Danella Porras from Telefónica: “To be able to implement home working, companies have to establish a Digital Leadership strategy”
03 de September de 2020
03 de September de 2020
How have companies adapted to the new social panorama? What transformations have they made internally to continue moving forward? Due to the pandemic, companies have had to accelerate more than ever before to embrace digital adaptation and have been forced to implement organizational changes that ensure operational continuity. So, what have these changes been and how are they shaping the future of companies?
As part of the digital conferences that it has organized in recent months, EAE Business School welcomed the participation of Danella Porras, a member of the Simplification and Robotization team at Telefónica España, who shared her expert insight on the topic of smart workers and business organization in times of crisis. As these issues are so important in the current scenario, we decided to talk with her further in the following interview.
Simplification and Robotization at Telefónica España
Danella, we would like to know a bit more about you? How would you define yourself? Where are you from? What are your passions?
I consider myself a hard-working person with a strong desire to learn. In my opinion, I am from wherever I am. I was born in Colombia and I have been living in Spain for over a decade. I love a good cup of coffee (Colombian, of course) and challenges that require me to think differently, breaking away from convention.
You currently work at Telefónica. What is your main role at the company?
I currently form part of the Simplification and Robotization team at Telefónica España. Our goal is to improve the company’s internal processes in order to keep enhancing our operational agility, which enables us to give our customers a better service.
What profile does a modern professional need to succeed in today’s professional world?
In my opinion, a modern professional (just like in any other time in the past) has to be a restless, curious, responsible and adaptable person who is not scared to try things out and make mistakes.
How can we promote digital adaptation at a personal and business level?
Technology gives us constant opportunities for personal and professional development, but it also sets us challenges, and people find it difficult to change. We find it easier to stay in our comfort zone.
Precisely for this reason, we are the most powerful yet also the weakest link in the chain In my opinion, to tackle and overcome the obstacles of digital adaptation at both a personal and organizational level, the key is knowledge.
Moreover, as I explained in another publication, at a company level, it is a good idea to have:
- An overall organizational plan, based on growth and which, at the same time, generates a sense of pride of belonging. Internal communication is essential for ensuring that the whole organization is aligned. People or talent management departments, formerly known as Human Resources, play a strategic role rather than simply an administrative one.
--- If you are interested in talent management and the world of Human Resources, click here to find out more about EAE’s Master in Human Resources and Talent Development. -----
- Change management. This is the key to digital transformation and the springboard for creating the organizational culture required to achieve the company’s goals. More flexible structures and mobile, collaborative working environments are needed, as well as more agile work methodologies and specific training aligned with a business strategy that facilitates the inclusion of all the people and the development of their capacities.
- Simplification. . If something can be simpler, it must be. To achieve this, companies have to review their internal processes, analyse the way they do things and ask themselves if they can improve by automating and robotizing processes, which will free up talent to focus on tasks that add value.
The pandemic has had a big impact on business organization. In your opinion, which changes have had the greatest impact?
I think that the greatest impacts we have experienced are the lack of experience, the normalization of working on the move and labour flexibility.
We have seen that, despite enhanced connectivity and increasingly cloud-based productivity that enable full mobility, this situation has caught us under-prepared in terms of their use and deployment, both in terms of companies, public organizations and educational settings.
More than the impact itself, I think that one of the lessons we have learned during this period is the need to update and digitize our organizational talent. People are the operating system of companies and society.
In your opinion, are some of the measures implemented in this period, such as working from home, here to stay?
Absolutely, without a doubt, and a failure to implement mobility and labour flexibility models could make many organizations lose agility.
The challenge of remote working is not technological, it is cultural. To be able to make working from home effective, it is important that companies establish a Digital Leadership strategy, Goal-based working, which facilitates the evaluation of performance and compliance, as well as continuing to promote technological education. Organizations have to help to recycle their employees, facilitate the acquisition of digital competences and the use of tools that enable them to conduct their activities.
The infrastructure has a direct impact on people’s satisfaction, so it is important to facilitate understanding this infrastructure and its suitable use.
In your experience, do you think that Spanish companies have been able to adapt and lead the changes generated by the pandemic? In which aspects do you think they have been effective and in which other areas have they failed?
The pandemic has caught lots of people off guard, without the specific technological solutions or the mindset required in the new scenario. But we weren’t unprepared in all aspects. We are well prepared at an infrastructure level.
Connectivity has been a crucial factor over the last few months, with thousands of us having had to connect from outside our offices. As explained by María Jesús Almazor, the CEO of Telefónica España: “With an optic fibre infrastructure that leads the way in Europe, which has been had to deal with a greater workload and pressure, it has risen to the challenge perfectly. Working from home has expanded to previously unimaginable levels”.
We have the resources. What we need to do is finish rounding off the model and, as I mentioned earlier, labour flexibility requires a cultural change.
We hope that working from home will not remain simply an anecdote. If we manage to find the right balance, there are several benefits offered by flexible models, for both employees and organizations, as well as for society as a whole and the environment.
Is technology one of the most important allies of companies and professionals nowadays? How can we use it effectively?
The fact is that the large amount of technological solutions that enable us to keep connected can overwhelm us. Finding the right combination of solutions that works for us in line with the organizational culture is a crucial challenge for both workers and IT managers in organizations.
I don’t believe in a sole solution but rather the right combination of solutions that enable us to make the most of the situation and, most importantly it must adapt to our employees’ needs.
In my experience, the following basic tools are required to implement and survive in a scenario of flexible or remote working include:
- Secure, robust connectivity It is important that organizations have strong VPN (Virtual Private Networks) in place that guarantee user concurrency, as well as protecting the data that is exchanged on them.
- Increasingly cloud-based collaboration environments that facilitate cooperation and enable us to maintain our productivity from anywhere and any device.
- Internal communication is a key channel for disseminating the strategy throughout the entire organization and ensure that everybody is aligned towards achieving the same goal..
In view of the current panorama, how do you see the future of business organization and how should professionals prepare to tackle what the future holds?
In the case of organizations, in my opinion, the future will be shaped by the lessons that we are learning right now. We have to enhance agility, diversify and be ready to respond quickly to changes. It is crucial that we keep promoting and developing internal talent. At the end of the day, the Employee Experience is the same as the experience that the customer will have.
At a professional level, I think that we also have to increase our agility, while also incorporating changes in our routines, decreasing the barriers that we sometimes create for changing scenarios. Adaptation and self-education are fundamental.
Do you have any advice for professionals who see uncertainty in their professional career?
I find it hard to give advice because each context is unique. In my experience, whenever I have been through times of uncertainty in terms of my professional career, the thing that works best is to stop and reflect.
Take time to review where I am, what prospects or continuity I may have and what goals I have or want to achieve, and combine it with training that enables us to strengthen our skills and knowledge.