Posts tagged with Digital Transformation


The rise of the freelancer: stats

Freelancing. Early 19th century in origin, as two words, denoting a mercenary.

In the US, gigging (freelancing) is a well-established phenomenon. An estimated 20–33% of the workforce consists of independent workers (Accenture).

The top 10 skills supplied by UK freelancers (listed below) are pretty much exclusively utilised in the service industries involved with the web and marketing.

Surprisingly, a fifth of UK grads with a first class degree have already freelanced. With flexibility and earning potential, not to mention the lack of a ‘real’ boss, being major attractions for some of the best and brightest, how can you work well with freelancers?

In this post I’m revealing findings from a new report from elance looking at trends in freelancing in the UK.


Why change management must change in the digital economy

Most companies can no longer manage the constant change coming at them. You have the skills to help, but are you willing to step up?

It has been said so much that it has become a cliche, ‘we live in a world of constant and rapid change’.

This is not something new. We have been bombarded with rapid innovation and change since the dawn of the industrial revolution.

In fact, companies are so aware of the changes in the world around us that they have change management processes for dealing with them.

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Why effective user centric design always leads to business transformation

Many companies pay lip service to user centric design, but the harsh truth is that without business transformation, most will fail to satisfy their users.

The web has made life hard for a lot of businesses. There was a time (before the web) when consumers had limited options. If a company gave their customers poor service it was hard to find an alternative.

Even bad mouthing the company to friends and colleagues only had a limited impact.


Four key takeouts from our Digital Transformation Roundtable in New York

20 senior execs from a wide range of industries as diverse as broadcast television, pharmaceutical, publishing and financial services gathered in New York last November as Econsultancy hosted another Digital Transformation roundtable.

Ever since IBM's seminal 2011 study 'From Stretched to Strengthened – Insights from the Global Chief Marketing Officer Study', CMOs have been reporting a concern that they are underprepared for digital - shorthand for changes in consumer behavior, an explosion in the volume of data, the proliferation of channels and device choices and the effects of social media. 

According to a recent Econsultancy study, only 23% of the Fortune 500 could consider themselves to be in any way whatsoever shielded from the effects of digital.

It was suggested that those who might fall into that category are generally companies that dig things out of the ground and process them, but perhaps even they will see soon their industry disrupted by digital technologies. 

Everyone who attended on the day agreed that true Digital Transformation is a heavy lift and there is often a greatly delayed gratification from the process.

Nearly all of the organizations represented at the roundtable had experienced significant disruption to their business models from digital.

The attendees told us afterwards that the most valuable part of the day was hearing from their peers in other businesses, learning what had worked for them, what hadn't and how they had overcome the challenges they faced.

Four keys rose to the top of the discussion...

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10 characteristics of a digitally friendly company

Why is it that some companies embrace and succeed in digital, while others fail?

I am becoming convinced that the failure of a digital strategy often has little to do with the competence of their web team. It is more to do with the culture of the organisation itself.

You can have the best web team in the world who produce the best websites and apps, but if the organisation behind them is not digitally friendly then the results will be disappointing.

So what makes one company digitally friendly and another not? Below I outline my top ten reasons, but I would be keen to hear yours in the comments too.


Three key steps towards a customer-focused digital transformation

Here is a modern day 'the chicken or the egg' scenario. What came first,  a business’s digital capabilities or a customer’s need for digital relevance from businesses?

Does it really matter? What does matter is that businesses must be digitally wired with a consumer-focused mind set in order to succeed in today’s highly competitive landscape.


What every digital leader needs to know about securing board buy-in

Are marketing and digital having a greater influence on coroprate strategy and its execution?

There can be little doubt that digital leaders within organisations are increasingly finding themselves charged with driving organisational transformation, growth and the development of capability, and are spending more time than ever working with the main boards of their businesses.

So what are the main barriers to securing the backing of senior staff for digital investment and initiatives, and what are the best practices for ensuring not only one-off approval but ongoing support from the C-Suite? 

The results of Econsultancy's new research into Securing Board Buy-in reveal both some key challenges but also some smart strategies for success.


How digital has transformed the NBA

The NBA’s 68th glorious season is off to a roaring start and the storylines are coming faster than John Wall in transition.

Will LeBron James and the Miami Heat (the reigning MVP and NBA champions) continue their march to dynasty status? How long will it take for injured stars Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and Kobe Bryant to return to their former powers?

