Digital Transformation – It’s about the people

this-job-isIt’s not about search, social or structure… it’s about the people – all the people, the human beings that need to transform and be transformed.

I really enjoyed reading Altimeter’s latest research on digital transformation because in the simplest of terms it didn’t talk about technology and tools, but focussed on the people; the two groups of people that really count in any business, the employees and the consumers.

I’m onto my third (official) digital transformation and these are the things that really ring true. In 2009 we merged JWT and RMG Connect into a single entity, then in 2011 across the Middle East we repositioned Leo Burnett and Arc Worldwide and acquired Flip Media. Now at McDonald’s we are embarking on a global project to bring digital to the organisation. All of these transformations have shown that no PowerPoint or consultant can make a change happen without a real understanding of the people dynamics, inside and outside the organisation, and a strong communications, education and corporate politics plan to ensure success.

The report looks at two critical pieces relating to these ‘people’:

1: Customers

Customers are ahead of the game in digital, regardless of whether they are early adopters or not, they have a digital life and multiple connected devices that are exploding even as we read this post. We need to understand their life, their journey, how it is connected and activated and how this can allow a brand/business to connect with them differently. We have multiple pieces of research that look at consumers, that analyse their media consumption or their usage and attitudes, but we don’t have a firm grasp of the digital customer experience, about the digital journey and how this has suddenly become a core component of their lives. By getting a firm grasp on the Digital Customer Experience (DCX) we can focus on the key moments of truth.

2: Employees

Inside the organisation there is another challenge around digital transformation – people don’t really want to change or do things differently. Where I came from at Facebook, and where I am now at McDonald’s are the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of internal digital culture. Shifting org charts vs a structure that hasn’t changed for years, dynamic pivots and changes in products vs incremental evolutions in the product offering, and finally young gen-x digital natives vs a mature organisation. The report talks about the catalysts and inhibitors to organisational change, the key components from leadership to visionaries. Bringing everyone on board is the single most important factor to driving success – without this, there is little or no chance to really re-invent the business in the digital era.

The latest Altimeter report on Digital Transformation, written by Brian Solis (@BrianSolis).


Download the full report here.


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By Lex Bradshaw-Zanger

A digital native and integrated brand marketer with a passion for marketing-communications and product design, Lex has a truly international outlook and experience, having worked both in major marketing agencies and client-side brands across Europe, the US and the Middle East.

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