The Asia Pacific region has some of the most digitally competitive economies in the world: Singapore, Hong Kong and Korea are all in the top ten on IMD’s 2020 ranking. But as the region’s businesses ramp up digital transformation to position themselves for success in a post-pandemic world, a mindset shift is now needed.

Business leaders are used to thinking about digital transformation in terms of technology: the tech they need to add and the platforms and systems it needs to integrate with. But real transformation is always about people, first and foremost. In my experience, organizations that are successful in digital transformation put people first by taking these three steps:

1. Define the business problem

What business problem is your organization trying to solve? What specific outcome is required?

If you’re looking to enhance customer experience, for example, you might consider upgrading your contact center. Your customer service leader will likely tell you that your customers now expect more flexibility, greater personalization, and faster issue resolution—and the ability to transition between customer service channels without having to restate their issue or resubmit their authentication details at every new engagement.

2. Align people and culture

With your business problem and intended outcomes identified, you now need to make sure your people are on board. Your executive leadership team is best positioned to orchestrate organization-wide cooperation. When upgrading your contact center, for example, it will be important to unify leadership around instilling a culture of customer centricity and to focus on preparing front-line colleagues.

Once executive leadership is committed to overseeing the cultural changes required to achieve your digital transformation—and before purchasing solutions or selecting workforce management tools—your organization can begin to assess the current opportunities, limitations, and deficits of your workforce. It may be necessary to look for new ways to improve employee retention, satisfaction, and productivity.

Digital Champions can make a real difference here. It’s crucial to rally support for the initiative within each department and team, giving influential leaders the opportunity to get involved at the planning stage and oversee policy and technology changes. As you roll out your solution, these Digital Champions can also promote the benefits of digital transformation among those who may view the undertaking as an unnecessary disruption. Educating Champions about the reasons and advantages for upgrading systems and policies can go a long way to encourage adoption and boost morale.

3. Map out the technology

Finally, you can select the technologies you need to deploy to achieve your intended outcomes. Ideally, you will first map the workflows and channels that make up your existing infrastructure. Charting the routes along which information must travel will help your digital transition experts plan a more efficient solution that maximizes your organization’s effectiveness.

Now you can consider technologies like cloud-based platform architecture, industry-strength encryption techniques for improved security, and next-gen 5G networks. An organization moving towards a more integrated omnichannel contact center might consider deploying an intelligent voice response system and automating common tasks and processes, offering 5G video services, and even incorporating a sentiment analysis tool to assess a customer’s attitude and route them to the best-qualified agent according to key emotional variables.

At the end of the day, when you acknowledge the shift in market dynamics and commit to digital transformation, you’re making major investments in your organization’s competitive advantage. By identifying clear business needs, focusing on your people and culture, and mapping your digital transformation strategy accordingly, you can transform your organization and improve business outcomes.