Dr Jim Hamill's Posts (128)

An interesting series of short videos from McKinsey profiling the digital transformation of DBS Bank based on an interview with CIO David Gledhill.

Highly relevant to our 'Leading Digital' workshops- The Three Key Elements; Digital to the Core; Our Rallying Call: Becoming the "D" in GANDALF; Our Outcomes; A Scorecard for our Mission; Advice for Others on this Journey.

"The digital transformation of any enterprise is a herculean task requiring a willingness to embrace cultural change, the ability to immerse the entire organization in the customer journey, and a total commitment to digitize to the core. DBS Bank Chief Information Officer David Gledhill shares his insights on DBS’s digital transformation with McKinsey’s Vinayak HV, a partner in the Singapore office".

 The Three Key Elements


Digital to the Core

Our Rallying Call: Becoming the "D" in GANDALF

Our Outcomes

A Scorecard for our Mission

Advice for Others on this Journey

The full article can be found here.

Jim H

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Football fans (soccer to our North American friends) should find the two videos below to be of interest.

How Bayern Munchen uses digital technology to enhance the fan experience at the Allianz Arena.

A big thank you to 'Gunner' fan Mohammed AlGhazali from the Strathclyde Business School MBA programme (Bahrain) for showing me these during the recent Digital Leaders workshop in Abu Dhabi.

Having experienced every senior football ground in Scotland, annually for the last 50 plus years, the only thing i can add is 'if only'.

Take care.

Jim H

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According to a recent report by Capgemini Consulting, organisations are now convinced of the benefits AI can bring. The key question now is where and how they should invest.

The research, freely available here Turning AI into concrete value: the successful implementers’ toolkit, offers a pragmatic guide helping organisations in their AI investment decisions.

Based on an analysis of over 50 AI use cases, together with a survey of over 1,000 senior executives, the report presents interesting case examples of AI delivering tangible business benefits across a range of different industries. Highly practical advice is provided in terms of devleoping an AI strategy and roadmap for your own organisation.  

Implemented effectively, AI can deliver real business benefit in four main areas as summarised below:

Figure 1: How AI is Driving Business Benefits

The report also provides a useful definition of what Artificial Intelligence is.

"Artificial Intelligence encompasses a range of technologies that learn over time as they are exposed to more data. The definition we used in this report is that AI includes speech recognition, natural language, processing, semantic technology, biometrics, machine and deep learning, swarm intelligence, and chatbots or voice bots."

Figure 2: What is Artificial Intelligence

The full report can be accessed here - Turning AI into concrete value: the successful implementers’ toolkit

Jim H


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The concept of Digital Operating Advantage is one of the key issues discussed during our ‘Leading Digital’ Masterclasses.

It refers to the way in which organisations can leverage the full potential of emerging technologies to streamline internal processes and systems, improve efficiency, reduce costs, building a more collaborative, cost efficient, agile, responsive, data driven organisation, ‘fit-for-purpose’ in a digital age.

The successful deployment of an Enterprise Social Media (ESM) platform is critical in this respect as highlighted in the video below.


The key term above is ‘successful deployment’. While ESM platforms have been adopted by many organisations as the cornerstone of their internal digital transformation, new research published in the MITSloan Management Review suggests that expected benefits in terms of knowledge sharing, collaboration and efficiency are seldom realised. The main reason for this is poor ESM implementation.

Key conclusions of the research are as follows:

