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ISDIgital Business Podcast

Episode 2: First Steps, Right Steps

Lunes, 3 Junio, 2019

radio micrófono

ISDI PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

In this episode, we’ll be speaking to five global business experts on digital transformation.

We’ll be looking at problems that real companies have faced, how and why these challenges present themselves, and in which parts of business we should focus on most urgently in order to ensure the company's digital transformation begins smoothly.

Our experts are all teachers on ISDI’s Global Executive Master in Digital Business. They are:

  • Jason Stokes - CEO at Eastside Co, eCommerce specialists, based in Birmingham in the UK
  • Stacey Bevan - Stacey is a mobile strategy expert, and Head of Media @ Mr Green in the UK
  • Pablo Penny - Pablo is an app growth specialist, Managing Director at Phiture, Berlin
  • Moritz Daan - Co-founder Phiture in Berlin and author of the Advanced ASO Book
  • Cathy McCabe - Cathy is an online retail expert, CEO at Proximity Insight based in London


Audioscript

Hello, and welcome to the ISDIgital Podcast, from ISDI

I’m Ian McMurray, International Content Specialist at ISDI

In this episode, I’ll be speaking to five global business experts on digital transformation.

We’ll be looking at problems that real companies have faced, how and why these challenges present themselves, and in which parts of business we should focus on most urgently in order to ensure the company's digital transformation begins smoothly.

Our experts are all teachers on ISDI’s Global Executive Master in Digital Business.

They are:

Jason Stokes - CEO at Eastside Co, eCommerce specialists, based in Birmingham in the UK.

Stacey Bevan - Stacey is a mobile strategy expert, and Head of Media @ Mr Green in the UK

Pablo Penny - Pablo is an app growth specialist, Managing Director at Phiture, Berlin

Moritz Daan - Co-founder Phiture in Berlin and author of the Advanced ASO Book

Cathy McCabe - Cathy is an online retail expert, CEO at Proximity Insight based in London

Q1

Digital transformation is far from being a straightforward process. Given the sheer number and size of changes that need to be made on all levels of the business, there will always be stumbling blocks. Maybe there’s a lack of focus in the right areas, or mistakes in the type of investments being made, whether that’s financial or in terms of strategy and support.

I asked our experts,

What are the biggest mistakes you see businesses make in their efforts to digitalize?

Jason Stokes

What are the biggest mistakes you see businesses make in their efforts to digitalize?

It's an interesting question. I think that there's, kind of, a number of areas we see businesses, kind of, you know, making mistakes or not taking the right approach. This generally means, kind of, rushing into things, thinking that they need to go digital as quickly as possible without fully understanding their marketplace and what would be right for them. A lot of this comes down to how they kind of interact with their customers how they engage with their customer base and, you know, what's right for somebody, for another person's brand, is not necessary just right for them. So kind of copying what the Joneses are doing might not be the best approach for kind of every business out there. And it's, you know, for us part of the piece that we always engage with is that discovery piece, you know, understanding the marketplace, understanding who their customers are and where their customers are going to be.

Stacey Bevan

What are the biggest mistakes you see businesses make in their efforts to digitalize?

So there's two mistakes that I think companies make. One is not really getting the understanding of their customers, not understanding their behavior, their needs, their wants and their customer journey so not adopting a customer-centric approach. The second thing I'd probably say is not strategizing. So, not creating a strategy and understanding the business objectives before they actually start doing digital, which can lead to a lot of them wasting a lot of money, a lot of time and a lot of effort. So yeah those are probably the two biggest things that I feel companies are making mistakes with.

Pablo Penny

What are the biggest mistakes you see businesses make in their efforts to digitalize?

Well, when it comes to apps, one of the big mistakes that I personally see is not a clear focus on customer experience. So you might have, you know, a website. You might come from that space or from different spaces, but just decide to develop an app. But there's no clear focus on, you know, what do you actually want to achieve with that app? And also especially things like monetization. Like, how are you actually going to monetize that app. That's actually also a pretty important topic, and that's often left out for later so basically focusing on that is really important. And also having it clear; growth strategy.

