What is Digital Culture? – Everything You Need to Know

What is Digital Culture? What are the benefits and why is it so important to create and embrace a digital culture in your company?


What is Digital Culture?

A digital culture is a concept that describes how technology and the internet are shaping the way that we interact as humans. It’s the way that we behave, think and communicate within society. A digital culture is the product of the endless persuasive technology around us and the result of disruptive technological innovation. It’s applicable to multiple topics but it comes down to one overarching theme; the relationship between humans and technology.

Why is embracing a digital culture so important?

There are several reasons why a digital culture should matter to your organization to support digital transformation. It impacts corporate culture just as much as business models, but why?

  1. Breaks hierarchy and speeds up work – it’s crucial to let employees make their own judgements and breaking down the hierarchies empowers people to make quicker decisions.
  2. Encourages innovation – digital culture enables organizations to foster a workplace that motivates employees to try new things whilst enhancing the learning of your workforce.
  3. Attracts new age talent and retains current workforceMillennials and GenZs no longer want to work in a 9-5 environment. They want to be part of a digital culture that allows a collaborative and autonomous workplace. It also increases employee engagement, permitting them to bring their voice of opinions and create an impact.

Why are digital technologies in digital culture?

Digital technology started to be engineered in the mid 20th century. It’s based on two processes:

  1. Digitized information – this is the recorded code of combinations of the digits 0 and 1, better known as ‘bits’, which represent words and images. Digital technology helps a large amount of information to be compressed on small storage devices that can be transported about. Digitization also improves the speed of transmission and ultimately transformed the way that people communicate, work and learn.
  2. Telecommunications – this has relied on digital methods to transmit messages. Digital technology came along and replaced analog signals for many telecommunication It meant that digitized signals were much less distorted and could easily be duplicated.

What are the benefits of digital technology?

  1. Social connectivity

Digital technology has simplified the process of socialization by enabling us all to communicate with family, friends and team-workers when working remotely. With the uprise of social networking apps and websites, digital technology has made it possible to communicate via words (text messages), video (video calls, virtual conferences, virtual events) and exchange media (pictures, videos).

  1. Communication speed

Since it was first invented, the internet speed is constantly improving, therefore, enabling us to transfer tons of information instantly and access data virtually anywhere in the world.

  1. Learning opportunities

By having access to the internet, nowadays we can all access different information within seconds just by searching online. Long-gone are the days where we had to spend huge amount of time searching for specific information within books or go to a a physical library to have access to specific information.

Now, digital technology has made it possible for everyone to have access to things like online courses, training, books, journals, publications and other important information.

  1. Automation

In addition to the above, digital technology is also contributing to the automated processes and machineries in different industries. This not only gives us more time to focus on other areas but also provides us better standards of safety, saving us from heavy and risky tasks (eg. Construction, minning, or other physical work).

Moreover, it has cut the costs of different tasks by enabling us all to save money and not paying intermediaries but having direct access to the final product or service (booking holidays, hotels, plane tickets, or buying online).

What is meant by “Digital Media”?

The world that we live in today is surrounded by digital media products which enable and deliver experiences in all sorts of industries, even in industries that aren’t associated with digital media such as health, government and education. It can be found in eCommerce, websites, social media, video and more.

For some organizations it’s all about technology whilst for others it’s about the new ways of engaging with customers or an entirely new way of doing business. It’s important that business leaders have a clear understanding of what digital means to them and their business.

This brings us back to the overarching theme of digital culture and how it is shaped by the emergence of digital technologies and the technical processes.

Most companies today have undergone some form of digital transformation, whether that is digitising their data or using technology to improve processes.

This requires a digital culture to be embedded in the foundations of the company. The absence of this can add friction to strategies that require adaptability and cooperation, but if you have a strong digital culture, it can help companies accelerate change and find themselves ahead of their competitors.

What exactly is a digital experience in the context of a digital business?

It’s the portion of technology that allows companies to go beyond just digitizing their paper process in order to create services that are possible because of the internet and other technologies.

Technology alone doesn’t make something a digital experience, rather it’s the processes that can’t be done physically.

For example, if you had a written document and a scanned document, this wouldn’t improve the digital experience necessarily as they do the same thing.

However, if you had a PDF document that was enhanced to allowed online reviews and editing or things like digital signatures, this could be called a digital experience.

When companies look to improve their digital customer experience, they often face concerns with improving their user interface, mobile responsiveness, communication methods and making sure they deliver in real time across all touch points.

Social Media and Social Capital

There has been a lot of research into the effects of social capital and how it might impact social media, for example, the information and emotional support that people might retrieve from their social network.

