Top 5 thoughts on digital transformation from the CMO Summit

Last week we attended the Chief Marketing Officer summit in the beautiful seaside town of St Andrew’s. We caught up with some of the leading names in our industry and took away some great learnings and insights.

Digital transformation was high on everyone’s agenda.

After listening carefully to discussions in the breakout sessions and the points made in the keynote address, here’s our top five take-outs on what makes digital transformation one of the hardest agendas to deliver:

1. The greatest misconception about digital transformation is that it’s about digital.
Digital is only one aspect of digital transformation. It’s also about culture, people, training, process, structure and systems. It’s too easy to default to it being about a change to the website and digital channels - everything else needs to change too.  

2. Fear of getting started is holding businesses back.
It’s easy to see why the thought of wide spread change is intimidating and, at times, overwhelming. It takes bravery to embark on a Digital Transformation mission! But if you put off those first steps, you could be costing your business its future. Better to get started and fail fast than to never get started at all. 

3. Anticipating your market and how it might react to change is tougher than ever.
With breakneck changes in technology and connected customers speeding up the lifespan of trends, it’s getting harder to keep up let alone predict what’s coming next and how it might affect your customers’ expectations and behaviour.

4. You need organisational “change freeze” to get serious about transformation.
It’s a tough ask to transform when you have a “real job” to do. Business structures and success measures need to flex and have space for innovation and change while delivering business as usual. In short, business models need to be reinvented. Netflix started as a DVD rental service, but over the years they’ve stayed flexible and evolved with their industry. If they’d stuck to their original business model, they’d have gone the way of Blockbuster years ago.

5. There is no perfect “end state” for digital transformation.
There is no real “go live”. No point where you can say, “That’s us. We’ve transformed”. It has to be a continual process for change and further change. Reframe your thinking on what your milestones need to look like. Look at how the project should be managed to keep it forever baked into your organisation’s agenda.