The impact of digital transformation on people

More organisations are adapting to fast-paced delivery methods and digitising the workplace further every day. According to the IDC’s Worldwide Semiannual Digital Transformation Spending Guide, the global spending on Digital Transformation will reach more than $2.1 trillion in 2019. This would make it the fastest growing area in technology.

In digital transformation, like other areas of business, the ‘why’ an organisation is doing it is key. This article by Prof Thomas H. Davenport on why so many high-profile companies fail touches on a mismatch of strategies and implementations. The investment and strategy need to be right. Above all, the people within the team that deliver the work need to play a central role in order to become successful.

Digital Transformation without the support from the workforce is doomed to fail. This goes for strategies on implementing new processes or to simplify existing to replacing people for AI (in the future). Not participating in the digital transformation is not an option, change is inevitable – but the digital transformation is accelerating this at such speed that we simply can not keep up with the change. From guides and the vast amount of case studies we see, commonly shared practices are:

  • Standardisation of processes and tools
  • Cross-functional teams
  • T-shape skill profiled team members
  • Small teams responsible for an end-to-end service
  • Automated processes for repetitive work
  • Integrated into the business

When implemented well, and with support for and from the delivery teams real transformation can happen and teams will deliver more value than before. A collaborative research between the University of Oxford and McKinsey highlighted that IT projects are delivering 56% less value than predicted. A significant number which not only impacts a organisation financially but demotivates people within the projects itself by creating work that is not fit for purpose or that will never be used at all.

High skilled people are demanding purposeful work that contributes to a more ethical world. This trend will only become stronger with the public demands made by employees from Google, Microsoft and the like (known as GAFAM) for ethical policies on the use of big data, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning versus what is good for profits and will please shareholders.

The two developments of Digital Transformation and Purposeful work will strengthen each other if done well. It will create highly motivated and effective teams delivering software that will do good and benefit all people. Doing this well starts with understanding the ‘why’ which will be different for each organisation and team. Beyond the ‘why’ strategies is the alignment on practices and the tools that will support the teams through this ongoing and often slow process towards long-term improvements and delivering more value.

During the initial stages of the transitioning it can be attempting to report on the first results quickly and move along to a next transitioning or improvement. This is however contrary to a realistic trajectory, wherein teams will fall back into old habits or once the focus has shifted. Committing to digital transformation is committing to a long-term process where people need to adjust to the new practises and form new habits and offering the support and time for team to do this. New team metrics to help with this process are looking into the consistency of a team and their improvements on a daily and longer term trend.

For teams in their journey of continuous improvements tools like Umano can be a lighthouse in the middle of all changes and providing direction and support through a series of metrics and insights developed for agile software teams.


Umano is a people analytics platform that empowers agile software team to perform at their best, with insights drawn from the tools you already use. To see a demo and learn how Umano can support your team’s Digital Transformation contact or visit for more information.