When it comes, I'm talking about apps because that's my field of interest, that's my topic area. So there's some common things that I see, and then there's a lot of other things like tech choices -  implementing the right tools to measure effectiveness of your actions that's all often left to later and if you do these things at the beginning then it often makes things a lot easier, to actually be successful with an app if you decide to develop one.

Moritz Daan

What are the biggest mistakes you see businesses make in their efforts to digitalize?

So I think when it comes to making that digital transformation, I think a lot of companies are putting out pretty mediocre products. I think that the lack of innovation is definitely one of the the big bigger points that I see are bigger mistakes with those companies. I feel that the lack of talent is probably part of the reason why that actually happens. It's harder for enterprise to attract top talents to create that bridge to basically going digital or actually being digital because going digital is actually not really entirely cutting it, right? You need to be digital in this day and age and I think that that is where the biggest mistakes are being made.

Cathy McCabe

What are the biggest mistakes you see businesses make in their efforts to digitalize?

I think typically some of the biggest mistakes are around inertia, so like kind of not doing anything and procrastinating too long over decision making. It's almost like sometimes there's a need to do everything at once and it's really distilling that into very clear goals.

Q2

Of course, beginning the digital transformation of a company can bring many challenges at all levels of the organization. We have to expect some bumps in the road and wrong turns to be able to fail quickly and apply learnings across implementing changes in strategy, technology, indeed in all areas. So, let’s take a look at what other companies have stumbled over, in an effort to avoid making the same mistakes.

I asked our experts

What are the most common pain points companies experience in shifting their business model to digital?

Pablo Penny

What are the most common pain points companies experience in shifting their business model to digital?

Well, first of all, definitely resistance to change in the company. I think it's quite common to have that. If you want to really be successful in digital you need buy-in from all different organizational layers, from marketing, from sales and also from other units in the organization, too. Everybody needs to really be bought in and see the value, Especially if you're developing an app. You know, what value will that actually bring? And then that ties into how you can actually be successful. Then there is also legacy tech. It is actually quite a big topic. The problem is that some companies, well actually often bigger companies have a lot of legacy tech built up over the years - big software systems and so on. And to be successful in mobile you need to be pretty agile and actually be able to tap into new APIs - to integrate different types of software and platforms, to actually stay agile and be successful. You can't do everything yourself so something that I see is that, you know, that in focus of trying to do a lot of things yourself. Building yourself is actually not a big advantage when there's companies solely focusing on analytics and that's their core expertise. And they have a huge team built around that then you should go out then actually look like who does this best and what do I actually want to choose and implement for my app? for instance.

Cathy McCabe

What are the most common pain points companies experience in shifting their business model to digital?

Typically it's around, again, it comes back to technical capability a lot of the time. There's a lot of legacy solutions that need replacing, and it's almost like having to do everything at once and it's really focusing on what the clear vision of the goals are - of what they want to achieve, and I think that's the best starting point and that's what needs to be done in order to move things forward at pace.

Stacey Bevan

What are the most common pain points companies experience in shifting their business model to digital?

I would say probably the culture and the mindset of staff members. Sometimes, you know, when you go into a company that's kind of used to a traditional approach. I'm probably thinking more specifically the financial services sector and within that sector what I've actually identified is some of the people within the company are still kind of, oh no digital doesn't work, or, you know, paid search doesn't work and, you know, their mindset isn't really ready to embrace the world of digital. So I'd probably say that is one of the things that companies should focus on in terms of transforming their staff members to understand - look, this is the way that we should be moving forward.

Jason Stokes

What are the most common pain points companies experience in shifting their business model to digital?

I think part of the difficulty is retraining, or kind of making sure that you've got the appropriate skill set internally. To be able to kind of execute well. A lot of companies lean on agencies such as ourselves to start that process and do some of the heavy lifting, and we then try and go through a kind of a transformation piece, where we empower the internal staff to be able to kind of conduct the heavy lifting with us acting more as a kind of strategy element to their business. So yeah, you know some of the difficulties I think a lie around, you know, making sure they've got the appropriate talent to be able to continue executing rather than having to rely constantly on third party solutions or third party companies.

