Executive Q&A:
Orchestrating Digital Transformation

April 27, 2017

In preparation for the 2017 CAMSS UK conference taking place at The Kia Oval on May 8-9, CAMSS World caught up with David Benjamin, SVP & General Manager of EMEA for Box - a speaker at the event - to ask some questions and provide an insight to his session on Orchestrating Digital Transformation.

[CW] What does the term "Digital Transformation" mean to you?

[DB] "Digital Transformation" in its most basic sense can simply mean removing operational inefficiencies and obstacles from within your business by leveraging the right modern IT stack. But a digital transformation that is truly transformative is a change in the way you do business. It's about reimagining your business, your processes, and your culture to deliver a truly modern experience. 

[CW] What challenges do companies face when going through this transformation and who is responsible for leading the charge?

[DB] I think most would ask questions such as; Where do I start? How do I prioritise? Will I have the cultural buy in to ensure that change is adopted? Most importantly, what's my end game? Other considerations may include what to keep on and what to switch off in an attempt to minimise disruption and maximise budget. The question of responsibility is an interesting one. Traditionally IT implementations would have sat with the CIO and IT team, but today IT powers so much of the way individuals, teams and departments work that their buy in is essential to a successful deployment. Also, I would add that in my experience a truly innovative and successful CIO is one that works hand in hand with the business, understanding their needs, bringing on board technology that not only powers the way they work today but the way they will work 5-10 years down the line. 

[CW] Does becoming a digital business increase your competitiveness?

[DB] Yes, of course it does. But we need to define what becoming a digital business really means. Many businesses fall in to the trap of believing that digital simply means another distribution channel, they think: "well I'll just create an app for that." This may indeed gain them a short-term advantage, but in order to recognise true lasting success one must rewrite one's entire business, processes, and operational model to be digitally agile and adaptive. This provides the ability to continuously refine and reinvent the customer engagement model. For example, think about what would happen if Amazon decided to move into the banking business, with all their customer data and analytics, could they disrupt the incumbents; are the incumbents even in a position to put up a fight? 

[CW] What does a successful digital transformation process look like? 

[DB] This really depends on what stage you are at and what you are looking to achieve. Are you looking to reinvent legacy workflows, drive customer satisfaction, increase employee engagement, or deliver a completely digital experience end to end? The speed at which you can move significantly depends on whether or not you are cloud born or encumbered by legacy IT. However, a successful digital transformation of any type keeps the goal at front of mind, the experience you are trying to deliver, and works backwards. I would emphasize that great technology on its own is still just a piece of kit. It’s not a silver bullet. You need all the pieces we discussed above to make a digital transformation successful, stakeholder buy in, cultural adaptation, and clear prioritisation. 

[CW] Your session at CAMSS UK will focus on this topic and how to orchestrate a 'top-down, bottom-up' approach. What do you want people to take away from the discussion?

[DB] My hope would be that I have sparked a re-imagining for what Digital Transformation can really mean for the business. I would ask that anyone embarking upon the journey to digital transformation consider the following: Is my IT strategy focused on making today's business more efficient or setting me up for future growth? Am I using digital as distribution channel for existing products, or am I fundamentally rethinking them?

David Benjamin will be speaking at the 2017 CAMSS UK conference, taking place on 8 – 9 May at the Kia Oval. For information on how to participate, please visit www.camssuk.com

About CAMSS UK 2017: CAMSS UK represents the highest quality, most valuable environment for both IT and Line of Business executives from across the region and designed to provide the optimum environment for senior executives across IT, Security, Governance, Data, Analytics, Digital, Marketing and Customer Experience to gather and share best practices on digital innovation and business strategy. For more information and to register go to www.camssuk.com.