Digital Transformation – The Future Belongs to the Fast

If I’m happy that I did one thing today, it would be watching this video:

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It was the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting on ‘The Digital Transformation of Industries’ (which was second only in oversubscription figures to the panel featuring Kevin Spacey). This is doubly exciting to me as it ties together two of my passions: economics; which I chose to study as an undergrad and digital, particularly digital transformation. I will understand if you choose to stop reading because I just told you that I was passionate about economics and digital transformation BUT what I am really saying is that I am passionate about understanding the world we live in and understanding the world we are yet to live in. I don’t think that’s such a bad thing. In terms of these two subjects, as far as I’m concerned, there has never been a more exciting time to be alive. Items on digital transformation can often be repetitive and unhelpful besides the persuasion aspect of, you must do it now! This expert panel delve deeper with three 3 key topics in mind.

 

How do companies re-wire themselves to take advantage of a digital cloud based, mobile orientated world and leverage advanced technologies?

How do they leverage the massive amount of data and bring in advanced analytics?

How do they use this digital world as a source of innovation for their customers?

 

The above is not only in terms of new products and services but whole new businesses, in order to drive growth in a world where growth is increasingly hard to find. I share the highlights of how these leaders plan to move the needle in the years ahead and what the enablers are to moving towards a digital culture.

hand touching touch pad, social media concept

‘There has never been a more exciting time in the history of industry’ said Salesforce CEO Marc R. Benioff when he was explaining the fourth industrial revolution and that the first transformation needed before technology, is that of trust. A thought echoed by Meg Whitman (CEO) when talking about the transformation at HPE, ‘Technology is the easy part – getting the organization to move to adopt the new technology and the new way of doing business and new models is, in many ways, the toughest component’. Many businesses are investing in new technology, such as Microsoft Office 365, CRMs and cloud applications but, they cannot leverage this investment without people adopting them and using them to be more productive. I believe this is where our customers see real value in our technology… Not just because it is modern cloud technology per say (and we all know we need cloud and mobile technology as part of the new world we are transforming into) but because we make these new applications accessible, simple and easy to use for everyone on desktop or mobile. This enables other technology to shine and deliver it’s full potential.

 

The idea that people and culture are at the heart of digital transformation was echoed by Klaus Kleinfeld, Chairman and CEO of Alcoa Inc. The biggest challenge, he explained, is to make everybody feel that there is a revolution going on. This is not just to tell them that there is, they have to feel it and be part of it. He tries to encourage creative destruction, because everything is in question, it must be questioned internally and disrupted internally before it is disrupted by competitors. I have mentioned creative destruction before, because I have a soft spot for Schumpeter but also because I believe questioning everything, breaking things down to make them better and free thinking is an attitude we should all adopt more. How does this work in a business environment? You need to encourage creativity and communicate well (not just what you say but how you communicate and tone). ‘It is true, I have come to learn, that actually people do pay attention to what the CEO is saying’ Bernard J. Tyson Chairman and CEO, Kaiser Permanente. ‘I embrace technology, digital platforms and have strategic partners but employees told me that what I excluded from my communication was their role in that transformation and their role in the future of this organisation’ He described this as his ‘a ha’ moment and discovered that people fear technology replacing them when actually it is enabling them to be more effective in taking care of millions of people. Again I believe this is why mhub is so valuable as a tool to communicate, from the CEO’s smartphone or tablet, directly to every employee on any device they use. mhub have developed a secure mobile app enabling employees to access information faster, simplify collaboration and measure the results of their communication. This allows people to understand their role in the transformation and with video recording on the fly, they can really feel that they are part of this revolution. It also allows them to be creative and collaborate from anywhere more easily than any other technology. We are helping some of the world’s largest organisations to simplify and accelerate transformation and change.

 

My favourite insight comes from Meg Whitman, CEO of HPE, who believes that speed is the new currency of business and ‘the future belongs to the fast.’ Everyone is trying to figure out how to make their business more competitive and win in the marketplace over the next five years. The key to doing this is speed, if you can’t accelerate at dramatic speed by definition you are falling behind. The CIO plays a key role in this when business strategy is now completely one and the same as IT strategy. There is no business strategy without IT underpinnings. This is why she suggests that CIOs make three to four year plans to move from where they are to where they must be with a business case for getting it done. She proposes moving to the cloud as fast as possible and choose the right SaaS applications. Existing IT systems in traditional, rigid environments are non cost effective and slow but you can’t just pull apart infrastructure that is relied upon. This is what we are helping some of the world’s largest organisations to do; to transition to new modern solutions whilst ensuring existing IT infrastructure is modernized and improved.  Some final advice from Meg, ‘you can move faster than you think you can and don’t underestimate the organisation’s capability to move at speed.’

 

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Don’t miss part 2!

And make sure you check out my latest insight posts. I promise I won’t disappoint.

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