  • Employees often ‘get lost’ during the implementation of ESM platforms because of the disconnect between technology and the cultural change required to leverage the full potential of these platforms.
  • ESM is too often introduced into workplaces as a siloed system. A more strategic approach is required with ESM becoming a core component of an organisation’s digital portfolio, fully integrated with and supportive of employees’ daily work.
  • Too often, ESM is added to an already tangled web of technologies meant to support communication and collaboration. The net outcome is that fewer than 30% of employees and only 8% of executives contribute to ESM on a regular basis.
  • As more organisations become attracted to the benefits of digital workplaces, IT departments are asked to equip employees with a rich and integrated digital portfolio including team collaboration software, project management tools, chat-based software, internal knowledge management systems, intranets and so on. However, in most cases, there is a failure to articulate and communicate to employees how they are expected to use these tools in their day-to-day, job-related tasks.
  • The failure to articulate and communicate runs the risk of employees becoming lost in the transition to a more social, collaborative way of working. Connecting to ESM platforms often requires employees to disconnect from existing patterns of communication and collaboration such as email. This is not easy to achieve and can create resistance to change unless managed properly. Weaning people away from their email comfort blanket is no easy task.
  • To increase adoption and improve efficiency, ESM should be established as the hub connecting multiple IT systems, business applications, collaborative tools and other digital platforms. With proper integration, using APIs, employees should be able to access all digital platforms such as the corporate intranet, email, directories, document-sharing tools, forums, blogs, wikis and third-party web applications seamlessly from the ESM platform. Most ESM platforms such as Salesforce Chatter, Microsoft Yammer and Teams, Facebook Workplace etc offer open APIs that enable interoperability between ESM and other information technologies.

In conclusion, the MITSloan research supports our own contention that successful digital transformation is not just about technology – it requires the effective integration of strategy, people, processes, systems, organisation, culture AND technology.

The failure to recognise these mutual dependencies is one of the main reasons why many attempted transformations will fail. The successful implementation of Enterprise Social Media within your own organisation is a cultural as well as a technology challenge.

Read the full article here.

As always, comment and feedback are very welcome.

Take care.

Jim H

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Following our recent post Charting the Digital Transformation Genome, a HBR paper examines the reasons why some high profile digital transformation programmes fail based on the experiences of compaies such as GE, Lego, Nike, Procter & Gamble, Burberry, Ford and others. All case examples of heavy commitments to digital capability development which failed to meeet basic financial performance objectives.

The authors present four main reasons for failure:

First, there are a very wide range of factors that impact on a company's performance as much or even more than digital. Managers, therefore, should not view digital as a panacea.

Second, digital is not just about technology. Successful digital transformation is an ongoing process of changing the way you do business. It requires investment in new skills, people, projects, infrastructure as well as IT systems. It involves the integration of people, technology and business processes, combined with digital leadership, continuous monitoring and intervention from the top.

Third, digital investments need to be calibrated to the readiness of your industry, both customers and competitors, have a clear strategic fit with overall corporate objectives and hardwired to value.

Finally, companies should be careful that the investment in digital does not destroy traditional sources of comptitive advantage. The prospect of launching a sexy technology-based business can be tantalizing but can result in executives paying too much attention to the new and not enough to the old.

You can access the full article here - Why So Many High Profile Transformations Fail.

 Take care.

Jim H

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According to Anthony Abbatiello, principal, Deloitte Consulting and global leader of Deloitte Leadership, $400 billion is wasted every year in failed digital transformations. Even though many companies profess to have digital strategies, they don’t fully understand what it’s actually going to take or haven’t pinpointed what they want the business to look like.

There’s also an element of “executive tourism” as senior managers see things they like in Silicon Valley and seek to cut-and-paste them into their own organizations.

So, they embark on “random acts of digital” rather than create a cohesive strategy. They invest in digital technology and are disappointed when the expected massive change (and returns) don’t appear.

Despite such failure rates, digital transformation can be successful. But, it’s going to take a mind-set metamorphosis to put digital DNA at the organization’s core. HR has a critical role to play.

Read the full article here.

Jim H

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Since the digitization of music, the need to find new methods of access and distribution to music has become more prevalent. Since the birth of Napster, Kazaa, and Limewire, the music industry has taken a hit in terms of music sales. Listeners have easier access to content, while the creators of said content aren’t necessarily getting the bang for their buck.

So, how does introducing blockchain technology affect the accessibility and distribution of music? I turned to international house music DJ, Gareth Emery, and why his latest project, Choon, is the music industry of the future.

Read the full article here.

Jim H

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A recent McKinsey podcast examined how technology has affected employment and incomes in manufacturing and other sectors and whether automation could widen the gap between high- and low-income jobs.

Automation could reduce workers’ wages, further widen the gap between rich and the poor. Smart policies will be required to prevent unemployment and wage friction in the future.

Click the image below to be taken to the podcast page.

Read the full article here.

