A Digital Leader Discusses its Own Digital Transformation
Few companies understand digital and the immense changes it is bringing to the work world better than Dell, but that doesn't mean the company can ignore the impacts this disruption is having on its own business, its employees and customers.
Dell, like every other organization, is trying to navigate this wave of change, trying to find the best and most effective ways to engage with its various constituencies and drive its passion for values and ethics into these everyday interactions.
Page Motes, the company's senior director of global ethics and compliance, discusses where Dell is on its own path of digital reinvention, and how it uses mobile to make more meaningful connections with its employees.
How far along is Dell in its digital transformation?
PM: Dell is still early in our digital transformation journey. There still is work to be done to ensure we’re prepared for innovation in that space. We feel strongly that you must start with a solid, clean foundation, otherwise you will be spending too much time in the future cleaning up issues and looking behind. As a result, we are focusing the majority of our time right now on five items:
- Perfecting our current ethics and compliance data sets to ensure they are robust, accurate and have meaning. Partnering with our legal operations team and a new data visualization tool, we will be able to look at our data more closely and evaluate where we may have gaps and the need for more data inputs.
- Creating agreements and codifying processes with sister functions who own other important data elements to ensure we are aligned around how we would partner in a digital future to avoid redundancy.
- Taking a deeper dive into existing examples of where data is being used in a predictive way, although currently focused on a niche aspect of our business. Dell stood up a U.S. Federal Government Insider Threat program, like many other large government contractors, and we are hoping to leverage program experiences and lessons learned to set our strategy.
- More deeply evaluating certain business processes, transitions and activities to identify places where data intersects and potential risk situations emerge. From there we will be mapping a number of use cases to determine where we want to spend our time.
- Benchmarking with others. Dell wants to innovate in this space but we feel strongly that this is a space in which collective ideas and experiences will raise all boats.
All of these items set the stage for more exponential digital growth. Our goal is eventually to understand risk in a more dynamic way, cue controls at the point of need and make awareness more impactful by providing that information just in time, with the right amount of content that likely is overlaid onto systems they work with every day.
In what ways does Dell use mobile to engage its workforce?
PM: Our global company intranet moved to a new software which in and of itself is mobile-enabled…not requiring an app to access the content on that site. Although it’s still very new, we’re seeing real upticks in engagement and initial feelings are that this will help our team do much more than ever before.
We implemented a new companywide recognition and feedback platform, which is accessible via an application on any smart device. It allows peers--not just leaders--to tap each other at the moment a good outcome has occurred such that they receive instantaneous recognition. The same system can be used for leaders to provide constructive feedback at the moment of need, so that positive actions are being reinforced more often and not-ideal situations are curbed more quickly. After only two months of use, we have seen tens of thousands of “transactions,” the largest percentage driven through the mobile app.
Ethics and compliance has decided to leverage these two capabilities to our advantage to advance some of our own priorities, but we have also been developing a signature mobile resource in our new interactive, HTML-based code of conduct, which will launch in the first quarter of next year. This fully mobile and social media-enabled resource was developed not just to add value to our team members’ work, but also provide a more transparent view into Dell’s culture for our customers, suppliers, channel partners and other key stakeholders.
From what we’ve seen anecdotally, these moves are not only great for current employees and their engagement in our culture but it’s been a source of interest in our talent acquisition space, in that great candidates want to see investment in these types of capabilities that are linked to culture and connection.
What impact is this having on ethics and compliance?
PM: We are not yet prepared to draw a correlation but that will be one of the things we’re trying to measure. We have placed a new inquiries workflow and interactive FAQs into the new intranet, and are monitoring how that new capability is impacting ethics and compliance. We are finding that individuals are better understanding the rules related to our policies by using that workflow.
What are the biggest challenges to migrating a workforce to mobile? How can these be avoided?
PM: Dell has been migrating its workforce to mobile enablement for a few years, given that we are a much more remote working organization than we used to be. We allow bring your own device as part of our global IT strategy, but that is likely made easier given we are a company which has solutions we market ourselves to protect those devices. I can only speak to the ethics and compliance aspect of things, but likely the most challenging element we’ve seen is that sometimes team members forget that they cannot just cross-pollinate company work with personal work.
Once you fully embrace mobile, you are opening yourself up to employees leveraging unsanctioned social media tools to communicate with customers (a no-no), or engaging in a way that is riskier because it’s a bit more difficult to monitor. You cannot avoid the migration…but you have to build in change management programs which set expectations--and why those expectations are there--for your team members. Team members need to feel that there is a partition between their (rightful) private information and private life and that part of their mobile experience that is governed by the company.