Panel: Fear and poor execution holding digital change back

A panel of IT and digital leaders debates the core ingredients required for digital transformation

Being a digital-first business requires learning how to be brave, to move quickly, and to embrace completely new ways of working, a leading chief digital officer claims.

Speaking at Harvey Nash’s annual industry debate, focused this year on digital strategy, culture and structure, Network Ten’s CDO, Rebekah Horne, said Australian organisations have historically held a reputation for “giving things a go”. It’s this attitude that needs to flourish in order to cope with digital disruption and drive the innovative thinking required to remain successful, she said.

“The big challenge is that you have to put a lot of time and effort into taking people on the journey [of digital innovation], and that can be difficult if you are someone who is trying to move the organisation to more agile ways of working - it causes friction,” she told attendees.

“You see quite defensive organisations trying to hold onto the mother ship and rather than being opportunistic, they’re defensive about the things happening to them.”

With so many organisations still delivering quarterly results and market size growth from existing channels and business models, Horne and her fellow panellists agreed the transformation and rapid innovation necessary to become a truly digitised business is hard for most to embrace.

“Too many organisations are desperately holding onto existing business models, rather than looking ahead,” Horne said.

Ask most digitally savvy organisations today for a core structural change they’ve made to improve the way they work and you’re most likely to hear Agile methodology, or iterative product and services thinking, in response. Horne was no different, advocating for a rethink of structural processes internally.

Australia Post executive general manager and CIO, Andrew Walduck, said transitioning to a digital-first world also requires fostering greater creative capacity, not just driving efficiencies. In response to a question on whether technology automation and digitisation would remove some of the need for human intervention in innovation, Walduck was adamant people were more important than ever.

“That’s what innovation is all about: Moving from production efficiency to creative capacity is what enables the ideas that disrupt us and allow us to embrace new ways of working,” he said. “We want them [staff] to create new things and fundamental change.”

According to Walduck, the ideas are often already there; the problem is execution and taking the time to disrupt and challenge internal systems and culture to make change happen.

“The real problem is resource allocation,” continued Adam Rigby, the founder and CEO of Nabo, a social networking platform for local neighbourhoods.

“All too often the old-world business is making ten times as much money as the digital business. So all the resources are in the old business and keep doing that. Yet then someone comes along - a complete outsider – and disrupts it all.”

For Horne, a key ingredient in minimising the fear factor around digital change is articulating a vision for what the future looks like. This also comes down to deciding on which part of the new digital value chain you want to represent, she said.

In the media industry, for instance, there is less value in distribution today and more value in owning and producing content, Horne said.

“You have to now think about how you can redefine the business you’re in. You may never be a billion-dollar business again – you might be a really nice multi-million dollar one but with a better profit margin,” she said.

“This [digital innovation] needs investment, it means risk, and a significant ability to execute quickly,” Horne added. “You almost need to just let go and do stuff because you can’t get there without being brave.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

How can organisations debias their decisions?

​People whose personal details and experiences signal they come from racially diverse backgrounds are less likely than anglo or Caucasian candidates to make it through the first cut in recruitment processes. Even if the organisation says it values diversity.

Dr Karen Morley

Author, commentator

Is your marketing team adapting quickly enough to the COVID-19 crisis?

The impact of coronavirus is far reaching with the true impact on the economy and businesses is unknown. While there are a few categories and brands experiencing growth, for the most part the crisis is wreaking havoc for large and small operators across many sectors including entertainment, tourism, retail, fitness, services and the list goes on.

Teresa Sperti

Founder, Arktic Fox

Why COVID-19 makes it more important than ever to move at the speed of the consumer

There is no doubt the challenges we are facing as businesses, advertisers and audiences with COVID-19 are all unprecedented. But with this comes an opportunity to take stock and re-evaluate current strategies, plans and processes to drive efficiencies and relevance in today's market.

Emma Macey

General manager, SuperNova Media

Great article. Well said!Https://www.virtualtradesho...Virtual conference

Curtis Okeefe

Can virtual events fill the digital conference gap?

Read more

Why these voice assistants are so popular nowadays? Maybe I should get one too? I am really curious.

Jill Kim

Aussie brands jump on voice-interaction bandwagon following Amazon Alexa's local launch

Read more

We encourage you to share your thoughts on your favorite social platform. Digital Marketing Consultant HyderabadDigital Marketing Analyst...

Chaitanya Nandigam

CMO interview: Charting a new customer course at a NFP fintech

Read more

Extremely insightful and well written. Thanks for the great article!

Nicole Brodie Nahum

Why COVID-19 makes it more important than ever to move at the speed of the consumer

Read more

Blockchain is one of the fastest growing technology in today's digital era. Industries like banking and finance are already using blockch...

Aniket Singh

Can blockchain deliver on its big advertising promises?

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in