Trust can be defined as a firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something. Trust is what every business is built on – the brand promise, the quality of products and solutions, and ultimately client relationships are all based on it.

Chris Volschenk, Chief Executive Officer at Nexio says that trust has never been more important to business success, especially in light of today’s demanding customer landscape. “We are living in a hyper-connected world where customers expect digital solutions and convenience in catering for their specific needs. Technology is enabling businesses to meet these demands but requires customers to share more personal information. As a result, customers are trusting companies to keep their data safe, and to provide the services  that meet their expectations.”

However, he points out that building trust with customers requires far more than having a cyber-security programme in place. “The impact of digital transformation will accelerate the adoption and implementation of a range of new technologies as we move ahead, and companies will have to ensure that their execution of new solutions will deliver results in a responsible way.”

Similarly, the implementation of digital transformation initiatives requires the trust of employees as much as it does that of customers. Volschenk says when a digital project fails, it damages both the perceptions and relationship of customers with the business, but more importantly, without internal support digital initiatives are guaranteed to fail.

Trust within the tribe

“Trust among corporate leaders, divisional teams and employees is vital. Executives may have an incredible idea for a new platform that will drive productivity and help manage resources, but if the solution isn’t adopted by the people who will be using it, the strategy will never get off the ground,” he adds.

“Digital transformation is pointless if it doesn’t facilitate clear objectives and highlight employee roles in a company. By its very nature, digital transformation is a constant process that requires continuous analysis and tweaking – or even a complete rewrite. Trust is what keeps employees connected to a company’s long-term goals and engaged throughout the digital transformation process.”

To ready an organisation for the change digital transformation demands, Volschenk says companies should invest in expanding leadership capabilities and building internal trust. “Digital transformation requires businesses to transform the mindset of everyone in the company as much as it requires new technologies. It also requires a change in how business is done.

“Business leaders need to be fully involved and take on this initiative in a way that integrates with all of the company’s existing work. Teams within the business must be integrated into effective and sustainable programmes that support specific strategic priorities.”

This approach extends to a company’s entire ecosystem, Volschenk says, and it is equally important to build trust between a company and its partners. “A lack of trust between a company and its partners and suppliers is just as detrimental as an internal lack of trust. Any company that has embarked on a digital transformation journey should be sharing its plans and priorities with its partners. Neglecting to do that will likely manifest itself in a range of obstacles for success.”

Ultimately, Volschenk says that trust is a driver for digital transformation, and essential to the success of a business from the perspective of customers. “Trust has become so important that IDC has created a framework describing the most common elements of digital trust. At the rate businesses are transforming across the world, only organisations that are successful at building trust can generate a positive result.”

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