Prof. Dina Banerjee is a faculty member in Organizational Behaviour and Human Resources Management area at the Indian Institute of Management Udaipur. She specializes in Industry, Labor, and Organization Leadership and social change, Gender, and Intersectionality Social stratification Development and Developing Nations Sociological theories Research Methods – Quantitative and Qualitative.
In response to crises like wars, pandemics, and repeated global economic downturns, many organizations believe that a digital transformation is the only way to survive competition. However, what does that mean for an organization? Organizations in IT industry may advance business plans, further streamline and simplify communications, and upgrade cybersecurity. This begs two more questions, (1) are those changes sufficient for IT organizations, and (2) are those changes applicable to organizations across industries? While these speculations could be endless, our association with the Digital Enterprise Management (DEM) program of the Indian Institute of Management Udaipur (IIMU) taught us that preparing for a career in emerging digital enterprise requires more than a skill to master data-driven technology and training a workforce. What we learned from the DEM program is that key to the understanding of a successful career in digital enterprise is not the motivation to sophisticate artificial intelligence but to create new possibilities – that our DEM students often call a, “digital consciousness.” Consciousness is defined as a state of awareness about how surroundings influence individuals’ thoughts, feelings, and actions. A digital consciousness, therefore, is an attitude that allows aspirants to use technology as a tool to promote new opportunities and to envision the nature of success in a career of data-driven technology.
The DEM program at IIMU identify five distinct ways to operationalise digital consciousness in the contexts of future careers, digitization as a learning process, and the Indian landscape that epitomizes diversity. First, and the most important aspect of digital consciousness is an agency-structure interaction. Both individuals and organizations are equally responsible to promote digital consciousness. While individuals ponder on future scopes in digitation, organizations must complement their efforts by fostering a culture of active learning and adaptation. Second, changes prompted by digitization are often drastic in nature requiring drastic adjustment – a concept that emerged in class discussions as “radical enterprising Ness.” Third, a robust digital consciousness must include the ability to align organizational members, especially subordinates with the vision of new possibilities Only then, as a student said, “you can create a platform to bounce ideas.” Fourth, albeit a cliché, nothing can go wrong with self-determination. While preparing for a career in digital enterprise, one can develop self-determination gradually through experience with the help of peers, managers, and co-workers. More technical in nature, the fifth facet is the proficiency of planning access to a massive amount of data and an endless excitement to keep building algorithms. To sum, digital consciousness reflects an acumen to promote novel and bold undertakings in a fast-changing market.
Transforming to Thrive
Digital transformations will look quite different going forward, forcing organizations to push boundaries and deliver new thinking that upends conventional wisdom and shall demand the next phase of careers. Beyond moving to the cloud, building a website, or making multiple channels available—it’s about providing a digital experience with the consumer at the centre, driven by a digital-data mindset across the organization. Before the global pandemic, digital transformation was a buzzword or far-off objective for many business leaders. Many industry leaders in virtually every sector and region have grasped that going digital-first as quickly as possible is critical to surviving in the future. Traditional channels are not going void, but a potential return to growth is likely. It will help build relationships with customers who expect stand-out digital engagement tailored to them as individuals and to the product or service they’re seeking. While the last two years were about survival for many organizations, the next phase is using digital transformation to thrive.