Digital Leaders Blog

digital leaders (24)

Digital Leaders Outperform Digital Laggards

Evidence is emerging of a growing digital divide between organisations who ‘get IT’ and those who don’t; between those using digital technology to successfully transform their business and those still stuck on the starting blocks.

A new report from Harvard Business School provides evidence that this digital divide is already having a major impact on subsequent financial performance.

Based on detailed research covering 344 large US based enterprises, the Harvard study concludes that ‘digital leaders’ (enterprises who are transforming digitally) outperform ‘digital laggards’ across a range of financial measures.

Organisations that sit in the top quartile of Harvard’s Digital Transformation Index achieve significantly better gross margins, earnings and net income than…

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A new report from the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation, an initiative of IMD Business School and Cisco, has identified four competencies and three behaviours that business leaders need in order to excel in an era of digital disruption.

The report entiled Redefining Leadership for a Digital Age, presents findings from a global survey of more than 1,000 executives across 20 different sectors.

The vast majority of leaders agree that they are caught in a technology-change vortex that is drawing in whole industries and creating disruption on an unprecedented scale. 92% of those surveyed stated that they are feeling the effects of digital disruption, with one-third…

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Teaching Digital Leadership to the Digital Leaders

Ok I know that leadership cannot be ‘taught’, but this Spring I will be 'facilitating' Digital Leadership programmes in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Edinburgh, Glasgow and online in virtual learning land.

With over 30 different nationalities participating across the various locations, it is critical that a global perspective is adopted.

So what progress have different countries around the world made in transforming digitally?

The Most Tech-Savvy Governments

Two of the destinations being visited, the UAE and Bahrain, are listed in the top three countries worldwide in terms of having the ‘most tech-savvy’ governments, according to the World Economic Forum’s…

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A fascinating new report has just been published looking at digital transformation at HMRC, the UK tax authority.

The report catalogues a series of errors which, it is claimed, have resulted in near meltdown of the UK tax system. There are very important lessons to be learned here for other public sector transformation projects; indeed for the private sector too.

Keynote Summary

  • HMRC launch a 'Building our Future (BoF)' programme to become the most ‘digitally advanced’ revenue service in the world. The core ‘vision’ is to replace phone and postal enquiries from members of the public and small businesses with automated online services. This will release staff from boring administrative tasks, processing forms or speaking with…
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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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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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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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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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According to a recent survey by Fujitsu, European business leaders view digital transformation as being critical to their future success. However, most companies lack a clear strategy for 'getting there'. The majority still see the digitalization process as a gamble.

The research concludes that most executives agree that failing to digitalize fast enough will result in a loss of productivity, reduced business responsiveness to rapidly changing markets and problems with customer retention and loyalty.

While there is agreement that digital transformation will have a major top line impact in terms of how organizations create value for their customers, a huge disconnect exists in terms of strategic priorities for digital projects.

  • Only one in three respondents agreed…
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Digital Disruption: Are We Ready?

Scottish business remains woefully unprepared for the oncoming digital onslaught. To leverage the full potential of new technology and reduce the threat of becoming a nation of digital dinosaurs, a new breed of senior executive is urgently required - Digital Business Leaders.

These are two of the main conclusions emerging from our recent ‘Digital Disruption Report’ prepared on behalf of the Federation of Small Business in Scotland. The report raises important implications for Scottish companies, policy makers and the business support network.

Digital Disruption and Scottish Business

The core premise of the report is that we have entered a new and even more revolutionary phase in the development of digital technology; a period…

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Digital Leaders: Even More Urgently Required

In various blog posts and presentations over the last year or so, we have argued that Digital Leaders Are Urgently Required.

While 74% of executives surveyed in Forrester’s State of Digital Business in 2014 Report claimed to have a strategy for dealing with digital disruption, only 15% believed their company had the capability to execute the strategy. Successful digital business transformation, according to Forrester, requires the full support of CEOs to drive investment…

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A World Class Digital Nation? (update)

Further to our previous blog post Scotland: A World Class Digital Nation ('Nae Chance'), new evidence appeared this week, in the Harvard Business Review no less, showing that Europe as a whole is in the midst of a digital recession, especially when compared to the US and Asia; a digital recession that will have severe consequences for Europe's global competitiveness. 

Of the 50 countries studied in the Digital Evolution Index, 23 were European (not counting Turkey). Only three of these, Switzerland, Ireland, and Estonia, made it to the commendable “Stand Out” category defined as 'countries with high levels of digital development making them attractive to…

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Digital Disruption Top Reads (No. 3)

The third in our regular series of posts covering the best and most recent articles on digital disruption, digital transformation and digital leadership. You can keep up-to-date, on a daily basis, with the rapidly emerging literature in this area by connecting with us on Twitter and Linkedin.

Please also see Reads 1 and 2 in the series.  

Please right click on links to open in…

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The severe shortage of digital executives represents a huge potential employment opportunity for tech-savvy leaders according to a new post on the MBA networking site Business Because.

A dearth of experienced talent combined with the growing number of businesses seeking to leverage digital has put a premium on the role of the digital leader.

The article contains a series of very interesting quotes from experts working at the forefront of digital transformation.

According to Capgemini, for example, executives are desperate to hire outside talent to manage new digital initiatives. There is an emerging war for digital talent according…

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5 Key Roles of a Digital Business Leader

According to a recent article by McKinsey, the number of Chief Digital Officers doubled from 2013 to 2014 and is expected to double again this year as more organisations begin to realise that they cannot achieve digital business transformation within current structures.

The article lists 5 'mission critical' roles of a Digital Business Leader.

1. Make digital integral to the strategy

According to McKinsey, digital isn’t a 'thing' - it’s a new way of doing things. Successful CDOs focus on integrating digital into all aspects of the business, from channels and processes and data to the operating model, incentives, and culture.…

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Next Generation Marketing Skills

While there is growing recognition of the need for digital transformation, industry leaders (with a few exceptions) lack the digital knowledge, understanding and confidence to drive change.  A new breed of senior executive is required - Digital Business Leaders - executives who can combine high level business knowledge, experience and understanding with the ability to develop and implement Digital Transformation Strategies fully aligned with and supportive of agreed business goals and objectives. Executives with the personal skills and confidence to deliver organisational transformation.

Where should these future digital leaders should come from?  Should they have an Information Technology or Business/Marketing background? 

The consensus seems to be that a new breed of…

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We have been quite critical in the past regarding the failure of our Business Schools to respond to the growing shortage of digital leaders. At last, it appears that this is about to change. 

A recent article published on the Business Because MBA web site shows that a number of leading schools are now offering programmes to support executives in dealing with turbulent digital change and digital disruption.

Schools mentioned as being digital innovators include Harvard, ESSEC, Mannheim, Salford, Said, Cambridge Judge, IMD and Tuck as well as our own Digital Leaders MBA elective class at Strathclyde Business School.  I would also add the University of Edinburgh Business School to this list.

While it is great to see progress being made, Ted Malloch, fellow in…

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Digital Disruption Top Reads (No. 2)

Please find below our top ten reads on Digital Disruption and Digital Transformation published over the last month or so; together with some news type articles.

Top Ten Reads

Digital Disruption to Displace 4 in 10 Industry Incumbents by 2020

A short introduction to the recent IMD/Cisco Report. Digital disruption could overturn incumbents and reshape markets faster than any force in history. Based on a survey of 941 business leaders in 12 industries and 13 countries, the report concluded that digital disruption will displace approximately 40 percent of industry incumbents within the next five years.

The Digital…

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