DDLS Philippines Country General Manager Mike Calma shares his thoughts on Digital Transformation and what he’s observed in the Philippines.
What is Digital Transformation, and why is it crucial to your company’s success? My favorite definition is this: Digital Transformation is when a company is able to synergize its people, processes, and technologies to create a competitive advantage. It can be in the form of new offerings for a Telco brought about by 5G or just improving efficiencies around existing services like online banking.
In the race for Digital Transformation, I have observed there has been a disproportionate amount of attention placed in technology.
When we hear or read about Digital Transformation, technologies such as blockchain, AI, RPA, cloud computing are usually the first to be discussed. Why? Because new tech is the simplest and perhaps brings about the most immediate and palpable changes.
Process comes in second. We hear buzz words such as DevOps, Agile, Lean, and other frameworks. However, discussions around people, at least from my perspective, always take a tertiary role.
Why is the people component considered last? I think the reason is that people are complicated and complicated is not sexy. Complicated does not get you attention at a board or even management meeting!
Alright, let’s step back and try to draw an analogy.
Do you like to travel? Why? The common answer is to experience, to immerse oneself into a foreign culture and enjoy it. Would the experience be the same, say for example if you read about the place or even watch a YouTube video in that destination? Of course not! I mean, it would help to research and prepare but nothing beats actually traveling to your destination. Training is no different from travel.
Now, let’s look at training from three different lenses: trainee, manager, and trainer.
Have you ever enrolled in an eLearning course? What would you say is your completion rate? Do you finish the course within the prescribed time?
Here are some of the top reasons we drop out of an online course:
- Not enough time
- Lack of management oversight
- Lack of motivation
- Problems with technology
- Poorly designed course
Again, with the travel example, we need skin in the game and social reinforcement. Skin in the game means that there is already an incurred risk that propels us to achieve the goal – we’ve booked the plane tickets and accommodations. While social reinforcement is how other people encourage (or coerce) you to complete a goal – your travel companions
In the training sphere, skin in the game is paying for a class, while social reinforcement can be taking it with peers or having an accountability partner or the requirement to pass a certification exam. Training needs to fill both an understanding and application gap.
Have you ever enrolled in a live, instructor-led course? Did you finish? See the contrast?
My last job required me to indirectly manage about 100 people and I had 14 people directly under my organization. So, in any given workweek, I would only have a sampling of direct interactions. I was quite dependent on metrics and my dashboard to gauge my team’s performance.
One key metric was utilization – or the number of billable hours a resource has divided by the number of total work hours. Training would naturally lower my team’s utilization numbers as it would take them away from billable work.
It becomes quantitative versus qualitative. What is qualitative now will eventually translate into quantitative in the long-run. So, training is a long-term thing.
Let me rehash this it in terms of timeframes if you did your training program right:
- Short-term – quantitative metrics (such as utilization) take a hit
- Medium-term – qualitative metrics increase anecdotally
- Long-term – quantitative metrics increase
The smart thing to do, therefore, is to plan this carefully and to pivot quickly if things don’t go as planned. I recommend getting a Training Needs Analysis.
Those who can, do
Those who can’t, teach
-George Bernard Shaw
Do you believe this guy? I strongly disagree! I think the best practitioners want to teach. It helps them further express their passion for a particular subject and helps in their mastery of the same. I say want because I think only a very small number of practitioners actually do teach. And I think this is due to the lack of viable platforms for them to do so.
We at DDLS want to be that platform for trainers.
And we have started already, with our in-house Technical Instructor – Peter Jungfer.
Peter is an Australian who settled down here in the Philippines. He led the Consulting Practice at my previous job.
I literally plucked him out of retirement to teach our Cloud and Service Management Courses.
In the courses that he has delivered so far, he has not only been able to articulate the modules in the curriculum but more importantly, he has been able to enrich the training session by sharing his real-world experiences in his decades of practice.
If you take away anything from this blog, I hope it is this: Put people first in your Digital Transformation programs.