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Long-term investment in payroll technology (a SaaS platform) since 2001 (yesterday). Digital self-service platform that simplifies everyday payroll, leave, overtime and expense management for  HR professionals, business owners and general staff (today). Ongoing R&D on machine learning and robotics in HR management (tomorrow).

This is the recipe for the digital transformation of Turkey’s first payroll outsourcing company, Datassist HR. In an article published recently on the SME magazine Kobi Aktuel, CEO Umut Özbağcı, pointed out years of planning, investments and hard-work that goes into making, their fully integrated HR solutions, customized for the needs of individual companies ranging in size and industry

Time is of the essence for all investments: short-term, mid to long-term, what is the timeline here? It is crucial to set the timeline right in order to manage the expectations. The company invested yesterday (a few months ago), is implementing the new technologies today (in transition – will fully switch to the new system in a few months) and will be benefiting tomorrow (6 months to 2 years). 

Digital transformation is in every company’s agenda regardless of industry. Within the company, every department competes against one another to meet and exceed the goals of digitization for the company to be ahead of its competitors, to better serve its customers and of course be increasingly profitable. 

As any comprehensive change, digital transformation doesn’t come pain free. The company invests considerable amounts in new technologies and skills training for staff, and staff takes an iterative journey that needs improvements along the way and a great deal of patience and commitment to implement. Top management walks the talk by showing their conviction to this transformation.

At times, expectations are not clearly communicated and cannot meet the timeline. Some other times, stakeholders, including senior managers, shareholders and employees, expect a magical metamorphosis rather than a slow yet smooth transition. 

According to a recently published Forbes article, there is a $3million increase in the digital transformation efforts this year ($24million to $27million). This figure is expected to grow another $3million next year. Yet gains are not as tangible. The article cites another e-recent survey of 450 executives, with 73 percent of the participants feeling  that digital transformation efforts have not been being truly “transformational”. 

It was a slow change that requires habit changing on a daily basis from every single employee. Changing habits take time just like building habits does.

Same Forbes article mentions the benefits of digital transformation as well: 58% of the participants reported seeing more efficient work processes, 50% improved customer experience and worker productivity. So it is fair to say things are improving yet maybe not in the pace they had projected.

All in all, it is only human to want to believe in magic, the instant change with a huge wow effect. We only see the tip of the iceberg, not all the years of hard-work that goes into planning, investing on R&D and working every single day to make it happen.