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Putting Culture First

~This blog was written for the Microsoft Partner Network by The MPN Team. View the blog on MPN here.~


In what ways is your business shifting focus to a culture view? Share your thoughts on this changing dynamic with others below.

Now more than ever, digital leaders who are building a digital business technology platform must modernize their application architecture, infrastructure, and - maybe most importantly - their mindset. Viewing the key components of your technology platform through a cultural lens will support a more people-centered approach toward your digital business transformation, and this drives a growth mindset.

The recent Gartner report, Digital Business Requires a New Mindset, Not Just New Technology, explains that, "For any transformation to be successful, people need to buy into your vision. Then, the question arises of how to change the mindset of application leaders who have been hardened by tool-centric thinking."

"While you can invest in technologies and tools, they will more than likely fail if you don't change the organization and culture."
-Gartner report

Are You Asking the Right Questions?

Enabling a new business mindset

Many of your employees are accustomed to doing business in a familiar, technology-focused way. However, by enabling them to reframe their questions, you can help ensure the five components of a digital business technology platform mentioned in the Gartner report are aligned with a "culture-first" approach. These components, or viewpoints, are driven by technological tools and supported by your organization's culture (i.e. driven by mindset).

The Five Subplatforms/Viewpoints of a Digital Business Technology Platform

1. Customer experience

TECHNOLOGY VIEW: "Are we providing an omnichannel experience to our customers?"
CULTURE VIEW: "How do customers see us? Is our team customer-centric? Do we understand our customers' needs and desires?"

2. Ecosystem

TECHNOLOGY VIEW: "Can we leverage our existing EDI-based B2B integration infrastructure? Is our data or business processes available through APIs to an external ecosystem?"
CULTURE VIEW: "How do partners perceive us? Are we seen as a strong and important partner within our current ecosystem?"

3. Things

TECHNOLOGY VIEW: "How do IoT platforms connect with enterprise customers?"
CULTURE VIEW: "How can we take digital to the core of our company? What does it mean to blend the digital and physical worlds in our market?"

4. Intelligence

TECHNOLOGY VIEW: "Do we have information management and analytical capabilities? How can we capture, analyze, and use information or events in real time to identify business moments and make better decisions?"
CULTURE VIEW: "What ethical obligations do we have as applications leaders who build, expose, and monetize our organizational intelligence? How can we use data and analytics to help foster a user's growth mindset?"

5. IT systems

TECHNOLOGY VIEW: "How do we leverage and extend existing systems to build new capabilities? Which applications are worth rehosting, refactoring, and/or replacing?"
CULTURE VIEW: "How can we change the mindset of long term employees? How can we better see our own modernization and cloud future as foundational to our digital business growth?"

Moving from a Fixed to a Growth mindset

Any cultural change in an organization is less daunting when it's supported by a corresponding transition from a fixed to a growth mindset. The Gartner Report explores pioneering Stanford researcher Carol Dweck's work on this topic and applies it to adopting a culture view within a digital business platform.

"Dweck's research builds on the idea that a person's abilities are not fixed and can be developed through dedication and hard work, and that brains and talent are just the starting point."
-Gartner report

Just like a person can grow and develop beyond what is seemingly "fixed," so too can an organization. In fact, that kind of flexibility is vital to a company's ability to thrive into the future. Digital Business Requires a New Mindset, Not Just New Technology is well worth reading in its entirety.


Gartner, Digital Business Requires a New Mindset, Not Just New Technology, 11 September 2017

Visitor 1

The business environment is experiencing a paradigm shift. This will effect an organizations business model, also how the IT industry, presents new technology to the clients, the speed the client will adopt it, the ability for it to be deployed and maintained by the IT company  The rate of new technological advancements is exponentially getting faster. It is only logical that everything will follow at the same pace.  So, the business model has to be dynamic in every aspect. The companies that provide the technology need to be equally dynamic while both maintaining their stability.  Providers will have a bigger responsibility because of having to play a bigger role the survivability of an organization. The days of IT staff and managed service companies’ passive approach are numbered. Instead they will have to be proactive in their approach how they present, deploy and maintain these new advancements to and for their clients.  AI if used in assisting rather than replacing staff will create an ideal situation where the best of both AI and employee would enhance each other. Small powerful companies start to appear with more innovations that will bring more change.  Big Corporations will have to have adopted Culture First then extending that approach with small business. Partner relationships will be more engaged and at a different level. Because size of large organizations, the ability adapting to a dynamic environment would be difficult down sizing while building relationships including having stake in start ups . Technology leaders that help cultivate innovation through their partnerships and these type of relationships will remain leaders. How well these concepts are applied will be a measure of a company’s survivability.

Visitor 1

I am part of IT companies for last 20 years and i agree with the fixed mindset problem we have in corporates which have been in existence for long. People who have spent more than 10-15 years do not want to change, do not have growth mindset to learn and deliver on innovations. This ultimately leads to poor customer experience.