Digital Leaders Blog

digital transformation (43)

Managing Digital Transformation

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A recent article in the MITSloan Management Review has warned against looking for quick fixes when it comes to managing digital transformation.

In particular, three ‘superficial’ fixes should be avoided at all costs:

  • Avoid creating a transformation office unconnected to the rest of the organization: This will only create a culture of “cool kids” isolated from the rest of the workforce; as well as dismissing individuals already doing valuable transformation work elsewhere in the organization.
  • Avoid digitizing processes without rethinking the organization’s business model: Focusing solely on IT misses the point. A rapidly changing world requires new business models. Meaningful improvement must include transforming how the organization operates not just digitizing existing processes.…
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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 taxpayers. As a result staff will be freed up to work on more complex issues…
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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. They are born of rigid hierarchies and top-down command and…

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Genuine Digital Leaders Hard To Find

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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 guys ‘get it’),digital start-ups and venture capitalists.

The…

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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 problems. They can even modify themselves as new…

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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 majority (57%) being laggards - defined as an…

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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 Class Digital nation by 2020 was already out of reach.…

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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 that digital priorities are fully aligned within their…
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Digital Disruption: Are We Ready?

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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 characterised by turbulent digital change and digital disruption. Across a…

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A World Class Digital Nation? (update)

1485768?profile=RESIZE_480x480Further 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 global businesses and investors, with digital ecosystems positioned to…

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Digital Disruption Top Reads (No. 3)

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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 a new tab.…

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New Book: Digital to the Core

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Published this week, Digital to the Core by Mark Raskino and Graham Waller from Gartner, represents a very important addition to the growing literature on digital disruption, digital transformation and digital leadership.

The core argument of the authors is that standing still in an era of turbulent digital change is not an option. Enterprises and leaders must re-master themselves to succeed. Leaders must identify the key macro-digital forces impacting on their industry/organisation then provide leadership at three main levels industry, enterprise and self.

All leaders need to understand the impact of the digital revolution on their industries, organisations and leadership style.

The core of the book is structured around what the authors call the three primary disruptive…

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Middle East Embracing Digital Transformation

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Over the last few years, I have had the pleasure of visiting the Middle East on several occasions to deliver the Digital Leadership elective module on the Strathclyde Business School MBA programme.

It was with great interest, therefore, that i noted a recent study by Accenture claiming that leading businesses and governments in the region are positioning themselves to fully embrace digital transformation opportunities, probably more so than in many Western countries.  

Based on interviews with 200 senior decision-makers in the public and private sectors of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), key headline findings were:

A majority of respondents (62 percent in UAE and 83 percent in KSA) stated that the pace of technology adoption in their…

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PwC’s 2015 Digital IQTM Survey released earlier this week identified ten leadership behaviours that drive digital performance.

According to the report, based on a study of 2,000 executives across 51 countries, companies with the highest scores across the ten behaviours are 50% more likely to achieve rapid revenue growth and twice as likely to achieve rapid profit growth when compared to the remaining Digital IQ respondents.

One of the most interesting findings is that more CEOs are leading the digital charge, setting the tone that digital is essential for their organization.By contrast, the role of the CIO in digital transformation is diminishing.  Within three years, their role will be limited to managing internal IT efforts.

Now in its seventh year, PwC’s Digital IQ survey tracks best practices and evolving attitudes and…

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5 Key Roles of a Digital Business Leader

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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. Rather than developing a 'digital strategy', companies with a high…

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Digital Disruption Top Reads (No. 2)

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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 Vortex

A slightly longer summary of the above. Despite the threat of…

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An interesting Infographic has just been published by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte based on their 2015 report entitled Strategy, Not Technology, Drives Digital Transformation.

The Infographic illustrates how rethinking strategy, culture and leadership can help organizations transform digitally.  Please click here to enlarge the image.

The full report, with detailed Executive Summary, can be downloaded here.

Take care.

Jim H…

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According to a new market research report by MarketsandMarkets, the Global Digital Transformation Market is expected to grow from $150.70 Billion in 2015 to $369.22 Billion by 2020, a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 19.6%. Key technologies include mobility, analytics, social media, and cloud computing.

Major vendors in the Digital Transformation Market include Apple, IBM Corporation, Oracle Corporation, EMC Corporation, SAP AG, Adobe Systems, CA Technologies, Hewlett Packard (HP), Google, Microsoft Corporation and others.

A good summary can be found at …

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Leading Digital Transformation

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One of the best and most recent books on digital transformation is Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation by Westerman, Bonnet and McAfee (2014).

Over a four year period, the authors studied a large number of ‘Digital Masters’ - defined as companies who were proactively using digital technologies to drive significantly higher levels of profit, productivity and performance - across a diverse range of industries. ‘Digital Masters’ were 26 percent more profitable than their average industry competitor; generating 9 percent more revenue with their existing capacity and driving more efficiency in their…

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