Traditional social capital research has shown the benefits people can get from their social networks.

Their strong ties provide them with emotional support however these previous assumptions have been challenged where individuals have larger and more heterogeneous networks and can communicate in varied ways than previously.

What are the benefits that people seek and receive from their social networks?

When consumers access information from groups on social network sites they develop social capital in the form of bonding and building relationships within these groups.

It’s important for your organization to understand social capital in order to boost your social media efforts. It’s a way for your brand to understand the value of its online social networks.

It’s important to understand and look at the following points:

  1. Utility through accumulation – one way to look at social capital is like economic capital in the sense that the more you accumulate, the easier it becomes to affect your environment.So, the more followers, interactions and engagement your brand receives on posts the more weight and influence it holds.
  2. Inequality of distribution – how much social capital a brand has typically depends on how a brand engages with their key audience. It can indicate how well they know their social platforms.
  3. Trust – social media marketing is based upon developing trust and social capital is essentially a stockpile of your audience’s trust in your brand.You can build this in many different ways but by being authentic and open about your values and motivations and by providing consistent quality with your services and products.When people become disappointed, brands can maintain a trust by being honest and open about mistakes.
  4. Measuring Social Capital – you can easily measure your brand’s social capital and by doing this it will give you unique insight into your buyer personas, behaviours and also their KPI’s. But how do you measure your social capital?You can do this by analysing your brand’s online sentiment and influence and thanks to technology this is easier than ever. In effect, it’s measuring your brands tone of voice in online conversations
    This can be conducted by using sentiment metrics.It can also be conducted using influence metrics. Metrics like this will show how easily your brand is able to share knowledge on social media.

The goal with all your social media activity should be to accumulate more social capital. You can grow this by gaining with connections and through endorsements from community members who also have high social capital.

But it’s important that the brands you invest in are profitable for both parties. If not, your connections become less likely to invest themselves in your brand and ultimately meaning your social capital will deplete.

Creating a digital culture in your organization

To run a successful organization means you need to run a digital business. Digital is revolutionizing the way businesses operate and succeed.

It’s been reported that 1/3 of key decision makers state that culture is the most significant barrier to digital effectiveness followed by a lack of understanding digital trends.

Digital Culture - McKinsey Digital Survey of 2,135 respondents

In such a competitive market, it’s increasingly important to create a digital culture in your business.

To do this, you need to ensure your employees are informed, engaged and empowered to help cultivate a digital mindset. But how can this be done?

  1. Embracing transparency – it’s important that everyone in the business is aware of the impact that digital can have on revenue, sales and productivity.The starting point to building a digital culture is in transparency. This can be achieved through your social media groups, memos, monthly forums and blogs.They can offer ways for employees to communicate with each other to facilitate transparency.
  2. Encouraging collaboration – When employees enjoy working together it improves workflow. Ideas become more proactive and progress can be measured.It’s no longer possible for teams to work in silos, but instead need to share learnings and insights between departments. This enables a productive and effective digital culture.It’s important that this type of collaboration is encouraged as well as outside team building.
  3. Offering digital training – the most effective way to know that your employees have all the knowledge of digital that they need and how it impacts the business.Offering digital training is a great solution to this. Making a program that can flexible to your busy workforce is a good idea, whether that is via various training sessions or an online platform.
  4. Be comfortable with risk – due to the fast-moving pace of digital it’s key to be agile. Risk feeds into that as leaders in organizations should cultivate a workplace where employees are comfortable with trying new things.The key to employees understanding risk is that there is trust between employee and employer and an open culture that embraces innovation.
  5. Aspire to inspire – Digital offers a world of opportunity, but not enough companies capitalize on them. With digital disruption here to stay, there will continue to be new entries into the market that will challenge how things are done.By setting your company with big ideas and aspirations, it will encourage your workforce and inspire them to not only take risk but to see things in a new way.

Digital affects all parts of your organization and it makes agility, collaboration and continuous improvement critical.

The digital revolution has fundamentally changed the way we do business and the way our organizations operate. The needs of employees are changing, and digital talent is increasingly in demand. Robotics and AI are affecting the workforce in an unprecedented way.

This article should outline how going digital requires a fundamental shift in the way we do business and how we should operate as a business.

There are three key aspects to ensuring the success of your company undergoing digital transformation. These are: leadership and talent, culture and change management.

GDS Group hosts experts to help experts. We strive to provide an atmosphere for our attendees that enables them to confidently lead their companies through major transformation projects. For information on upcoming events, view our Technology Summits and Executive Events. To remain current on our activities, visit GDS Group on LinkedIn Facebook | Twitter.


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