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[Interview] With Jeremy Blain, Digital Transformation Expert On The Next 5 Years For Your Company


April 29, 2019

Jeremy Blain is an award-winning Business Leader, Futurist, New Era Learning Professional, Author & Conference Speaker.

Jeremy is founder and CEO of PerformanceWorks International (PWI). He has created PWI because he knows that his experience, knowledge and passion can help organisations and individuals face into the changing workplace and help them be fit and ready for the future.

We had an opportunity to have a chat with Jeremy to discuss digital transformation and what it holds for the future of companies and their retention of customers and brand loyalty to become a more digitally centered business.

1. How Do Define Successful Digital Transformation?

By not calling it digital transformation but re-orientating that to Whole Business Model Transformation. This is the real need.

Digital transformation seems to have lost its meaning for many companies, who are seeing it as the integration of technology, a system, a structure or similar. Multiply that effect by the potential for different technologies being implemented across different functions, without necessarily talking to each other, and they are compounding the problem. In many companies, a further question is not even considered…how does my digital strategy and transformation align to what my customers need and want? Here lies the problem.

For me true success is looking at the end to end transformation the business needs to include the digital, the people, the customer and partners; all led by a credible leadership and management team. Whole business consideration, not just piecemeal interventions that may not work. It is no coincidence that in research across 2016/17 by IBM and Forbes that 84% of digital strategy fails**. A staggering amount and this is largely due to a misunderstanding of what digital transformation actually is, what it means and how to go about it.

My latest research goes into this in some details and proposes a brand new 11-step model for digital strategy implementation. While doing the research, it was clear very little guidance actually exists – until now. You can see more here.

** source:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucerogers/2016/01/07/why-84-of-companies-fail-at-digital-transformation/#13d5410a397b

https://www.ibm.com/blogs/insights-on-business/oracle-consulting/84-of-companies-fail-at-digital-transformation

2. How Do You See The Effect Of Digital Transformation On The Public Sector?

It depends on the part of world we focus on. For example, Countries like Vietnam, India, China, Singapore, HK and more across Asia have digital at the core of their policies. Be that in the development of Smart Cities like Singapore or building the economy on technology-driven services and business.

In Europe, from my recent survey (white paper above) it is clear that Red Tape and Bureaucracy is getting in the way of adequate planning, budgeting and execution of government level policy and implementation when it comes to digital. For example, very few public sector organisations we surveyed have a digital vision or even a leadership capable of understanding what is needed…compounded by a ‘laisse faire’ attitude. Unless that changes, transformation in the public sector will be slow and only in certain areas; rather than an integrated, policy-driven actionable plan – which is adequately funded.

Interestingly digital is levelling the global competitive playing field and allowing emerging economies across the world, notably in Africa, SE Asia and Latin America to start from the same place as more established economies. The more enlightened governments are centralizing their planning around this to build future-ready economies and attractive investment sites for external developers, investors and businesses.   Whole conferences are being fast-tracked around this area as a platform for global, not just local, participants. Such as Africa Com later this year and many more. This is as important to government as it is to private enterprise of course.

3. How Do You See Digital Transformation Efforts Affecting Customers In The Next 5 Year?

It is not just about our customers, it is more a question of how we do more together with our customers, fuelled by digital and driven by human expertise. For example, as we transform our businesses, how do we ensure that our technologies, data and processes align with those evolving in our customers. To the extent that within the next 5 years our systems should actually ‘talk to’ those of our customers to fast track data sharing, informing more rapid joint decision making and forward strategy planning. This is the gold at the end of the rainbow for suppliers and their customers.

4. Which Are The Emerging Technologies That Will Play A Significant Role In The Digital Transformation Process?

This could be a long list but key tech that can enable successful transformation includes AI (Artificial Intelligence) – around big data analysis, strategic planning and rapid decision making. Bin the excel spreadsheets and be driven by hyper rapid analytics, for real-time action.

5G will be a game-changer in terms of the above and the ability for businesses who are ahead of the curve to secure competitive advantage. This not just about bandwidth, download speeds etc. this could become the life-blood running through the veins of our businesses and how we interact with employees, partners, customers and competitors even. More leaders need to truly understand the power that 5G can provide their businesses. Right now, too many ‘don’t know what they don’t know’

Aligned to this will be technology to allow systems to talk to each other. Prior to a true ‘Internet of Things’ filling the gap, the use of API (Application Programming Interface) should be adopted by more organisations (small, medium and large). API is a way to ensure that there are clearly designed methods and communication lines across  the varying technology components you may use internally – and – over the next few years, to enable better integration with your customer systems and technologies. A key component for competitive advantage.

RPA – robotic process automation. A way to automate your future business processes to ensure the technology, AI, robotics etc all work together and are linked to the human heart of your business. Crucial to some industries over the next 3-6 years and something that many informed corporations are budgeting now for, as they prepare their forward strategies. Others are not doing enough…

In the digital age one could argue that the human touch is as important as it ever was. Leveraging your human capital in the age of whole business model transformation can be the ‘edge’ as far as competitive advantage goes (particularly around the attraction, protection and retention of Talent). This is why many organisations are restructuring their organisation around Human Design Centres. Mobilising your resources according to core personality, preference and capability, not necessarily job role or function. It embraces ‘difference’ and enables your people to perform in ways suited to them. A more fluid way to use Talent and more sophisticated way to mobilise resources be they permanent, contingent workers, in an office or remote. Equally a way to understand how this can work best with the digital thread of the business as much as the human.

