleashing the potential of your organization.
1. Deﬁne your digital-centric culture: Digitalization is about more than just technology; it’s about evolving culture to enable new ways of working that will serve the overall business imperatives. Employees need to understand the upside of digital ways of working and what they and their stakeholders will gain from the change. This will enable them to adapt their mindsets and produce different outcomes.
2. Enable transformative leadership: Leaders must own the digital transformation by aligning on and communicating the purpose of the transformation. This may include developing new leadership capabilities for a digitally disrupted world. It’s imperative for the leadership team to work with the internal digital ambassadors who exist down and through the organization to create buy-in, champion the right behaviours and support employees to become digital.
3. Drive the value of change activation: Change management is a critical component of your roadmap to be sure that, as you execute your initiatives, you’re truly transforming. Connecting clear communications strategies, tactics and initiatives alongside every stage of your digital transformation is critical. Organizations must also establish a few critical metrics that track behaviour adoption and the impact on customers, employees and ﬁnancial performance. Without clear metrics, there’s no way of knowing whether people are changing their behaviours.
Just as the pandemic is speeding up the need for digital advancement, as more employees work remotely and use digital tools to access information, companies need to continue that momentum forward to drive a digital-centric culture. Internalizing and adopting new behaviours and capabilities will be necessary to not only deploy end-to-end digital transformation, but to sustain transformative changes after implementation happens.
Antoine Mindjimba is the EY Canada Mining and Metals Culture and Diversity & Inclusion Leader. For more insights on building a culture ﬁt for the digital age, please visit www.ey.com/en_ca/mining-metals.