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Transformation requires companywide engagement

Enterprises are shifting operations from on-premises to the cloud, and industry momentum for digital transformation continues to push forward. Gartner estimates that 80% of CEOs are increasing investment in digital technologies in 2023 to achieve greater efficiency and productivity. Cloud and digitization are becoming a necessity across industries to ensure competitiveness.

But as companies make these shifts, employees feel the change in atmosphere. And according to the American Psychological Association, people often reflexively resist organizational change, especially when they don’t understand the reasons for the change. Transformation is not just about onboarding technology: it means changes in people’s responsibilities, daily routines, and workstyles. The key to taking full advantage of these powerful digital tools is understanding how they affect employees at all levels.

It can be hard for leaders to avoid rushing ahead, because digital transformation is a chance to look at the whole operation, says Jennifer Chilton, principal of advisory and enterprise solutions at KPMG. It’s exciting to ponder an all-encompassing view of efficiency that can automate manual processes, she says, not only for a smoother workflow, but for faster information flow around the business: “Improve the controls, improve the speed.”

A successful transition requires an equally expansive view of the one component on which it all hinges: people. Michelle Kent, principal at KPMG’s people and change practice, has a blunt message for executives who give their staff little notice before major changes, scant information about the future state of the company, and negligible involvement in the planning: “That’s not how people work.”

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This content was produced by Insights, the custom content arm of MIT Technology Review. It was not written by MIT Technology Review’s editorial staff.