Embarking on the journey of digital transformation


HR Indaba hears about the importance of keeping employees in mind in the era of digital transformation.

Speaking during a session at the HR Indaba, sponsored by Workday, Old Mutual IT executive: human capital technology Nomsa Lewisa discussed the “big five” considerations that African organisations need to keep in mind as they take their employees through digital transformation.


Nomsa said it is important to remember that the African continent is rich in diversity.
“[We have] cultural diversity and diversity of experiences that have shaped our way of thinking, and also the diversity of life experiences, as well as what we expect from our employers, all shaped by our background.

“You need to consider the diversity of your employees of your organisations, and really think right at the start of your business case about how you are going to personalise it. It cannot be a one-size-fits-all, not just personalised journeys for me versus the next person, but also for your South African segments versus your region in Kenya versus your region in Namibia,” she said.


She said a lot of people think that localisation is to just make sure that you can change the currency, but there is more to it.

She explained: “You’ll find that as you’re going on your journey, you need to consider not only the legislation, because that’s very important, but also think about what is allowed from a cultural and norms point of view.”

The before picture

Nomsa highlighted that in African contexts, there are varying stages of digital transformation, or technology readiness in organisations.
“The ‘before’ picture is very different for a lot of organisations. We are not on the same scale as our counterparts. So your capability, and the skills that you have, as you’re about to embark on the journey, are very important. And second, consider the skills you currently have, and how quickly you can absorb them to operate any manual system, because at the end of the day, they are all implemented to be self-sufficient,” she said.

What stays and what goes

She highlighted that organisations should check what works, what’s not working and see how they can make it work. She added: "If so, it might be that actually everything needs to go: that’s okay too.
“It is also very important in those data systems and technologies that you have: there are old processes that you can take forward and clean up for new technology. So sometimes you can save yourself a lot of work by doing due diligence to what you already have.”

Are we there yet?

Nomsa said this is a very important consideration. She added: “So what does the good look like? What do we want to achieve and how do we know when we have achieved it? These are questions we want to answer and be able to show to the board, and the stakeholders.”

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