5. How Do You See The Integration Of Block-chain Affecting The Businesses?

By 2021 it is predicted that over $6Trillion USD will be lost through cyber crime. As part of any digital strategy, cyber risk, secure systems and end-to-end secure processes, technologies and tools require much work in many organisations. Not just for how they work internally but how they interface externally most importantly. Those organisations with 20th century systems in place now are not fit for purpose in the Industry 4.0 era. But many heads are being buried in the sand. It is perceived as expensive, non-urgent and, again, a fundamental misunderstanding of the ‘cost of doing nothing’ is the biggest risk here.

In 2020s ‘trusting’ a company, system or tool is not good enough. In the era of fake news, sophisticated scams and readily available ‘credible’ technology, you need more. And that is where Blockchain comes in. For me – as a summary – Blockchain is the end to end ‘traceability’ your organisation needs internally and to be seen externally. It is TRUTH over TRUST. And that is the key point and why it is so important.

Thank you to Jeremy for taking the time to speak with us at Upwise.  We have certainly learned a lot and hope this insight has helped our community too.

Agile digital vision of Asia is setting example for European businesses, says PerformanceWorks research

Leaders in Europe need to cut through bureaucracy and apathy or risk losing competitive advantage to more action-oriented international rivals

For any business looking to remain competitive, having a cohesive, well-defined digital vision and the strategy to properly implement it is essential. However, new research by PerformanceWorks and Bridges Business Consultancy, international providers of strategy implementation solutions, training and consulting services for business leaders and managers, has revealed that just 51 per cent of European organisations have a digital vision for the future, compared to 60 per cent in Asia and 65 per cent in North America.

In addition to this, European organisations are playing catch-up when it comes to a general readiness to digitally transform:

chart1

When asked to rate how ready they are on a scale of 1 to 10 (with higher numbers representing a higher level of readiness), respondents from Europe averaged a score of 5.1, compared with 5.6 in North America and 6.0 in Asia. Moreover, when asked how much cultural transformation is needed, those in Europe averaged a score of 6.1 (with higher numbers representing a greater need for transformation), while their Asian colleagues scored just 4.4.

For Jeremy Blain, Founder and CEO of PerformanceWorks, these figures illustrate how Asia is succeeding in putting together a digital vision, and combining this with decisive action and the fostering of a digital-first culture. Europe, in contrast, is risking stagnating in its digital development due to excessive bureaucracy and red tape.

Blain said: “The evidence shows how the agility Asia is showing when it comes to digital transformation is paying dividends. Take China’s move to becoming a cashless society as an example – by innovating in this way, the country has levelled the playing field from a technological point of view and enabled itself to compete with more established economies in the western world. North America isn’t too far behind Asia in this respect, but European businesses seem to be hampered by bureaucratic processes which will only lead to them falling further behind unless measures are taken to reform organisational structures, create a renewed sense of urgency to change, and embrace greater agility.”

To support this point further, the research also found that Asia is well ahead of the game when it comes to people being prepared to change the way they think and act.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with higher numbers representing a greater enthusiasm for change), Asia scored 6.5 on average, compared with 6.2 in North America and just 5.2 in Europe.

Blain added: “These numbers are a stark indicator of the work that needs to be done in Europe (and North America) to nurture a culture that sees a digitally minded future as the norm, rather than something to be regarded with disinterest, immobility or suspicion. Asia has blazed a trail and it’s important for Europe to follow suit as soon as possible. It’s no longer sufficient to assume that having been around for longer automatically puts you in a favourable position: those organisations that prove to be the most adaptable are the ones that will thrive.”

To help narrow this gap, Blain believes that leaders need to conduct detailed evaluations of their organisational culture, with an emphasis on improving the human touch within digital transformation so that all employees feel they are a part of the journey.

He concluded: “Without a willingness from employees to change the way they think and act, any digital vision is likely to fail. Winning hearts and minds in this area is about being able to connect with employees, communicate a vision effectively, and motivate them to embrace it on a long-term basis. This means not just having a digital vision, but having the strategy to execute it and ensure that this evolution in culture filters down throughout the entire organisation. Asia has shown that this can be done; it’s now up to Europe to make up this lost ground.”

The full findings from the research are summarised in the Transforming Your Company into a Digital-Driven Business report, which can be downloaded here.

 

ENDS

About Performance Works

Performance Works International is focused on developing leaders and managers to be fit and ready for the future.

Managers need new skills to manage in a changing and often remote workplace. They have to mobilise and motivate people, drive positive change and ensure performance at all levels.

Performance Works understands these challenges and helps organisations map their route of change. Through its consulting services and bespoke courses, Performance Works builds new POWER SKILLS across your business and develops both leaders and managers to ready them for the challenges ahead. For more information, visit: https://www.performanceworks.global/

 

Press contact:

Sean Hand / Mary Davoudi
Spreckley
T: +44 (0)20 7388 9988
E: performanceworks@spreckley.co.uk