Trust is Important to Digital Transformation in These 4 Ways

Keith Krach
September 27, 2016

During the DocuSign MOMENTUM’16 keynote address in spring of 2016, attendees heard about the five imperatives that help companies fight off Failed Transformation Traumatic Syndrome, or FTTS. Leadership from several of DocuSign’s major partners spoke via video about their experiences with the DocuSign platform, explaining the valuable role that the technology played in helping their companies embrace digital processes in new ways.

Among the partners highlighted, CEO of Deutsche Telekom Tim Hoettges emphasized a significant point about the importance of trust during digital transformation. Without trust, companies aiming to achieve digital transformation will not find the support they need to make the endeavor successful. Read about the four ways you need trust when making the transition to digital in order to avoid the consequences of FTTS.

1. Trust in vision.

Before your company goes digital, a comprehensive plan for transformation must be mapped out. Your vision for how your company will function after the transformation will help guide your organization in its navigation of unforeseen obstacles encountered during the process. Vision is also a useful tool for both strategy and motivation during transformation and can serve as an incentive to move forward when complications inevitably arise.

Because of this, trust in your vision is crucial. In instances when the digital transformation process doesn’t run smoothly, you will need to believe that the results of your plan will be worth the time and effort required of yourself and your employees.

Leaders who do not have trust in the vision for digitization may find themselves doubtful and resist many of the necessary changes that help companies successfully meet digital goals. Doubt about or lack of faith in vision will hold a company back from making real, transformative modifications to their business.

2. Trust in leadership and employees.

The relationship corporate leadership maintains with employees has a significant impact on the ability of a company to successfully go digital. In order for a strategy to effectively be put into practice, it must be supported by a staff that is committed to putting in the work necessary to make it happen.

If employees do not trust leadership’s choice of tools to bring increased efficiency to the company, productivity levels may decrease, and the eventual benefits of digital transformation may never manifests themselves within a business’s operations. At the same time, leadership must maintain a staff that can be trusted to work hard and accomplish the goals set for them.

In order to create trust between themselves and their employees, leaders should maintain solid lines of communication. When discussing the transformation process, it can be helpful to explain how the work one’s employees perform contributes to the eventual outcome. Additionally, leaders should convey the importance of trust in the workplace prior to undertaking a digital transformation and model the kind of attitude they want to see in order to set a strong example.

3. Trust in the power of digital.

Three years ago, according to a study conducted by McKinsey, only one-third of executives interviewed indicated that their company was investing enough resources into the effort to go digital. Today, however, CEOs seem much more aware of the fact the digital transformation is an imperative, rather than an option.

A survey facilitated by Gartner, Inc., revealed that C-level employees now feel digital transformation is so important to company success that they choose to head up the initiative and invoke digital change themselves, rather than delegating the responsibility to another employee. Additionally, most executives anticipate that digital transformation has the power to alter industries on a major level, across the board.

Trust in the power of digital transformation is increasingly important since the practice continues to radically change both industries and companies. Business leaders who underestimate the value of the process may be unwilling to see the transition through, assuming that they can hold out until the “trend” loses popularity.

However, digital transformation is not a trend, but a shift in the business sector as whole. The digital era is a product of business evolution, and leaders who do not trust in the lasting power of digital will fail to find success in the future.

4. Trust in technology.

Though many people confuse digital transformation with the act of updating existing technology, the purpose of the process is actually about altering business models in a way that leads to increased efficiency, accelerates business velocity, and meets customer needs. At the same time, technology still plays an important role in the ultimate success of a digital transformation initiative.

To fully digitize a company, leaders must seek out a technology that they trust to assist in the pursuit of speed and productivity. The technology and tools that companies adopt to facilitate digital transformation must be strategic and dependable while offering businesses a guarantee that company data will be kept safe. This aspect of trust and privacy is especially relevant in the digital age, as higher levels of concern over data privacy are being reported by customers than ever before.

Because privacy is such a significant issue to consumers, companies that focus on working only with technology that can be trusted to protect personal data allows firms to offer products and services that customers feel comfortable using.

Keith Krach

Keith Krach is Chairman of DocuSign, The Global Standard for Digital Transaction Management.