Culture is key to digital transformation, says Microsoft Germany

Culture is key to digital transformation, says Microsoft Germany
Study finds that better support, clear communication and actionable decisions are needed

Elly Yates-Roberts |

Microsoft Germany has released new research in conjunction with market research and data analytics firm YouGov, which demonstrates that cultural change is key to the successful adoption of technology and digital transformation.

The study shows that 60% of German employees believe that digital technologies improve the competitiveness of their organisation, while providing opportunities for personal development and enabling them to achieve a better work-life balance.

However, one in two employees are afraid of changing roles and have concerns about their job security.

Microsoft Germany’s research follows a recent Europe-wide study which suggests that for digital transformation to be successful, companies must have both a strong overall culture which encourages creativity and a strong digital culture which fosters the adoption of technology.

Despite this, in Germany, the study shows that one in five employers consistently push ahead with cultural change, and that one in ten employees are involved in the transformation process.

“Digitisation, which should enable all progress, must also include all people,” said Sabine Bendiek, CEO of Microsoft Germany. “It is important to use the positive mood of the employees, to actively counteract fears and to point out future opportunities for all. This is best achieved in a culture of trust in which employees are actively involved in the transformation process.”

The research suggests that Germany is lacking the ideal cultural environment that would encourage digital transformation. Findings show that 11% of employees experience the development of the strategy as a collaborative process involving employees and managers.

According to the survey, 67% of respondents strongly welcome opportunities for continuous professional development but companies and authorities are not currently providing enough support for this. Only one in two employers regularly provide training or encourage employees to experiment with new technologies.

Clear communication and actionable decisions can help employees address the digital future, but despite this, 38% of employees believe that their organisation has no discernible strategy for digital transformation.

This contrasts with other findings which show that advantages of new technologies are generally appreciated as 64% of respondents see the potential of digital tools for condensing information, 58% find that artificial intelligence or the cloud improve collaboration and 57% already like to use new, technology-based forms of cooperation.

“German companies and institutions have recognised the importance of digital transformation, but they are currently facing more technical, rather than cultural challenges,” added Bendiek. “The success of digital transformation is always a question of the right culture.”

One in five respondents in the research reported on a programme for cultural change in their organisation. In addition, traditional corporate culture often prevents employees from exhausting all possibilities of digital transformation. For example, only one in three organisations allow their employees to work remotely, despite the fact that approximately 50% of employees would prefer this.

With its new study, Microsoft Germany shows how companies can tackle the necessary cultural changes needed to make the best use of technology.

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