Digital Leaders Blog

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Time to Call Time on Non-Digital 'Leaders'

Five key propositions emerge from the growing volume of publications on digital disruption and digital transformation.

1. In an era of pervasive digital change, no industry, no organisation, no individual is immune from the threat of being disrupted. Our FSB Digital Disruption Report from December 2015 listed a broad range of sectors under threat. The question is no longer whether your industry will be affected.  The only pertinent questions to ask now are how severe will the impact be (‘bang’) and over what time scale will this take place (‘fuse’) - see our previous post …

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Digital leaders in the public sector need to address top-down, rigid management hierarchies that stifle innovation according to a recent briefing note from Socitm, the organisation for public sector IT professionals.

For digital transformation to be effective, Councils need to embrace new ways of working. The 'status quo' is not an option. Digital leaders need to embrace new thinking and quickly.

The briefing note argues that traditional top-down management hierarchies are unlikely to work well in the digital age and stifle innovation. Digital leaders need to establish a culture of change and improvement, managing teams by outcomes rather than inputs.

Old constraints about when and where work should be done are often inconsistent with new digital thinking and ways of working.…

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On the 26th May this year, Glasgow City Council launched their new Environmental Task Force:

‘Rapid response teams…..deployed across the city……to tackle environmental problems such as dumping rubbish, dog fouling and dropping litter’.

The associated spin, sorry press release, was entitled ‘Glasgow Goes Digital to Deliver Rapid Response’

‘The Environmental Task Force (ETF) will revolutionise the way the city is maintained, with the public able to make its voice heard via Facebook and Twitter. This real time information from the public will be gathered at a state-of-the-art command centre in Bridgeton, with the 30 rapid response teams then dispatched to tackle the issues as quickly as possible’.

Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of…

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We are delighted to announce the launch of our Digital Leadership Masterclass in partnership with the University of Edinburgh Business School Executive Education Programme.

The two-day session takes place on the 13th and 14th of October.

Full details can be found here.

At this stage, we are taking registrations of interest in attending. All we need is your name, email address and contact telephone number. I will then arrange a convenient time to contact you to discuss your specific requirements, ensuring that programme content is relevant and customised to your own needs.

You can…

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Building Buyer Personas

As a follow-up to our last post Content Marketing: Strategy and Planning, a second article on the CMI web site provides more specific advice on building buyer personas - Buyer Personas You Want To Use.

A persona can be defined as: 

'a composite sketch of a target market based on validated commonalities - not assumptions - that informs content strategy to drive productive buyer engagement (i.e., revenue)'.

To get value from your personas, you have to take the time to build them with enough depth and insight to enable your team…

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Content Marketing: Strategy & Planning

A useful guide to developing a content marketing strategy has recently been published by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI).

The guide covers the following key issues:

  • How to get started with a content marketing strategy.
  • The difference between a content marketing strategy and a content strategy.
  • The key issues to cover in a content marketing strategy.
  • Getting executive support for the strategy.
  • Using content to stand out from the competition.
  • Ensuring that content stays on-strategy.
  • Determining the best target audience.
  • Building buyer/customer personas.

I found the last section on building buyer/customer personas to be particularly useful.

This is an issue discussed at length during…

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Our recent FSB Report concluded that no industry, no organisation is immune from the threat of digital disruption. The only pertinent questions to ask now are how severe will the impact be and the timescale over which this will occur? With various estimates suggesting that over 40 percent of jobs could be replaced by digital technology over the next two decades, no individual is immune.

A model developed by Deloitte Australia entitled ‘Short Fuse, Big…

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I am looking forward to chairing the Connect Public Sector Digital Transformation Conference on the 22nd June. The conference organisers, Holyrood Communications, have put together a very interesting agenda and line-up of speakers. A full house is expected in terms of delegates attending.

In recent blog posts, and Linkedin updates, we have raised serious questions concerning the lack of digital progress being made by Scottish companies and the Scottish economy in general. It would only be a slight exaggeration to say that as a national economy we are sleeping walking into an on-coming digital tsunami.

In preparing my thoughts for chairing ‘Connect’, it became obvious that similar questions should be addressed concerning…

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Executive Guide to the Internet of Things

A recent report from McKinsey provides a good summary and overview of the emerging Internet of Things, especially in a B2B context.

Those attending the forthcoming MBA Digital Leadership modules (including the online version) and the Digital Leaders Bootcamp to be held in June may find McKinsey’s ‘Executive Guide to the Internet of Things’ to be useful in terms of background reading.

A brief bullet point summary is provided below:

  • The…
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Understanding the Blockchain: Some Useful Links

According to a recent article by Don Tapscott, published in the Harvard Business Review, the technology most likely to change the next decade of business is not the social web, big data, the cloud, robotics, or even artificial intelligence. It’s blockchain, the technology behind digital currencies like Bitcoin.

The article presents an excellent overview of emerging blockchain technology and its likely impact across a range of industries.