Jim H

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Artificial intelligence and robotics are disrupting every aspect of work and redefining productivity. The old ways of working, assessing capabilities, hiring and compensation, are undergoing a massive change.

A recent Knowledge@Wharton conversation discussed what this means for individuals, organizations and countries. Managerial jobs and tasks that are repetitive in nature will be displaced and the ability to learn new skills will be critical for individuals who want to stay relevant. Companies will need to devise new ways of training and assessing the skills of employees while countries must develop a learning ecosystem.

“Work will be more contractual in nature and deep technical skills, creativity and learnability will be at a premium.”

Read the full article here.

Jim H


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According to a recent survey by McKinsey, the way companies engage with customers and the tools supporting customer interaction will change dramatically over the next few years.

An omnichannel world will emerge with customers having access to a wide range of digital contact options for interacting with companies, not just the traditional call centre. Fully 75 percent of customers will use multiple service channels. This will include web sites, apps, social media, chat and voice.

Frontline robotics will also play an important gatekeeper role, helping to determine customer requests and handle simple issues. The report estimates that robots will be able to fully resolve 30 to 50 percent of all customer requests.

The emergence of omnichannel digital options will not mark the end of human contact centre agents. However, their role will change significantly, handling only the most complex requests, supported by robotics and artificial intelligence analysing large amounts of data and voice recognition patterns to communicate insights and recommendations to agents.

Manual work will be widely automated, allowing agents to focus fully on advising customers, delivering enhanced customer experiences, pursuing cross-selling and upselling opportunities. To achieve performance excellence in this future state, the report concludes that talent management and coaching will be crucial in empowering agents to seamlessly handle complex requests.

Five key dynamics transforming the customer care industry are identified:

  • Inbound calls will decline in number or be eliminated
  • Digital-care channels are already the starting point for most customer-care interactions
  • Large investments will be required to improve the skills of customer-care workers
  • High-end customised experiences will require companies to rethink customer engagement
  • New technology providers will flood the customer-care space, so companies must choose wisely

You can access the full article here.

Well worth a read.

Jim H

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Next week I will be in Iceland delivering two half-day workshops.

The first session will examine the changing role of HR in an era of digital disruption.

The key motion being discussed during workshop two is whether marketing, as we know it, is becoming obsolete. Is the convergence of disruptive technologies (mobile connectivity, social media, the cloud, big data, predictive analytics, algorithms, IoT, AI, automation, cognitive computing, augmented reality and the blockchain), combined with the rapid emergence of a new generation of constantly connected customers (Gen C), leading to the end of marketing as usual?

Key discussion points will include:

  • Has the marketing profession adapted quickly enough to the digital era? Does the profession need to #adaptordie?
  • Are we viewing the world as it is or as we have always known it? Are we operating with out-of-date marketing paradigms? What are the new ‘rules’ of sales, marketing and PR in an era of customer empowerment? Content and engagement not broadcasting? Marketing as a two-way conversation with your customers?
  • Gen C - are we aligning marketing with the buying behaviour and growing expectations of constantly connected customers and digital natives?
  • On the web, do we still view customers as passive sheep just waiting to be driven to our web site? Is the linear sales funnel still relevant when ‘prospects’ and ‘targets’ are now in control?
  • Is ‘social selling’ the new B2B marketing?
  • What are the implications for brand management when the brand has become the customer experience of the brand, experiences that are widely shared across social platforms?
  • Should we all just ‘shut up and listen’, developing actionable insights from social media conversations?
  • Have social customer service, managing the online customer experience, word-of-mouth and community engagement become the new pillars of marketing success?
  • Is SME export support policy stuck in a 35 year, pre-digital time warp?
  • Do we need a new approach to measuring marketing performance and business impact?
  • What new marketing skills are required in a digital era? Are we developing next generation marketers? Is our marketing education system 'fit-for-purpose'? Does academic research in marketing have any relevance today?
  • How will emerging technologies such as the Blockchain, Big Data, IoT etc impact on marketing?
  • Are we ready for Marketing Darwinism, a phenomenon when technology and society evolve faster than our ability to adapt?

Hopefully, it will be an interesting session.

As always, comment and feedback are very welcome.

A follow-up post will cover the key questions being addressed in the HR session.

