Thriving in a changing Digital World

3 min

“Necessity is the mother of all innovation.” 

This has never been truer than in today’s current global climate. As a result of COVID-19, we’ve been forced to change, having a direct impact on organisations’ ability to serve customers and look after employees. Internally, the way we interact and engage has changed as Zoom and Teams keep us connected. Externally, new B2C and B2B buying behaviours have forced businesses to adapt.

Companies have had to respond and become extremely agile to ensure business continuity and, in some instances, survival. A key part has been figuring out how to operate from home while engaging effectively with both customers and employees. Organisations have been forced to adapt and innovate in ways not anticipated at the start of the year.

Through necessity, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses to re-evaluate and innovate the way they operate. Digital transformation has been thrust centre stage in businesses where previously it had not been considered important. However, for it to drive meaningful improvements for both customers and employees, the digital strategy must be aligned to the organisation’s commercial strategy.

Deloitte defined digital transformation as being:

 “all about becoming a digital enterprise – an organisation that uses technology to continuously evolve all aspects of its business models … digital transformation is how to future-proof a business.” 

Warren Buffet has described digital transformation as a fundamental reality for businesses, and over the last few months, we have accelerated towards this with tremendous pace. In order to thrive, companies must develop and be re-envisioned through a digital-first lens, not just via an e-commerce bolt-on.

Organisations who embrace a more blended approach which reflects and understands their customers new buying patterns will become more relevant and see greater commercial success. In addressing this, I spoke with Digital and Innovation Director, Wassem Haq, who has held senior roles within companies such as Travel Counsellors, PZ Cussons and Reckitt Benckiser. 

Wassem reflected on the current situation by saying: 

“The consumer experience across all demographics is now digital-first so businesses must transform their business model to service a digital customer experience – create online footfall, take retail to the customer, consider aligned partnerships, create richer digital content and then combine this with the right human interaction to add real value.”
By understanding this shift and embedding a successful digital strategy, customer experience and brand perception will become intrinsically linked. Having an effective digital strategy which is integrated throughout the organisation will ensure richer data and more targeted insights, allowing for an improved experience and increased loyalty from customers and employees alike.  

Mr Haq concluded our conversation by stating: 
“The lockdown has highlighted our reliance on technology and our social craving for human to human interaction. Digital Transformation is about ensuring that technology is a business enabler, transforming the customer experience to drive value or transforming the back office to deliver savings - businesses that supercharge these factors will succeed.”
Understanding these changes is one thing, being able to call upon the right skills internally to execute them effectively is another. Organisations are now more than ever assessing whether they have the right digital skills, and those that do not are acting in greater numbers to compete for increasingly sought-after talent.

In an earlier blog about reactivating the workforce Rachel Davis, Joint Managing Director, stated that: 
“businesses have had to shift dramatically towards eCommerce, the responsibility for digital transformation has fallen somewhere between the role of a CIO and a CTO, with neither having the full skillsets required. The appointment of a Chief Digital Officer would provide the necessary transformational skills without dividing responsibility and adding additional pressure across under-qualified business leaders.” 
In turn, this shift is resulting in organisations re-assessing their talent strategies to accommodate these new business-critical roles and to understand where to find the talent, thereby future-proofing their business. 
One thing is clear; the speed at which digital transformation moves is accelerating, and those organisations slow to adapt will get left behind.
At Armstrong Craven, we understand the importance of bringing in the right transformative talent. We help organisations all over the world identify and engage with scarce talent, as well as understand the drives and motivations of that talent better.  We help clients thrive in this changing digital world. Our global team are ready to help you.

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