Moritz Daan

What are the most common pain points companies experience in shifting their business model to digital?

I think the most common pain points that I see is the adoption of new tech within the company. There's always a kind of resistance, a little bit, cultural resistance to change logically, and it can be frightening, and it can be also adding over it. So I think there are stairs, like in initial leaders that adoption is that adoption phase of a new tech and new and going or being digital is actually the hardest part of basically their digitalization.

Q3

Steve Jobs said that Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower. It’s what drives a business to make the changes seen as necessary to succeed, perhaps in terms of the infrastructure of the company, the technology being employed or even a completely new vision of how business should be done. But innovation is sometimes hard to come by when we’re constantly dealing with the day to day.

I asked our experts

In what areas do you think business leaders currently lack innovation?

Moritz Daan

In what areas do you think business leaders currently lack innovation? (2:30)

So I mean I'm coming from a mobile perspective and having a mobile growth consultancy so I think that's the angle I go in with. I see that there’s actually quite a lot of innovation, even in the enterprise. But where I do see a little bit of lack is actually going one step further and like looking at the next technology: AI, VR. I think that still it can be a bit daunting for business leaders to think about those topics I think. There's a bit of a lack of bravery also to make that next step. I think people are pretty good at innovating now and nowadays in mobile, making really cool cool stuff with mobile. But yeah, the next type of technology or the next break is already looming, and I think making that next step, this is where where I see a bit of lack of innovation.

Pablo Penny

In what areas do you think business leaders currently lack innovation? (6:35)

So, I wouldn't say that there's any particular areas of something. I think that there is a lack of, one of the things I think which is underutilized is consumer data, especially by companies that that have existed for quite a while, they actually, there is a, you know, focus, an increasing focus on getting data scientists into teams are. So, but really seeing the value in data and analyzing it properly and driving strategic business decisions by, yeah by really using that data properly. That's something where there can be still massive room for improvement companies and yeah, data-driven companies are the ones that are most successful and you look at these all these big tech companies like Facebook, Google and so on they're all super data-driven they know how to work with data. Amazon has like teams of hundreds of data scientists just working on building the next product, so that's a big advantage. Often there's a lot of data but actually storing that correctly and analyzing that correctly is really key to being successful.

Yeah, I've already mentioned monetization, that's also something I really see as difficult if you don't come if you're not mobile first. Mobile first - the companies that are, you know, their first product that they developed as a mobile product so for them all of this comes naturally. But actually developing your existing product into something that you can monetize on mobile is pretty hard.

Stacey Bevan

In what areas do you think business leaders currently lack innovation? (3:50)

I would probably say it's not that they lack innovation. It's probably the knowledge of what's available to them. We're in such a fast-paced industry. There's so much going on. There's so much available from an innovation perspective that, you know, some companies get lost and they don't really know, okay, this would benefit my company in this way... we could develop this. They don't really understand what's available. So I suppose, yes, it's more not a lack of not wanting to innovate it's just knowing what's available.

Cathy McCabe

In what areas do you think business leaders currently lack innovation?

I think technology is a big area that people are afraid of because it feels such a big shift in terms of changing legacy systems and lack of knowledge perhaps as to how to do that strategically. I think it's a bit, you know, everyone needs to know the numbers of the business but also people need to know the basics of how technology can enable and shift a business model completely. It's really important to try and embrace how digital can help a business to change its focus, even around changing hearts and minds as much as, you know, ways of working processes. In today's age it kind of touches everything we do. This technology is really enabling every in every way, shape, and form.

Jason Stokes

In what areas do you think business leaders currently lack innovation?

I think there are certain circumstances that we've come across where kind of business leaders and kind of market leaders have been left behind a little bit, and it comes down to being able to kind of execute really quickly. Being able to kind of fail fast in a sense and learn quickly. We have a lot of agencies or companies out there that we work with that go direct to consumer kind of within a matter of weeks, and other companies out there that we've worked with spend six months over in the shade of purple that should be on the logo or should be on the font. And it's the brands that manage to kind of test and to just run with an idea and to kind of have fun what's doing it are the ones that could have tend to get the best results.

