Transformation is a constant element that organizations must deal with. In today’s digital world, transformation is moving faster than ever. From new technologies to the adoption of business models, transformation is forcing organizations to explore new approaches to stay competitive.

To explore this topic, The Churchill Club hosted a breakfast panel discussion at Citrix made up of industry leaders, including Donna Kimmel, the Chief People Officer at Citrix, Mark Johnson, author and co-founder of Innosight, and Wes Wright, Chief Technology Officer at Sutter Health. The moderator was Quentin Hardy, head of Editorial from Google Cloud.

To embrace transformation, there are key factors that organizations must keep in mind as they adopt new strategies: information velocity/scope and cultural impact.

The amount and speed of information shared in today’s marketplace is something that humans have not seen before. Whether it is working with a team to gather information to solve a problem, collaborative tools like shared documents, video conferencing and business workflows are fueling the speed of transformation. Similarly, trend-spotting is further propelling transformation with elements like artificial intelligence and machine learning. What teams used to do in weeks, machines are now doing in minutes.

While information velocity and scope affect transformation, there are additional sub-factors, like devices that further enhance the impact of information velocity and scope. For example, when the iPad was first introduced, it made a big impact in the healthcare industry as most practitioners wanted to use the device to view patient images, read reports, and get work done. As a result, it forced the healthcare industry to adopt the iPad as a key tool that empowered physicians to quickly access and share information.

From a cultural standpoint, transformation is making businesses ask themselves how to design organization structures to be able to tap into global markets and tap into customers to understand what’s going on to be able to adapt. 30 years ago, companies were trying to figure out how to best organize teams as the concept of virtual teams took off with companies expanding globally. Donna Kimmel shared her perspective, “It’s really looking for ways to involve and gather as much feedback and intelligence from each of those regions, countries, customers, as well as from employees in terms of how to get work done.” Ultimately, the gathering of this information and strategy implementation is to deliver the best service to customers around the globe.

It’s really looking for ways to involve and gather as much feedback and intelligence from each of those regions, countries, customers, as well as from employees in terms of how to get work done. — Donna Kimmel, Chief People Officer, Citrix

Additionally, to help embrace transformation, organizations must have a clear understanding of the current culture of the environment. How does the company operate? What is the business strategy, the operating model? While strategy plays a vital role in an organization, culture will ultimately enable the company to be able to drive and achieve its strategy. Specifically, looking at the core enduring values that are important to the organization and making sure they are being supported across the organization is a critical element to successfully embracing transformation.

As part of the move to the cloud at Citrix, curiosity and courage were added to the company core values. These two fundamental practices enable the creation of a safe environment for people to be able to learn, to try new things, to fail and to try to succeed. Kimmel expanded on the matter, “I ultimately think that it’s the emotional rewards. It is about driving success for the company and people feeling like they’re part of doing that.”

The panel concluded that having a dynamic strategic management system in place where transformation is perpetual is a critical element to successfully embracing change. Transformation is about stepping out of your comfort zone, failing, learning and acknowledging the importance of what people are doing in various parts of the business to serve customers.