While blockchain technology is complex, the basic idea is simple - 'a vast, global distributed ledger or database running on millions of devices and open to anyone, where information and anything else of value (money, titles, deeds, music, art, scientific discoveries, intellectual property, election votes etc) can be stored securely and…

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Working with big data remains one of the biggest IT challenges that businesses, government agencies and other organisations face. It's also one of the biggest opportunities for IT vendors and for solution and strategic service providers. The big data market grew 23.5 percent to $22.6 billion in 2015 and is expected to grow at an annual compound growth rate of 14.4 percent to $92.2 billion by 2026.

The editorial team at CRN have recently created their fourth annual Big Data 100, identifying vendors that have demonstrated an ability to innovate in bringing to market products and services that help business work with big data.

The 100 vendors have been divided into three categories: business analytics, data management and big data platforms/tools.

50 of the top vendors are profiled on a…

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Will Your Job Be Automated?

McKinsey Quarterly No.1 2016 contains a number of thought provoking articles covering the broad theme of ‘future organisations’. The core argument developed is that every company should be thinking about how it organises for the future, reconciling the need for organisational stability with rapid technology-enabled changes in business processes.

One of the key challenges facing all organisations in this area is workforce automation - the growing potential for…

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Genuine Digital Leaders Hard To Find

I have just read a very hard hitting article by Ben Rossi on Information Age entitled ‘Why these people need to be kept away from digital transformations’.

The article issues a strong warning about the growing power of Digital Emperors defined as ‘those in the public and private sectors who are exploiting the digital wave for all its worth in spite of having no real domain knowledge, leadership capabilities or strategic vision’. The list includes politicians, civil servants, corporate execs, trade show promoters (but not Scot-Tech in my view, these…

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Following the great feedback we received from participants on our first Digital Leaders Bootcamp held in January of this year, a second Bootcamp is planned for 14th/15th June.

Full details can be found here.

If you would like to attend, please complete the registration form. We will then contact you to discuss your specific requirements ensuring that the programme is customised to your needs.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions meantime.

A sample of the content from Bootcamp 1 held in January is provided in the embedded…

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Digital Disruption in the Auto Industry

According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, the global auto industry is facing a trio of disruptive technologies: electric batteries, autonomous vehicles, and the mobile phone.

While the first two of these have been seen as long-standing threats (Telsa), the mobile phone as the third disruptor?

According to the author, Joshua Gans, mobile phones present a disruptive threat to carmakers’ underlying business model of selling people cars. The mobile phone has enabled ride-sharing apps, such as Uber and Lyft, to match drivers to riders. If these apps continue to grow, then people could have less of a need…

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If you’re not turning your company into a “math house” you’re headed for serious trouble. Every industry will soon be driven by digitization and every winning company will be using algorithms, or mathematical rules for processing information, to shape the end-to-end customer experience. Any advantages you have now will pale in comparison with a great set of algorithms that differentiates the customer experience. It is the algorithms that will create value for the business.

This is not guesswork. Sensors, the cloud, mobile and broadband wireless, and other such technologies are increasing the flow of digitized information exponentially. Algorithms, run on ever faster computers, can do amazing things with that information, from detecting patterns and making predictions to solving complex…

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The Robots Are Coming … to Take Your Job

With some academic estimates suggesting that 47% of jobs could be at risk as a consequence of computerisation, the impact of digital disruption on global labour markets is rapidly becoming a major source of concern for many governments around the world, or more accurately, should be a source of concern.

It was with great interest, therefore, that I listened to a recent interview with Martin Ford, author of Rise of the Robots:…

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A new study by Forrester Consulting, Prepare Your Business for the Digital Future, claims that the absence of a clear digital strategy is one of the main barriers to successful digital transformation in most organisations.

To evaluate an organisation’s maturity, Forrester asked respondents to assess their digital strategy, organisation, and technology, examining dimensions such as executive support, vision, resourcing, and operational effectiveness. Based on the results, respondents were segmented into four categories: experts, operators, strategists and laggards.

The study found that only one in 10 (11%) of the organisations studied could be classified as digital experts, with the…

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UK Lags Behind Europe in Digital Performance

Last week we delivered the Closing Address at the Digital Transformation 2016 Conference held in Edinburgh and attended by over 200 participants. 

The theme of our presentation was digital disruption and whether Scottish business and the Scottish economy in general were ready for the coming digital tsunami.

Our main conclusion was that with fewer than 3 per cent of Scottish companies being 'digital champions', according to the Scottish Government's own research (see our FSB Digital Disruption Report), the  stated policy objective of becoming a World…

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Digital Globalization: The New Era of Global Flows

A new report from McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) shows that cross-border digital data flows, practically non-existent 15 years ago, now exert a larger impact on global GDP growth than trade in goods.

The report, entitled 'Digital Globalization: The New Era of Global Flows', shows that the world is more connected than ever, but the nature of its connections has changed in a fundamental way.

As shown in the Infographic below, the amount of cross-border bandwidth used has grown 45 times larger since 2005. It is projected to increase by an additional nine times over the next five years as flows of information, searches, communication, video, transactions, and intra-company traffic continue to surge.

In addition to…

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