Hi Gordon, tell us about yourself and your background. How did you get to the Digital Transformation space?
Straight out of University, in themed 80s I moved into the IT space, as it seemed like a great fit for my Math degree, Analytical nature, and problem-solving ability. Starting out as a programmer I quickly advanced into project management and developed a strong reputation and ability to drive change. For the past 15 years I have been driving transformational change organizational, operational, technological and now digital. I have run $150M Programs, led teams of 1000 staff, helped drive cost savings of over $350m, and helped improve performance by 50-500%.
Online commerce was booming in 2020; how did it affect brands’ digital transformation plan? – What should be the main focus for brands this year?
I think 2020 was pivotal for many companies; prior to that traditional brick and mortar businesses could still be successful without an online presence, or with just a limited one both in terms of offering and capability. That all changed in March 2020 the lockdown pretty much drove all consumers online, even those who were technophobes or tech challenges. And where customers go businesses are forced to follow. This caused, a need to rapidly accelerate digital transformation plans or get left behind and lose market share to those who are ahead in the digital game. Just take a look at Amazon’s growth which is at 37%, or $570Billion. The main focus of brands should be to get more competitive in the digital space and develop the delivery capability to back it up, if you can’t match the simplicity and efficiency of the Amazon model then they are going to eat your business for lunch.
In your POV – What is the ultimate checklist for a good digital transformation strategy?
According to CNBC GE, Ford and other major players poured $1.3 trillion into transformation initiatives, 70% of which — or $900 billion —was wasted on failed programs. Among those that didn’t fail outright, only 16% saw improvements in their performance and ability to sustain change over the long haul. The biggest reason for this: failure to effectively communicate their goals, strategy, purpose, and outlook with their employees.
So for me, the ultimate checklist must address these reasons for failure and includes clarity of objectives, clarity of purpose, clarity of strategy on how to achieve these objectives, and a clear communication strategy that ensures everyone understands them and their role.
How much has the role of the CEO changed in the social distancing era – what role digital transformation has in this crisis?
The need for great Leadership is amplified in the current situation – with distanced employees it’s easy for them to become disengaged and disempowered, also the current situation has a lot of people concerned for their futures as well as that of the company. CEOs need to be creating a vision that inspires their people, creates belief for their future, and then work to keep their teams engaged and that they have the tools to be productive. CEOs need to be more visible, more communicative, and provide more feedback and recognition.
Gordon’s checklist for CX strategy
In your POV – What is the ultimate checklist for a good customer experience strategy?
My favorite book on customer experience is Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard and in that he says that great customer service is about meeting the 100% of the customer’s needs 101% of the time – it’s that simple.
What was the biggest lesson you learned in 2020?
The need to be flexible and having the ability to pivot at a moment’s notice. How many business strategies had anything included in them that allowed them to react positively to this. Disruption doesn’t just come from competitors it can come from anywhere. And lastly, some of the things we think of as impossible, e.g. teams working from home 100% of the time, are possible if we just commit to figuring out how.
2020 was the year of webinars and online events, what was your favorite one?
Luminary Learnings a Sri Lanka based learning organization, run by Anton Thaylon, did an amazing series of webinars which I had the pleasure to contribute you, they had some amazing guests and covered an amazing range of topics.
8. It looks like working from home is going to stay with us for the foreseeable future, how should Marketing Executives gear up to the changing times?
Digital Marketing is even more important than it has ever been and building brand equity online is going to crucial as that has now become the high street for all brands now. How to leverage influencer marketing and tap into new markets is going to be key.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
Simple revenue growth – anything else is just meaningless. Just look at companies like Ryanair – one of the most hated brands yet fastest growing most profitable airline. The companies that will excel are those that both meet customer needs and deliver great service, but if you’re revenue is not going up then you’re not meeting the needs.