Comment and join in the discussion on LinkedIn here.

Take care.

Jim H

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Industry 4.0: Infographic

Connected devices are set to transform manufacturing, from demand forecasting to inventory management. While the vast majority of firms recognise the opportunity, many remain behind the curve in terms of adoption. 

The Infographic below summarise the current state of play. 

Click the image to view in full-size.

View source article here.

 Jim H

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Digital native companies have captured value from established businesses because of their innovative use and development of technologies, business models and customer experiences.

According to a recent study by McKinsey, however, an overlooked element in the success of these companies has been their use of next-generation operating models defined as:

"The continual effort to improve end-to-end customer journeys and business processes by applying advanced technologies and sophisticated operational methods in an integrated manner. The combination typically results in, or is built around, a business model that is new to the industry and allows the company to move, adapt, and scale quickly."

By applying next-generation operating models, traditional companies can develop the agility and customer focus needed to fend off challenges from digital natives.

As shown in the Infographic below, there are three main components to a next-gen operating model:

  • Continually improving the end-to-end customer journey with a clean sheet approach.
  • Establishing agile ways of working through journey-focused teams.
  • Integrating technology with operations by testing and learning.

Accelerating the shift to a next-generation operating model involves taking three mutually reinforcing actions at once.

The full article can be found here.

Take care.

Jim H

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Digital Nation Round Table

I have been invited to participate in a Scottish Business Insider/BT Digital Nation Round Table this coming Friday, being held at the University of Strathclyde's new Technology Innovation Centre (TIC). 

A number of challenging questions have been presented to provide focus to the discussion.

Friends and colleagues will know that I have strong views on most of the issues listed below which I will be expressing on the day.

I would be interested in your own thoughts and comments which I will be happy to communicate to the group.

If you would like to comment, please do so on Linkedin at Digital Nation Round Table.

  • Is Scotland's digital ambition/strategy ambitious enough? What can we learn from other small countries?
  • How can we keep pace with digital disruption in the economy?
  • Is the focus too narrow, does a digital agenda need to be driven out across the policy spectrum?
  • What should digital transformation in the public sector look like?
  • Are national targets required and what metrics can be used to measure progress?
  • Is it deliverable? What are the barriers and how can they be overcome?
  • What cultural shift or behavioural change is needed to bring about the scale of reform needed?
  • How do we instil trust with the public at large on how the public sector manages cyber resilience and the use of personal data?
  • Is the pace of change fast enough? How do we ensure no one is left behind?

An edited transcript of the Round Table will appear in the March/April issue of Insider.

Thanks and take care.

ps - my own thoughts on the questions listed above have been expressed in a number of previous blog posts - please see https://www.linkedin.com/in/drjimhamill/detail/recent-activity/posts/

Jim H


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Another excellent article from Brian Solis and one very relevant to our ‘Leading Digital Change’ 2018 Masterclass series.

The core theme of the article can be summarised as follows:

  • Digital transformation is more than just digital. It is about modernising and future-proofing your organisation. First and foremost, successful digital transformation is about people and culture, not technology.
  • Many organisations continue to struggle with implementing successful change programmes. Digital change agents have a critical role to play in accelerating progress - the unsung heroes of every successful digital transformation.
  • The challenge is whether executives can find and empower them to bring the organisation together around unified digital initiatives.

The traits of a digital change agent, as explained by Brian, are highly relevant to Future Digital Leaders.

  • Change agents are early adopters of digital, wishing to help their companies modernise.
  • They may start as digital advocates developing over time into experienced business transformers.
  • They have the courage to step outside the ‘norm’, helping others to modernise and innovation.
  • The work done by digital change agents may lead to uncoordinated, disjointed efforts across the organisation, but this will establish a solid foundation for more formal initiatives to gain momentum.
  • Change agents act as catalysts helping to push forward the transformation agenda. However, while some may be born leaders, many are reluctant agents of change, lacking the management expertise to handle obstacles to progress, especially the political and cultural aspects of organisational life.

The article identifies four main types of digital change agent as summarised in Figure 1 below:

Figure 1: Digital Change Agents

Source: Solis, 2018

The full article can be accessed here - Change Agents: The unsung heroes of digital transformation

Highly recommended reading for Future Digital Leaders.

