James Tetley, partner, RSM looks at how can you kickstart practical digital change in your organisation?
As business leaders, we’ve already seen how quickly organisations can fall. Over the past decade, internet streaming services wiped out thousands of Blockbuster video rental stores; the inexorable rise of smartphones upended a once-buoyant camera market; London’s iconic black cabs now struggle to compete with Uber; and apps like TripAdvisor, LinkedIn and Rightmove are increasingly making travel agents, recruitment agents and estate agents obsolete. Looking ahead, this disruption will only accelerate.
It can be a disorientating and daunting task to keep up with the pace of digital change. After all, if companies like Netflix are the ‘gold standard’, how do mere mortals do more than simply aspire, and start out on their journey to become a digital business?
Where do you start?
From traditional challenges associated with IT service delivery through to decisions on how to invest in analytics, cloud and artificial intelligence, middle market organisations seldom have all the skills needed to define and implement an integrated digital/IT strategy.
Ageing IT infrastructure combined with software that was bought when the business was much smaller can act as a real brake on business growth if not addressed through a proper IT strategy.
We explore how business leaders and finance leaders can kickstart practical digital change initiatives with advice on how to create a digital strategy, how to digitise the finance function, and the skills needed to drive digital change on the ground and manage the risks.
The business leader’s role
The business leader has the most critical role to play in an organisation’s digital change agenda.
You must not only understand how technology will disrupt your industry and operations but also set a vision for how you will adapt.
You need to ask yourself – can the business model survive against the new wave of digital competitors, and if so, how?
How can you embed the cultural and behavioural aspects of adopting digital? Agile working practices are easy to understand in principle, but hard to create the type of innovative working practices which form the backbone of successful digital adoption.
The finance leader’s role
The role of the finance leader goes far beyond using your financial acumen to develop the business case for digital change projects.
You are expertly placed to showcase how digital tools can transform the efficiency and productivity of your own department.
Challenge your beliefs about digital change, and the role you should play to make it happen. The finance function is ripe for transformation; the arrival of cloud computing, automation and big data holds big promise for each area of the finance function – how transactions are processed, how business insights are shared and how resources and risks are controlled.
It’s important to remember that a digital strategy doesn’t have to be complicated, nor does it need to take months to put together. The key is to understand what it needs to cover, and the key ingredients for success.
For more on each of these areas, visit: rsmuk.com/ideas-and-insights/make-digital-happen
As part of this year’s Solent 250 campaign, the judging panel are currently meeting with businesses shortlisted for the ‘Leaders in Digitalisation’ award. If you would like to be considered for this category, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org