And will anyone get dunked on in a more vicious manner than the way DeAndre Jordan dunked on Brandon Knight? There is plenty of hype around the 2013-14 session, which promises to keep us on the edge of our seats from now until the NBA Finals in June.

However, one of the more subtle headlines is how technology is changing almost every facet of the game.

While basketball is no longer bound to the 13 original rules conceived when Dr James Naismith invented the game in 1891, the digital transformation of the NBA over the last few years has significantly impacted how the game is played, consumed, advertised and much more.

With the aid of social media, online streaming and stats, lets have a look at how digital has changed the NBA experience.

old machine

Legacy technologies still the biggest headache for the C-Suite

Agility, however you want to define it, should help to speed up iteration and therefore increase profit and customer satisfaction.

The working methods agility predicates may also help to increase staff satisfaction.

It can be argued that agility is achieved through innovation:  setting aside some time to focus on ideas that may not be central to the core business. At the moment, I’d argue innovation isn’t particularly widespread, as many organisations’ attitude towards it is ’70:20:that’s not what we pay you for'.

Indeed, the double whammy of the recession and many governments’ subsequent focus on ‘the need for efficiency savings’ has set a tone that makes innovation even riskier.

The fact is though, fortune favours the brave, and in times of economic hardship (darn it, I’ve slipped into bureaucratese), those that spend money adapting to a surfeit of new and relevant technologies may well see success.

But what about all those non-innovating, anti-Eric-Schmidt business leaders? They must be struggling with something. They aren’t wilfully blind. Perhaps legacy technology and the difficulty of extricating an organisation from its knotted innards is what’s holding some business leaders back.

Ahead of our first Digital Transformation Leaders' Conference, I wanted to mull over technology.

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The agile model: a part-art and part-science approach to marketing

As part of a recent digital transformation program, I’ve been looking for a succinct way of describing this new part-art and part-science approach to marketing that is unfolding around us.

The art being the growth of content and social over the ‘old world’ reliance on disruptive distrusted paid media. Science being the increasing automation and personalisation of all aspects of the customer experience.

This search has taken me on an interesting journey with the likes of Kotler’s Marketing 3.0 certainly offering a good read but sadly not the summary I was looking for.

So I decided to have a stab myself, providing a starting point for others to refine and build on.

Since then, Econsultancy rode into town with the brilliant Modern Marketing Manifesto. If this had been released a little earlier I almost certainly wouldn’t have tried to tackle this myself.

However I’m quite glad I did because I think I’ve arrived at a concise and formulaic representation of this manifesto with a couple of twists.

wonga logo

What can high street banks learn from

Is it any wonder that those in need of a loan (and a fast one) turn to Wonga and not a high street bank? 

One is approachable and colourful and isn’t full of boring text or ambiguous wording, and the other is an institution the public has gradually learned to call the enemy. 

Of course, the two aren’t really comparable. The need to turn to Wonga is often caused by desperation (and being desperate is a reality for lots of people post 2008). And Wonga itself is gradually acquiring a reputation as not exactly a pillar of the community, as many are educated about the realities of interest rates. 

However, despite selling different products, Wonga still has lots to teach the high street banks. More and more customers turn to banking websites before their branches, but the bank websites are often dry and difficult to use (albeit with some very nice mobile app alternatives).

So, to demonstrate how the user experience for some banks compares to Wonga, I’m going to look at the recently re-launched ‘people’s bank’, or TSB. And for a fairer comparison, I’ll look at Lloyds Bank, too.

Chiefly I’ll look at the 'approachability' of the homepage and the copy therein, as totems for the service on offer.


Digital transformation: the importance of culture

What is digital transformation? There is a lot of talk at the moment about this process, where an organisation overhauls its capabilities in order to reach digital enlightenment.

This is a large-scale change that typically takes years and cuts across strategies, people, processes and technology.

While there are internal elements to this, such as new social collaboration tools for employees and adopting more agile ways of working, much of the desired transformation relates to customer-facing activities, especially sales, customer service and marketing.

But what do we really mean when we talk about 'digital' anyway? What is a 'digital organisation'? Clearly we have gone beyond using just ‘online’ or ‘internet’ because those words do not adequately encompass mobile or other channels and media that are increasingly digital.

But I think ‘digital’ actually stands for more even than this...