As always, comment and feedback are very welcome.

Jim H

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MIT have recently published their Top 20 Sloan Management Review articles of 2017.

Not surprisingly, articles on digital strategy, transformation, AI and data analytics dominate the most popular reads. 

The Top 20 are listed below (click link to access each article): 

The Jobs That Artificial Intelligence Will Create

Reshaping Business With Artificial Intelligence

Analytics as a Source of Business Innovation

The Smart Way to Respond to Negative Emotions at Work

Achieving Digital Maturity

The Most Underrated Skill in Management

How Big Data Is Empowering AI and Machine Learning at Scale

The End of Corporate Culture as We Know It

Why Design Thinking in Business Needs a Rethink

Turning Strategy Into Results

Your Company Doesn’t Need a Digital Strategy

Corporate Sustainability at a Crossroads

What to Expect From Artificial Intelligence

‘Digital Transformation’ Is a Misnomer

The Five Steps All Leaders Must Take in the Age of Uncertainty

Harnessing the Secret Structure of Innovation

Five Myths About Digital Transformation

12 Essential Innovation Insights

How to Monetize Your Data

How to Thrive — and Survive — in a World of AI Disruption

More details can be found here.

Take care.

Jim H

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It’s not very often that a single book changes your life. In my case, it was two books, both published twenty years ago.

Until the mid-1990's, I was following a typical University career path – teaching International Business/International Marketing, researching and publishing in academic journals.

The seed of change was planted in 1996 when i read Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte, MIT Media Lab.

The digital age is coming and it cannot be denied or stopped. We are discussing a fundamental cultural change. Computing is not about computers, it's about life; being digital is not just being a geek or Internet surfer or mathematically savvy child, it's actually a way of living and is going to impact absolutely everything."

Even in those early days, it was time to #adaptordie (Brian Solis). How many brands, indeed individuals, have become digital dinosaurs since then?

While the seed of change had been planted, it was the second book, The Digital Economy by Don Tapscott, which accelerated the personal transformation. The author presenting a thought provoking analysis of how new technology and business strategies were transforming industry, markets, the dynamics of competition and rules for business success.

Two decades later, almost every prediction made by the author in the mid-1990's has come true.

When Don Tapscott speaks, it is time to listen. His early thoughts have been further developed in a series of other books published over the last two decades, the most recent of which is entitled Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World.

The ideas expressed in the book have been summarised in the manifesto of the Blockchain Research Institute set up by the author and summarised below:

  1. The Blockchain represents the second era of the Internet; a true paradigm shift ushered in by decentralised ledger technologies.
  2. Like the Internet of information before it, blockchain will upend business models, disrupt industries for the good and threaten the position of incumbents.
  3. Blockchain technology holds vast promise to solve many of the planet’s problems, including climate change. It has the potential to address the unintended consequences of the first Internet era - the erosion of privacy, security, economic inclusion, intellectual property rights etc
  4. Central banks should convert their fiat currencies into digital ones. Governments should embrace blockchain technology to improve operations, increase transparency and accountability.
  5. All functions of management will change as the technology reconfigures firm architecture and competitiveness.
  6. Blockchain standards will be required to speed progress.
  7. The rush to innovation will produce countless failures and fraud but the fundamentals of this new paradigm are sound. Cynics dismiss it at their peril
  8. There are many implementation challenges to be overcome; the technology remains relatively immature and arcane.
  9. Stewardship of this resource is critical.
  10. The new paradigm calls for a new generation of leaders. Vested interests will fight change, leaders of the old will have difficulty embracing the new.

You can access the full Manifesto here.

As always, comment and feedback are very welcome.

Jim H

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The 8 Types of Company Culture

Our previous blog post argued that people, organisation and culture NOT technology have become the main barriers to successful digital transformation. Many digital change initiatives faiI because of an over-emphasis on technology at the expense of people.

In the interesting video below, researchers from Harvard Business School present eight types of organisational culture with implications for digital change. management. Please click on the image to view the video.

Source: The 8 Types of Company Culture

Take care.

