How managers can lead digital transformation from the top

April 21, 2023by Editor

Digitisation is transforming every aspect of business, from customer experience to supply chain management. Even teams that don’t work directly in tech are affected, as they must adapt to new digital tools and processes to remain competitive in the marketplace. 

By embracing new technologies and strategies, managers can unlock new opportunities for growth and innovation while also improving operational efficiency and the user experience. However, simply implementing new technology is not enough to guarantee success. To truly transform a business, managers must change their mindset and approach to leadership and decision-making. Digital transformation starts at the top. 

Bringing the company’s digital vision to life

Before organisations embark on a digital transformation journey, it’s important to have a clear vision of what success looks like. It is up to C-suite executives to define the vision and goals of a company based on their long-term strategic objectives. Managers bring these goals to life by developing and implementing actionable plans that align with the company’s overall vision and mission. 

Whether the strategy around digitisation involves incremental changes or an entire shift in the operating model, management is responsible for communicating these to their teams. This will help align everyone around a common purpose and avoid any confusion down the line. 

Empowering and upskilling key employees

Digital transformation is a team effort. However, if we consider the 80/20 rule for change management, then managers should also keep in mind that a small group of employees will ultimately bring about the most change. By focusing on the vital few employees who have the most influence and impact, managers can leverage their expertise to drive digital transformation and create momentum.

They need to provide the necessary resources and training to help these employees develop the skills and knowledge needed to drive digital initiatives forward. To upskill, employees may need a variety of resources, including in-house training programs, on-the-job learning aids and access to external training and development opportunities. 

Managers may need support from learning and development consultants to create effective training materials. They may not have the expertise or resources necessary to create engaging and effective training programs. 

Learning and development consultants can provide additional support and guidance in areas such as instructional design, content development and evaluation. They can help managers to create training programs that are tailored to their employees’ needs and that align with their organisation’s digital transformation goals.

Building a data-driven culture

Data is at the heart of digital transformation. Managers must prioritise data as a strategic asset and build a culture that values data-driven decision-making. When implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, for example, managers need to ensure that new technologies are leveraged to their fullest potential. 

This means creating an environment where data is treated as a valuable asset and where decisions are based on data-driven insights rather than intuition or guesswork. It also means ensuring employees have the competency to use new technologies. 

In order to foster a data-driven culture, managers should prioritise data literacy and provide training and resources to help employees develop the skills they need to analyse and interpret data. User adoption is a critical factor that determines the success of new digital technologies, such as an ERP implementation. 

Third-party experts can provide guidance and support in areas such as training, communication and stakeholder engagement. This can help to ensure that employees are fully invested in the transformation and that the system is adopted as intended.

Supporting managers in digital transformation

Digital transformation inevitably requires some level of organisational change, whether it be small adjustments to processes and systems or a large-scale reimagining of the company’s business model. As such, companies may need to bring in change management consultants to support managers in bringing digital strategies to life. 

While managers may be subject matter experts in their respective fields, they may not have the skills or training necessary to manage change effectively. Change management consultants can provide guidance and support in areas such as communication, training and stakeholder engagement. This can ensure that the transformation is implemented in a way that maximises buy-in. 

Change management consultants can help to identify potential roadblocks and develop strategies to mitigate them, ensuring a smoother and more successful transformation process. For more information about our services, please contact us today.


Can!do works with large enterprises in South Africa to maximise the value of their employees, technology and business processes. To do this, we offer three fundamental services; change management, capability development and performance optimisation

We have 30 years of experience in these fields and have worked with leading companies in South Africa. We are a certified Level 2 B-BBEE company and a leading provider of new business systems and processes that drive user adoption. For industry insights and news, please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.


Where to find us

Ground Floor, Building 26
The Woodlands Office Park
20 Woodlands Drive
Cape Town
12 Dalmore Ave