We see brands that are moving quickly that are picking up kind of technology that enables them to move quickly be kind of as innovators. You know, they're picking up new mediums to engage with their customer base, whether that's kind of social media with Snapchat, Instagram, you know, Facebook advertising and segmentation. And you have a whole host of other businesses that have gone digital, that went digital a while ago, that has got a website but haven't fully embraced kind of the immersive experience of kind of digital and social and how to go direct-to-consumer effectively. So in other words, I feel that whilst businesses in a way, in a sense, have gone part digital, they haven't kind of taken the bull by the horns with the innovations that are available to them. Making sure they're offering as much of an immersive experience for their customer as possible. If you look at AR as an example, augmented reality, you've got technologies out there now that you can load augmented reality examples within your browser, but there's very few companies actually engaging in this kind of medium in order to be able to offer the kind of best-in-class experience for their customers.

Q4

Taking care to avoid making mistakes that others have already made is clearly a wise starting position, as is knowing what others have found most difficult in the process of digital transformation. We’ve also seen that innovation needs to be both encouraged and supported across several fields and at all levels of the organisation. That said, it’s not always clear just where to start the process, where to first focus energy for the best results.

I asked our experts

What one area would you recommend business address most urgently to aid their digital transformation?

Cathy McCabe

What one area would you recommend business address most urgently to aid their digital transformation?

if I had to pick a single area it would need to be Customer. I think there's a huge need to be customer focused as opposed to transactionally focused. Customer - putting the customer at the heart of the business is extremely important. And really kind of understanding data - understanding who the customer is, how they're purchasing, when they're purchasing, whether they're a profitable customer or a non-profitable customer. All of those points I would say are really key, and it's really hard I think for businesses to focus on that and requires a big shift so that they're even you know, their daily reporting is really focused on how many new customers have we got? What's our churn, etc..

Stacey Bevan

What one area would you recommend business address most urgently to aid their digital transformation?

Without a doubt, having that real understanding of their customers. That can be lost with a lot of organizations and they fail to adopt that customer-centric approach, and you really need to understand your customers because your whole strategy, understanding where your customers are, what they're doing, their interests, their behaviors, their journey from the path to purchase. You know, it's really, really important. So that's one area that I would say, you know, don't lose sight of. It's easy to be within an organization and, you know, kind of lose sight of the customer. And, you know, that the behavior changes so much. The purchase patterns changed so much so yeah, it's one of the areas that's really important.

Pablo Penny

What one area would you recommend business address most urgently to aid their digital transformation?

Well, because I'm from mobile I'm gonna say having an app that supports your existing business will show your consumers, your users, that you care, that you're actually on the ball, that you're innovative but also that can make your products more accessible to users. Remember that over 50% of users are now on mobile not on desktop anymore they're not sitting at their PCs not even at their laptops but they're actually on tablets and phones so developing that product to stay in the market, to be successful, is really important yeah but also to build a team that can actually drive that forward so they're not just building an app. And that's it but having a growth team, an experienced growth team with experts in there who know how to grow an app, with the acquisition of experts - engagement and retention experts - who know how to get people back into the app to use it. It's a very complex topic. There's a lot of tech involved so basically having a team that drives that forward, makes that app successful is pretty important.

Moritz Daan

What one area would you recommend business address most urgently to aid their digital transformation?

I think the low-hanging fruits are still not really being harvested. I think like the low-hanging fruit at this point is still going mobile and being mobile and actually also enabling the workforce to be mobile, and to basically take their work with them and increase efficiencies. I think there's that's the low-hanging fruit so that's where basically businesses should invest now. But they should already be thinking of course about the bigger picture, and how to even go one step further making even the mobile devices, for example, making them almost not necessary anymore to do work, but actually implementing AI technology, to actually enabling efficiencies I think, throughout the process.

Outro

We hope you’ve enjoyed listening to the ISDIgital podcast from ISDI

This episode was presented and produced by Ian McMurray

Please subscribe to listen to our upcoming episodes

To learn more about this and other digital topics, and for more information on ISDI’s Global Executive Master in Digital Business and other programs, visit ISDI.education. Thats, I.S.D.I dot education

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