Digital Disruption: May the 4th Be With You!
As a big fan of Star Wars, today is an appropriate day to talk about Digital Transformation or, more appropriately, Digital Disruption, as a key focus of Paradigm Sample.
Companies incorporate new technology for various reasons—to increase efficiency, enhance competitiveness, improve customer service—the list goes on. As a result, leaders are challenged with brainstorming solutions for automation, machine learning, artificial intelligence, blockchain, cryptocurrency. Technology policy topics like digital sovereignty, zero knowledge proofs, deepfakes and dark patterns will also arise. And, as AI matures, leaders will be confronting AI regulation.
Depending on your role, only a certain level of depth into new technologies is required, but the reality is you need to go a little bit deeper today than you would have needed to five to six years ago, no matter your position. Not everyone is willing, able or interested in making this leap. But, for those that are, it creates significant opportunity.
We’re celebrating our 14-year anniversary this year, and for the past two years, Paradigm Sample has been busy with our own digital disruption. We’ve rolled out the Paradigm Digital Insights Platform (PS-DI), which re-invented our processes and approach to serving clients, improving privacy, quality and partner collaboration. PS-DI streamlines every aspect of the data collection process—it’s exciting for our team and clients. The platform means career development, the ability to work on larger-scaled projects and using critical reasoning instead of process steps as the key factor for project completion.
Paradigm Sample is emerging as a tech-enabled company. But, like most organizational changes, rolling out PS-DI, Paradigm’s proprietary intelligent sampling platform, shook up how we work. It’s literally raining data at our organization. We went from having a limited data set to now having data points for every step of the fielding process. The data is so abundant that we must tap into our expertise to pinpoint which data points to use to drive decision-making. As we get more and more data, we’ll need to continuously refine our approach.
To facilitate Paradigm’s journey of implementing PS-DI and help our team not just cope but thrive with this organizational shift, I have been going through my own Digital Disruption. Before becoming Paradigm’s CEO, I was a research and development executive working in the tech and engineering industries. As an undergraduate student, I studied electrical and computer engineering. Then I went on to get an MBA in finance. As I was challenged with leading our company through a significant transformation, I realized, to be successful, I had to tap into my engineering roots because engineering teaches you how to solve problems. I gained leadership lessons throughout this process, and perhaps, they will help you lead your organization through a Digital Disruption.
- A successful digital transformation starts at the top. Executive teams need to buy in and drive the adoption of these platforms. An adoption strategy will help bring the organization along every step of the way. And it starts with the executive team to make the transformation front and center. Leveraging your leadership will drive adoption and change throughout your organization. Ultimately, your leaders will need to get everybody to come on board. Technology is just a shiny object if you don’t have an adoption strategy.
- Communicate the vision. A company implements technology to be more efficient, essentially taking out steps in the process that were driven by human beings. The company is moving into a world that leverages technology to drive more efficiency, higher quality and less room for error. During our transition to PS-DI, we didn’t communicate our vision for the platform early because we worried that people would be really upset and defect from the organization. Looking backward, we would have benefited from stating our vision at the start, articulating that we’re automating and driving the efficiency throughout the entire process and presenting it to our team as an opportunity to enhance their skills and determine how they will grow as a result.
- The last mile is critical. After the technology is created, it is essential for someone to project-manage a successful implementation. This person confirms that every I is dotted and every T is crossed. But, most importantly, they need to ensure that each employee has the tools and learnings to use the technology as intended. When companies build digital tools, the last mile is critical, but it’s the hardest road to travel. A digital tool can only be successful when your employees use it effectively.
- It’s a journey—celebrate the milestones. Day one of launching a new platform is very exciting. But, the very next day, there will be new requirements, and the platform will continuously evolve. However, it’s important to celebrate those key milestones for the team and overall organization. Otherwise, the team misses out on celebrating the successes and transitioning to the next leg of the journey.
- A thirst for knowledge is necessary, so DRINK. To be successful through a major technology shift in your organization, it’s vital to lean into your natural curiosity. You need to research how to use the technology best and learn how it will help you do things better.
So there you have it—Paradigm Sample’s own experience with digital disruption and my personal journey leading the company through the transition of embracing a new platform.
Digitally disrupt or be disrupted. May the 4th be with you!
Cyrus Deyhimi – CEO, Paradigm Sample