3 C-suite Members Reveal Tips for Successful Digital Transformation

OPINION / 19th June 2018

Innovation, customer-centric design and business culture are three of the main drivers of successful digital transformation according to KPMG’s latest Executive Exchanges programme report.

Here we’ve selected three C-Suite members from the programme, all pioneers in their sector, who have revealed their thoughts about the key to successful digital transformation:

Rahima Valji, Eurostar’s former Chief Innovation Officer

  • You must see the bigger picture for true transformation to be achieved;
  • Transformation strategy must begin with the C-Suite; which must have the right technical expertise, drive and entrepreneurial spirit to “move the needle” and stay ahead of the disruptor;
  • The challenge will always be showing benefits without having “pure numbers” to hand as evidence of the opportunities;
  • CEOs must play an active part in leading the agenda and bringing new ideas to the board;
  • Transformation affects the whole business and employees should be encouraged to be creative;
  • You should create a culture where it’s okay to strive and to fail;
  • Fear of risk and failure at board level often holds businesses back;
  • Take a portfolio by portfolio approach and use data to progress the right projects for your business.

Martin Griffiths, CEO of Stagecoach Group

  • Pace of change is being driven by disruptors, aggregators and technology at a faster rate than imagined;
  • The future is all about the customer – building relationships and responding to the customer’s needs is really important;
  • Innovation is about finding the right partners in technology, delivery and customer experience;
  • The right external partners can help your business keep pace with change;
  • Meeting customer expectations means responding to opportunities that disruptors bring to the market;
  • You must empower people to innovate – give them the tools, training and opportunity to experiment;
  • Failure is not a bad thing, as long as you learn from it and do the right thing the next time;
  • You always have risks in business; it’s about taking calculated risks.

Will Whitehorn, Founding Shareholder of Purplebricks.com and former President of Virgin Galactic

  • You cannot survive if you do not innovate;
  • Innovation isn’t always new; it can be incremental, however, the business plan that goes with it can change in scale and pace;
  • Research and data are the lifeblood of organisations in this digital age and if you can’t learn to interpret that properly, you will not be an efficient innovator;
  • You cannot wait for trends, you have to seek them out;
  • The Henry Ford truism – that if he had asked customers what they wanted, they would have asked for a faster horse – is right;
  • If you don’t innovate, you may miss providing customers with something they seriously like;
  • Disruptors use innovation to radically alter markets, but disruption only works if you can provide utility to people;
  • A business’ culture is incredibly important, think about the customer as number one, think about places where no one has gone before in terms of business ideas;
  • Have a culture where you help your people put the customer first;
  • It’s important to innovate because someone is going to do for you if you don’t do it yourself.
  • For more in-depth analysis and commentary from other CEOs featured, download KPMG’s Executive Exchanges report here.
Amy Creeden Amy Creeden Senior Marketing Manager Amy Creeden