Digital Transformation… so where are we?

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Catherine Howe 7th September 2017 3 minute read

Digital Transformation… so where are we?

Dr Catherine Howe, Capita’s Digital Innovation Director, looks at some of the issues that could – and should – be running round an organisation’s collective mind as it considers a Digital Transformation. Get the full story and more in our September 2017 edition of Intelligence.

Right now we’re at a really interesting point with Digital Transformation where we’re into at least a second wave.

This means there’s an intriguing mix between people who’ve had a crack at it and are now trying to get value from the investments they made a little while ago, as well as people trying to move forward and bring together new areas of technology – like automation – to go deeper into the digital agenda. That second wave is as much a shift in mindset and culture as it is anything else.

Unfortunately, from a leadership perspective, this just adds more complexity. It can feel like you’re being overwhelmed by wave after wave of technology when what you really need is help understanding how this can reshape your business.

I’d say the smart leadership thinking about Digital Transformation right now comes in two parts. First, how are you using these new technologies to create a commercial model that’s right for the 21st century; second, how are you actually transforming the ways you work, not just the technologies you use?

I have a theory that the word digital is broken. We’re at the point where we slap it on the front of everything. Unfortunately I think the word transformation is broken too! It’s because we’re moving into a time when the successful businesses are the ones constantly transforming, and there are no points of rest. It’s a process of continual evolution and forward momentum. That can be difficult for businesses to get to grips with. To go from a cycle where projects finish, to one where you are building services that are always on, is quite a big departure.

A really good transformation partner is someone who can help you reshape your business so it’s available and able to change – but none of that is possible without the right leadership skills. In the digital space, leadership is really about being able to referee a debate between a bunch of technologists, all of whom will tell you that they understand digital better than anyone else! That’s really the point of the Capita masterclass sessions we do, to help people who aren’t necessarily technologists get their heads round that agenda and reach a point where they feel confident about implementing a digital transformation.

There are lots of people out there who have transformation strategies, but haven’t been able to get value from them or bring them to life. I think that where Capita adds value is around bridging the gap between strategy and delivery – we are very practical souls at Capita! We are definitive rollers-up-of-the-sleeve. That’s a strength, because the thing with digital is you’ve just got to get on with it and get started. You can’t just sit there polishing your grand plan. We’ve got depth in our bench across every subject area, not to mention people who’ve already made it happen in at least three different places, and have got the scars to prove it!

The full article from Catherine can be found in the September 2017 edition of Intelligence, alongside additional insight from further Digital Transformation experts. Find this edition, as well as the rest of our archive, on our Intelligence report hub.

As part of our series of Innovation Breakfasts, Catherine will be running a Digital Transformation Masterclass later in September. The breakfasts, organised by Capita Customer Management, explore a range of subjects that impact on customer service and the customer experience. It’s a chance for our clients to meet experts from within and outside Capita, hear their views, and pose questions during a round table session at the end. Attendance is by invitation only.


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