Rethinking Success and Failure in Your Digital Journey

The aim of a digital journey is to deliver better user experiences, improve business processes and productivity across the company.

Technology leaders argue that starting a digital transformation journey, in the current climate, is needed to keep up with consumer expectations. In this debate, the speakers discuss the successes and failures of their business’ digital journey and how technology leaders are implementing change to accelerate these processes.

With Chloe Tilley moderating, the speakers of this roundtable debate include:

  • Leon Gauhman, Chief Product and Strategy Officer, Elsewhen 

  • Jacqui Lipinski, CIO and Director of Digital and Technical Services, Royal College of Art

  • Danny Attias, CDIO, London Business School 

  • Robert Sheesley, CIO, Wrench Group

Successes in the digital journey

Moderator Chloe Tilley asked the speakers to recall the successes in their business’ digital journey so far. 

Before answering her question, the Royal College of Art’s CIO and Director of Digital and Technical Services, Jacqui Lipinksi, stated that roughly 80 percent of digital transformations fail. When it comes to making it successful, Jacqui argued that technology leaders have to deliver business outcomes. 

The one thing that makes a difference to the business, she believes, is not the technical aspect. “It’s about how you change the organisation to provide a service”, she explained.

In an example, Jacqui stated that they have changed the product offering at the RCA, including their masters program which has run over by up to two years. She described this as a “massive transformation”. Jacqui reiterated that to produce a successful transformation, every part of the organisation should get involved. When talking about transformation, she focuses on the business change. 

It’s about “every part of the organisation understanding what you’re trying to achieve and all being driven the same way to timelines.”

Currently the CDIO at London Business School, Danny Attias talked about his digital journey successes in his previous role at the charity, Anthony Nolan. 

“We had a couple of really great wins”, he said—one success being digital customer-facing and the other more business-internal. When the pandemic hit, Danny stated it changed the way the business worked. 

“The stem cell register relies on people joining the register and being prepared to donate their stem cells for someone in need of a life-saving transplant”, he said. Unsure of whether the income would stop coming in, they knew they needed to make a change. In less than a week, they managed to complete what would have been a six-month transformation two years ago in less than a week. “The organisation just wouldn’t have entertained the idea of making changes to core business processes so quickly”, Danny said.

Missed opportunities in the digital journey

The speakers were asked what they thought the most likely reason was for missed opportunities or failures within their organisations.

When it comes to missed opportunities, CIO of Wrench Group, Robert Sheesley, focused on the people component. He also highlighted the “The lack of attention given to organisational change management”. 

Discussing the psychology of change, he argued that people don’t like sudden changes in systems and routines until they can see and acknowledge the results. Robert also pointed out that: “We’ve tried to do too much in our delivery of technology to the business community”. He advised technology leaders to lead the business community through the transformation and digital journey step by step. “Wrap it around the new introduction of systems and technology”, he said. 

This idea resonated with Chief Product and Strategy Officer at Elsewhen, Leon Gauhman. He honed in on two main points around focusing on the user and the culture made. 

“Culture for me is a commitment”, he argued. 

This means allowing the organisation to “go for it” and stand for what needs to be done for the organisation’s digital journey. He outlined that what needs to be done is to move the focus away from the technology process and focus on the customer and internal user. Solving their problems and giving them tools they love using, he argued, is key. 

On top of this, Leon stated that everything else needs to be aligned. “It’s a very difficult transition to say the customer comes first. I think that’s a super important area to focus on”, he said.

Watch the roundtable above to see the full discussion for ‘Rethinking Success and Failure in Your Digital Journey’.