Academy Xi Blog

Speed is King: Digital transformation 2022

By Academy Xi

Businesses have always been looking for an edge over the competition. In the past, this has meant better marketing, stronger customer service, or finding new and innovative products and services to sell. Today, the most agile companies that can quickly adapt to the latest tech and put digital capability building at the centre of their approach are the ones coming out on top. 

Pre-pandemic, 92% of company leaders surveyed by McKinsey “thought that their business model would not remain viable at the rates of digitisation at that time”. So it is fair to say that the global crisis has attached a rocket to the situation.

By no means a fly-by trend, speedy digital transformation is here to stay. 

In this article we explore key approaches that can help to accelerate the digital capability of your organisation, keeping it relevant and competitive.

  1. Identify existing digital capability, then build
  2. Foster a culture of innovation
  3. Keep customer data & analytics at the core

Identify existing digital capability, then build

Building internal capability to build digital products and apply data-driven insights is a preferred option to outsourcing for many Australian CEOs. This is primarily because those already in-house have an established history with the organisation and a fundamental understanding of its ideology. Having a cultural awareness of the company often trumps an outsider with the desired skills. 

Companies are empowering themselves and their people by investing in in-house capability. When they do this, they are doing two things. 

  • They are working towards closing the digital skills gap. 
  • They are showing their people that they are willing to invest in the future of the individual as well as the company.

PwC’s Talent Trends report, Upskilling: Building Confidence in an uncertain world, revealed that 77% of employees were willing to upskill, yet only 18% of 3000 CEOs surveyed said they’d made significant progress in creating upskilling programs within their organisations since 2019.

The results of those who did implement upskilling programs, reported 30% improvement in productivity and acceleration in digital transformation and a 28% increase in improvement in talent acquisition and retention. 

A strong 41% also reported that their upskilling program was ‘very effective in creating a stronger company culture and improving employee engagement.’ The survey indicated that the more advanced the upskilling program, the more effective it was in addressing their skills gap.

The other perk to building from within is by up and re-skilling your existing teams you’re increasing the likelihood of them staying on and given the stark reality that digital and tech talent is hard to find, this is a wise investment.

Foster a culture of innovation

There’s often talk of adapting new tech to enable a faster version of ‘business as usual’. While improvements to efficiency are logical, it’s also important to be mindful of focusing too much on our comfort zones. The leaders of the pack in digital transformation are sinking as much budget into innovation as they are into how things run on the daily, quite often by leveraging technology.

The momentum created around innovation and change as a result of the global pandemic within some organisations has changed the way they do business. Understandably they want to continue on this trajectory. “Business leaders are saying that they’ve accomplished in 10 days what used to take them 10 months,” says Kate Smaje, a senior partner and global co-leader of McKinsey Digital. “That kind of speed is what’s unleashing a wave of innovation unlike anything we’ve ever seen.”

So, how do you foster this culture within your organisation?

Simon Costello, Co-Founder and CEO of onboarding and fraud-prevention platform, FrankieOne, feels having the right people on your team is imperative and looks to recruiting new graduate talent as a means of introducing more innovation into his business. 

“You need to be innovative in every area of your business – and talent acquisition is no exception.” – Simon Costello, Co-Founder & CEO, FrankieOne

New skills and increased digital confidence can certainly encourage people’s ability to innovate. By offering internal employee training programs for existing members of your teams, you will be providing them with opportunities to develop and experience the benefits across the company.

Keep customer data & analytics at the core

Where speed is king in keeping your company ahead of the digital tech curve, data is the power source to support rapid and quality decision making. Research from McKinsey shows that leading businesses are three times more likely than competitors to say that their data and analytics initiatives have contributed at least 20 percent to earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) from 2016 to 2019.

Fast forward to times of global pandemics, and customer data and analytics is now more powerful than ever.

A solid example of keeping the stats at the core of your strategic planning is from San Francisco based clothing label, Levi Strauss. The pandemic pushed the company to implement initiatives they had planned for the year ahead and further into the future, within a matter of days. Because they had invested in digital tech, including AI and predictive analytics, they were able to quickly change gears to keep up with customers heading online.

Amongst their winning tactics was fulfilling online orders in both fulfilment centres and from within their stores. Pre-pandemic this would’ve taken months to implement, but they managed the shift to meet demand within weeks. 

“The company also provided curbside pick up of orders from close to 80% of their US-based stores (nearly 200 in total).”  – Harmit Singh, Chief Financial Officer, Levi Strauss

What’s possible – inspiration from our clients

At Academy Xi, we recently had the pleasure of working with Phil Hayes St Clair, CEO and Co-Founder of Drop Bio, a digital company focused on improving lifestyles for those with chronic inflammation.

Phil and his company had a market research challenge, requiring them to determine the right personas for a product they wanted to launch. A time bound opportunity, they reached out to Xi as they were aware of the courses we offered in training people to become user experience researchers. The team at Drop Bio thought graduates might want some work and real world experience in customer research. 

“Recruiting is the most difficult part of growing any company…you have to get it right as best you can. In this case it was a really fantastic mash up of timing, good talent, great project and fantastic outcome.

“Through Xi we ended up with two outstanding researchers that essentially did a 10 week piece of work for us. The thing that really surprised me was just how quickly we were able to start that project. The speed the team at Xi moved at was really impressive and matched the speed that we operate at as a fast moving start up. Great tempo alignment that made life a whole lot easier.”  – Phil Hayes St Clair, CEO and Co-Founder, Drop Bio

The wrap up

While the speed of your digital transformation is important, going faster isn’t the entire answer. The companies leading the race are making sound decisions around investing in their people, tech, data and processes, which combined are enabling them to make stronger decisions and have more profitable outcomes.

Be assured that you don’t have to do this alone or have all of the answers in-house.

Need a hand in shaping your workforce for success?

Academy Xi offers an industry tested range of talent and training solutions that help organisations transform their workforce, source exceptional external talent and get priority access to people with exceptional skills working in design, tech, data, business and digital solutions. Get in touch with us today.