Digital Transformations: Seeing Beyond Change

Digital transformation has been one of the most hyped business strategies of the decade. Watch these CIOs discuss what it actually means.

In Digital Transformation: Seeing Beyond Change, technology leaders ask themselves and each other how even the process of transformation has transformed over time. When most competitive organisations have completed some form of change program, be it with their services, their products, platforms or way of working, the chance to reflect on what has changed for the better, and what has changed for the sake of changes, should be grasped.

With Peter Stojanovic moderating, the speakers of the roundtable debate include:

  • Simone Vernacchia, Digital & Technology Consulting Senior Equity Partner, PwC
  • Belinda Finch, CIO, Three
  • Julie Pierce, Director Openness, Data, Digital, Science, Wales, Food Standards Agency
  • Conor Whelan, CIO & COO, Experian


Digital transformation lessons

“Keep a digital transformation simple,” said Conor. “You need to break deliverables down into bitesize outcomes, and for each outcome list the benefits you're trying to achieve, whether that be financial, product-orientated in terms of speed to market, and make sure those outcomes are agreed alongside its success metrics.”

Transparency is also key, he and Belinda agreed. It allows for all team members to understand where in the process a change program is, who’s involved and what’s next—even if the program is falling below expectations. 

“We use an internal value model at Experian so that measurement can be accurately reported to the business,” continued Conor.

The Food Standards Agency, reported Julie, is seeing change across two fronts. The first is an internal digital transformation —which is normally enough for a business—whilst the second is a complete realignment of the food sector in the UK and its global supply chain and operations. Going into detail later on in the roundtable, Julie begins by highlighting the need for two keystone elements to a transformation, co-creation and speed.

“Even further than collaboration, I would say co-creation is vital,” said Julie. “Having different teams co-create these new products or services brings in a sense of ownership which is so powerful. 

“The other thing we try and do whenever we can is move as fast as we can. We make sure we have just enough information to start the process of creation.”


Comparisons and contrasts

“We of course have been involved in massive transformations,” said Simone. 

He agreed with the points raised about the indications of a sound digital transformation, but reflected on his clients’ change programs and what the common thread between successful examples. He said that even though communication is key, a recognition that everyone reads and translates information differently can have a marked change on the speed at which people can agree on the next steps.

“Make sure people are receiving information in a format they can understand,” continued Simone. “Stakeholders have different backgrounds and it’s your role to make sure they’re applicable. 

“Also, conflict management is a consideration. In a large transformation conflict is inevitable, but there is a way to manage this in a productive way; engage everyone and respect that even though human beings are naturally against change, change champions can go a long way in promoting a project. 

“Change is an art and champions inside the organisation can support that proposition.”

For Three, Belinda knows much about the value of these change champions mentioned by Simone within a digital transformation. 

“We have created a business transformation team for the group,” she said. “They are the change advocates and run the program, they make the decisions, the communications and they’re the ones that understand the program inside and out. 

“It’s about having the energy that the change champions provide, building and showing the end state so the rest of the business has a clearer picture of what a transformation means for them.”

The technology leaders continued to further delve into the strategies that helped them build trust in their digital transformation projects. They then considered the rest of the technology suite, the CISO, CTO and data leaders, and how their relationship with these teams have changed their own approach and job specification. The debate then rounded off as they compared and contrasted the biggest competitive differentiators for transformations; as stated, every competitive business has transformed in some way. By definition therefore, they may now not have the edge they once did, so what should leaders consider next?

This roundtable was sponsored by Tanium.

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