Building a Digital Culture for Successful Digital Transformation

By: Mint Charoenporn Kaewmanorom, Head of Marketing & IOT Operations, True Digital Group | Wednesday, 21 February 2024

Mint Charoenporn Kaewmanorom began her career as a data analytic expert working for a global market research agency and a global mobile operator before becoming a team lead and then holding multiple senior management positions in Analytics, Marketing, and IOT Operations in the Telco industry within 12-year working experiences.

In a conversation with The Global Woman Leader Magazine, Mint Charoenporn Kaewmanorom, Head of Marketing and IOT Operations, True Digital Group, shares her views and thoughts on prioritizing inclusivity and diversity within the digital transformation process, along with strategies to ensure that digital initiatives align with the overall business strategy and goals.

How can we foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement within a digital transformation context?

Our goal is to bring creativity and innovations to the forefront, foster a culture of collaboration and adaptability, and drive our organization toward new heights of success. According to McKinsey, building a culture of continuous learning can be cascaded through workforce reskilling, change management, digital leadership, and cross-functional collaboration. This requires a change in mindset and the way of work of the whole workforce, from top management to operational level. Leaders need to understand new technology trends, be aware of various digital transformation strategies, and so able to design a digital-first culture within the organization. Employees shall be provided with training in digital skills suitable for their roles and responsibilities. For example, the brand and marketing team shall understand how digital marketing works and see how digital marketing can work well with their traditional market research or offline go-to-market strategy.  Apart from being equipped with new digital skills (hard skill perspective), to survive in a digital transformation environment, employees need to practice soft skills of flexibility, agility, resilience, and positivity so that they can foster cross-functional collaboration culture.

In your opinion, what steps would be taken to ensure inclusivity and diversity within the digital transformation process?

There are only 3 simple steps to ensure a diverse culture.

  • Design the new organizational structure with solid roles and responsibilities to achieve new company vision, transformation objectives, and business strategy. Each position shall have a detailed description of the required skills and qualifications. During the digital transformation phase, companies tend to skip the step of providing employees with solid job descriptions of new positions due to changes in leaders, time constraints, lack of HR/strategy resources, or lack of formality due to internal change. However, this step is very critical and sets a strong stepping stone towards the whole digital transformation process.
  • Construct and execute Competency Mapping. Organizations shall let employees specify their career goals, strengths, weaknesses, and key skills/expertise both verbally and nonverbally.  Competency mapping shall be done in writing first. The selection is made from the written application and previous work performance rating without names revealed. Then, transformation leaders shall interview selected employees one-on-one to understand their potential and motivation. Indeed, leaders can finally form an effective decision to assign employees to the right jobs without having any preferences towards different genders, work experiences, acquaintances, or nationalities.
  • Open Communication: Leaders shall transparently communicate reasons for change to everyone. This can be done through Town Hall or All-hands meetings.

I believe diversity and inclusivity culture can truly work when we do not favor one to the others. Real diversity and inclusivity can be fairly embedded in the organization when everyone is treated the same. I am not saying 40% female workforce diversity is not a good approach. However, specifying the number of diversity and enforcing that policy might not lead to the best hiring decisions.

In your experience, how can we handle the integration of legacy systems with modern digital technologies during a digital transformation?

People, Process, and Technology are 3 key drivers to enhance the integration. People need to be trained with digital skills so that they can utilize new knowledge with their domain expertise to make effective decisions and take the right actions. The process of automation has to be in place to increase efficiency. The choice of Technology must be a universal standard and flexible enough to be compatible with existing systems.  I have discussed this similar topic with Mark Nelson, the legacy solution architect with 30+ years of working experience implementing core banking systems globally who get successfully digitally transformed. 7 questions need to be asked:

  • Are you going to run the legacy and digital in parallel for the same products?
  • You have to understand all the legacy integration protocols, transport, and message, structures.
  • You have to understand the legacy semantics and new integration semantics.
  • For integration with the legacy to be retained, do any other legacy messages encode data?
  • How can channels exploit new features available in digital systems while still working with legacy?
  • What are the decommissioning strategies? (Either move all legacy products or let them expire on old applications before decommissioning, etc.)
  • How about all the master data ownership planning or consolidated reporting?

What strategies are used to ensure that digital initiatives align with the overall business strategy and goals?

  • Top management explicitly communicates how digital initiatives relate to the overall business strategy in the Town Hall meeting.  Key revenue projects with digital initiatives are selected; the champions are assigned to the projects and take ownership of execution.
  • The organization sets up a dedicated digital transformation team and committee that consistently communicates, co-develops, follows up, and monitors business performances due to digital initiatives.
  • Business Performance Review. Declare what initiatives work and don’t work. What are successful failures in deploying new digital initiatives? Continue what works and stop what doesn’t!