Digital transformation is about more than new technology

Marketers at Argos, Microsoft and Citi Bank have their say on why brands need more than technology when undergoing a digital transformation.

Shot of a group of coworkers in a boardroom meeting

Marketers at Argos, Microsoft and Citi Bank have urged brands to acknowledge that people now work for purpose, not just money, which they will need to recognise if they want to undergo a successful digital transformation.

Speaking at The Global Academy of Digital Marketing’s Digital Transformation event yesterday (24 November), Roman Rock, product owner at Argos said having been part of two digital transformations – one at BT and EE, which involved three transformations within 18 months, and another at Argos – he found that cultural change and process was crucial.

He described the digital transformation at EE as “done well” but admitted there are still areas for improvement at Argos and a need for more “honest conversations”.

“Argos invested a quarter of a billion to transform but hasn’t done anything to change its culture and practice,” he said. “It has new technology but unfortunately it has the same problems”.

He believes this is a problem many businesses experience when undergoing a digital transformation – “they change their technology rather than make a real cultural change”.

Focus on purpose

Also talking at the event, Steven Woodgate, surface and HoloLens CMO UK at Microsoft, agreed there is more to a digital transformation than technology, and that purpose is playing an increasingly important role.

“There is a new wave of people coming in that will never earn as much as their parents. These people are working for purpose rather than money, so brand purpose it crucial,” he said.

Woodgate said 65% of the roles that today’s students will go into don’t exist yet, and that in order to deal with this, today’s marketers need to be hiring people with a wide range of skills rather than those that are experts in one industry.

READ MORE: Do marketing experts need a qualification in marketing?

Despite these jobs not yet existing, Woodgate believes the “future is quite predictable and there has never been a better time to add value”. He said potential future jobs could include a virtual habitat designer, space tour guide, Internet of Things data creative or a freelance bio-tracker, all things he reckons businesses can start preparing for.

Similarly, Citibank’s global head of digital marketing Simon Kingsnorth, said companies need to hire people not for their experience, as this can be taught, but for them as a person.

He also said that when dealing with employees marketers must understand that technology is nothing more than a facilitator.

“It is not about the technology, that is just the enabler. You can’t launch social media without a process put in place. You need the customer service and website process [to be perfected first],” Kingsnorth said.

“We have to ask, how do humans work? How do we understand technology? And how do we make that fit into how we work as humans?”

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