Jim H

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People, organisation and culture NOT technology have become the main barriers to successful digital transformation. Many digital change initiatives will fail because of an over-emphasis on technology at the expense of people. The HR profession needs to play a more proactive role in driving the digital transformation agenda.

It is now widely accepted that a convergence of disruptive technologies (mobile connectivity, social media, enterprise social, the cloud, big data, Internet of Things, artificial intelligent, automation and the blockchain), combined with the rapid emergence of a new generation of constantly connected customers and constantly connected employees (Gen C), is leading to the ‘end of business as usual’.

With organisations needing to #adaptordie, successful digital transformation has become, first and foremost, about people rather than technology.

The HR profession is uniquely positioned to perform a key role as a leader of change, creating digital ecosystems built around people, processes and technology. To achieve this, HR needs to move from the periphery to become a provocateur of change.

The key issues and challenges facing HR in an era of turbulent digital change include the following:

  • Understanding the digital landscape - the technologies disrupting HR.
  • The impact of disruption on employment, labour markets and skills. Are the robots coming to take our jobs? Are we facing a digital skills crisis? Growth of the ‘gig’ economy and the changing nature of work.
  • The role of HR as a change provocateur - HR’s role in leading digital change, the state-of-play; from ‘payroll and holidays” to a catalyst for change; the third force in digital transformation, marketing, technology and HR; the role of HR in digital strategy development, implementation and performance measurement.
  • Overcoming resistance to change - people, organisation and culture; legacy thinking not just legacy technology; building a culture of innovation and ‘next generation’ organisations; tools and software to support employee engagement and collaboration; creating a digital first mindset.
  • Managing digital natives and Gen Z.
  • Developing digital talent, corporate learning, education and skills development.
  • Amazonisation - use of emerging digital technologies to reinvent HR, transforming processes and systems to deliver Amazon levels of self-service and employee experiences.
  • The growing importance of workplace analytics, tracking trends, delivering actionable insight and informed decision-making from data.
  • Digital Leaders urgently required!
  • To-wards the future - coping with HR Darwinism, a phenomenon when technology and society evolve faster than our ability to adapt.

These issues, and more, will be discussed at our March workshop 'The Changing Role of HR in an Era of Digital Disruption'. The workshop is being held in Reykjavik.

We would be happy to run a similar session locally if there is sufficient interest.

Just drop me a note on Linkedin or leave a comment below if you would like to discuss. 

Take care.

Jim H 

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Further evidence of the strong positive correlation that exists between digital maturity and companies' financial performance has been provided in a recent study by Accenture.

Through the more efficient use of new technology, the 900 large companies surveyed could increase their market capitalisation by an average US$6 billion. 

A lack of digital skills, however, is holding back their ability to realise these benefits.

With only 13 percent of executives claiming tangible business benefits being derived from their investments in digital technologies, major scope for improvement exists in leveraging the full potential of emerging technologies such as 3D printing, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), autonomous robots, autonomous vehicles, big data analytics, blockchain, digital twin, machine learning and mobile computing.

Companies in the industrial-equipment sector, for instance, could realise additional cost savings of more than $43,000 per employee if they combined robotics, AI, blockchain, big data and 3D-printing technologies. Energy companies could gain more than $16 billion in market capitalisation if they combined technologies such as virtual reality, big data and AI.

To realise these benefits, digital transformation is no longer enough. Companies must completely reinvent their operating models, production and value chains to create more value with digital.

Accenture uses the term Industry X.0 to describe the type of reinvention required, with businesses using advanced digital technologies to transform core operations, worker and customer experiences and underlying business models.

Emerging technologies are used to achieve new levels of efficiency in core R&D, engineering, production, manufacturing and support activities through integrated systems, processes, sensors and data driven intelligence.

Worker and customer experiences are reimagined and redesigned through advances such as immersive, augmented and virtual reality.

New business models and revenue streams are unlocked by smart, connected products, services and plants enabled by new ecosystems.

You can read more here - Companies That Harness Digital Technologies to Boost Efficiency and Grow Their Business Could Raise Their Market Capitalisation by $6 Billion on Average, Accenture Finds.

Please see here for previous Future Digital Leaders blog posts on the link between digital transformation and business performance.

Please click on image to enlarge.

Take care.

Jim H

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