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What’s digital transformation?

Digital transformation is the process by which a company integrates digital technology into all its activities. But this digital transformation is more than a technical development: it affects the entire company and its employees. SWP is a valuable tool to anticipate this evolution.



Digital transformation: what’s at stake?


Digital transformation affects many industries and jobs. But what does it involve exactly?


Defining digital transformation


Technological progress is only accelerating, year after year. Innovations produce ever more powerful tools and more effective processes. Companies must adapt to these new technologies both to meet their customers’ requirements and to keep up with the competition. To executives, digital transformation may therefore feel like an obligation. But it’s also a great opportunity to develop their business.


Success, however, requires strategy. Indeed, digital transformation isn’t a sudden revolution: it’s a long-term, ongoing process by which companies integrate new technologies into their activities.


Digital transformation is not just about innovation


Digital transformation does not boil down to technological change. People are and must remain at the heart of the equation. And as always, fundamental change requires the of a new culture within the company, a new approach to its occupations and updated talent management practices. Digital transformation is a global transformation of the company, not just its hardware. New technologies should enable companies to create value and to benefit from new business opportunities – without neglecting the human element. A company that misses the digital boat could lose its seat to competitors who are cruising ahead.

« French companies can fully benefit from the opportunities offered by new technologies [...]. However, for this vision to be realised, they must draw up a precise action plan that will hit the mark. »


Digital transformation in HR


The conversation about digital transformation for human resources should not be restricted to the processes managed by HR. The proper management of payroll, holidays, expenses and regulatory compliance are – of course – necessary for the smooth running of the organisation. They are not, however, direct sources of performance. Digital tools can help optimise these processes, but HR should focus above all on developing human capital in the context of the transformation. Indeed, digital transformation should enable companies to anticipate market trends and the skills that will be required. It should provide tools that will help the company acquire and retain competent employees before launching a project. These assets must support employees’ performance and – ultimately – the company’s. By choosing the right tools, a company can secure a competitive advantage.


Related: What are the various types of skills?



The importance of SWP to anticipate digital transformation


How does strategic workforce planning (SWP) help to understand and anticipate digital transformation?


What’s SWP?


Strategic workforce planning makes it possible to adjust staffing levels, skills and jobs to the needs of the company. It’s a HR anticipation process designed to facilitate change. The first stages of SWP are to identify the company’s strategic objectives and to draw up an inventory of existing resources by analysing employees’ skills. In the third stage, SWP experts map out the requirements for the company to achieve its objectives and identify the gap between its future needs and the resources available. Based on the results obtained, the company will define an action plan to match its objectives with the skills it will need to meet them.


How does strategic workforce planning (SWP) help anticipate digital transformation?


HR plays an essential role in the digital transition. To fully support the process, HR can harness SWP tools that facilitate the development of skills brought about by digital transformation. Skill mapping for instance is key. It provides a in-depth representation of the organisation, complementing job descriptions and organigrams. Indeed, the skills map reveals the skills that are already available and those that need to be acquired: a valuable tool to highlight training needs.


It’s a virtuous circle: by applying digital transformation to human capital, companies can define the skills, but also the strengths and possible shortcomings of each employee. Based on the results, HR can adapt training to support the digital transformation.


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Illustration credits: https://www.istockphoto.com/fr/portfolio/ostapenkoolena