Digital Transformation & Culture

keywords (s) – haai, sentiment
executive summary 🙂 : this is a bit long but it has to do with culture.

My engagements this week have been with individuals who are subject matter experts and professionals in strategy, quality management, data science, cyber security, infrastructure management and systems development. Some executives, some consultants who went on to start fast-growing businesses, some industry specialists, some specialist generalists and so on.
The point is that there are so many things to learn from having dialogues with different people in different professions.

The second thing is that I completed a course on one platform and started another the day day after through a different platform/institution. The learnings are all around digital transformation. For me, it’s about personal development and self-enrichment before the certificate/qualification. Now, what’s always been clear to me is that technology adoption is a challenge for many organisations. In fact, one of the professionals in paragraph 1 said to a potential client in a meeting: “I’ve implemented projects and deployed our system in different client environments, in different industries and across the world. But the one thing that all have in common is that they struggle with getting data. They struggle with getting end-users to use the system even after we give them training.”
The point here is that technology adoption was already a challenge before we started talking ‘digital tranformation’ (DT) which, not only suggests adopting technology, new ways of doing things and making customers & employees the central focus but suggests cultural changes (sometimes fundamental) where necessary.


a) The people that I met in P1, although in different industries, all have a tech background. So they can’t ignore the buzz around DT.
b) The teachings in P2 also touch on the importance of, at least, a mindset adjustment when considering the culture required for an enterprise and the individuals in it to, for e.g., be agile in their approach. It could be something as obvious as to be more transparent or to ensure individual accountability.

So…I thought about my recent experience at the department of home affairs and this was my immediate & general sentiment:


In South Africa, “Haai!”, “IYO!” or “JA, NE!” is often a discouraged / shocked / disheartened and sometimes even angry sentiment.

There seems to be a culture in many public-facing government entities of complacency, terrible customer service (or should I say citizen service) and just sheer lack of accountability as we see in the news, daily.

It makes me wonder (and please share your thoughts here)…
– what does it take to correct the issues such as the one above?
– do you have experience (even outside of SA) with projects where an issue like the one above was resolved? How did you go about it and what’s the update?