By - November 5th, 2020

Digital transformation is not about a revolution of work but an evolution due to new technology being available.

By guest contributor, Nicolas Babin.

As I will be hosting two panels at Reuters Events: Strategic Marketing USA on November 5 and 6, let’s start looking at one of the panels. It will start with Tim Rickards, Marketing Director, Acquisition & Engagement at Charles Schwab. The subject will be about Digital Transformation: How Can We Keep Track, Adapt and Thrive? I would like to share with you some thoughts about this subject that a lot of companies find hard to tackle. I will also share my advice on how to grasp the challenges and make it a success for all. After the event, we can discuss the points brought up by the four guests: Jasmine Kim, Chief Marketing Officer Sutter Health, Ira Rubenstein Chief Digital and Marketing Officer PBS, Connie Birdsall Senior Partner and Global Creative Director Lippincott and Tim Rickards, Marketing Director, Acquisition & Engagement Charles Schwab.

A New World

In this new confined world, everyone and everything has to change. As individuals. we have to learn to shop differently, live separately, but still be collaborative and helpful to our neighbors, eat differently, entertain differently, work out differently and work differently. For companies it is the same. They have to operate in a different way. The main responsibility of a company is to provide safety for its employees. As such, they have to allow employees to either come to work but ensure they respect all the safety rules (wash their hands regularly, respect social distance with co-workers in all situations…) or they allow working from home. In this latter example, companies need to provide new rules to ensure employees are still efficient in their work. In some countries working from home culturally has a negative connotation. Employers feel that employees would take advantage of the situation and relax rather than work. Very often, in a digital transformation project I explain that for some professions, working from home could be more beneficial and more efficient. Once even a CEO of a large company in France told me that with him at the helm of the company, nobody would ever work from home and use this as paid vacation.  I bet he regrets his own words right now. As I have mentioned in the past digital transformation is all about managing change. First for human resources and then for tools. You actually solve traditional problems with the use of new technology. Digital transformation is not about a revolution of work but an evolution due to new technology being available. Let’s have a look at what needs to change and why Covid 19 will help all of us to change faster.

Adapt or Fail

With today’s pandemic situation, over a third of the world population is confined to ensure this virus is eradicated. We see already that many people have lost their jobs, many companies have stopped operating and companies still alive are companies that have adapted fast. How many examples of shops, services and large companies have we seen transforming their way of transforming their business, changing their customer journey and experience and changing their approach to business. In my small town in South West France, even my local cheese shop (a very important element of my French culture) has started to deliver food when even a month ago it was not even on the card. I very often give the example of the Dodo. As read on Wikipedia, the dodo (Raphus cucullatus) is an extinct flightless bird that was endemic to the island of Mauritius, east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. It is presumed that the dodo became flightless because of the ready availability of abundant food sources and a relative absence of predators on Mauritius. Though the dodo has historically been considered fat and clumsy, it is now thought to have been well-adapted for its ecosystem. As it was flightless and terrestrial and there were no mammalian predators or other kinds of natural enemy on Mauritius the Dodo lived a peaceful and easy life. Like many animals that evolved in isolation from significant predators, the dodo was entirely fearless of humans. This fearlessness and its inability to fly made the dodo easy prey for sailors. The Dodo never evolved because it did not need to. It had all the food it needed and no risk for its life. A comfortable life that led to its extinction. The comparison is easy to understand. While all other species known on Mauritius survived, the Dodo did not. Same with companies that do not take digital transformation projects seriously or think that it is not for them. The major changes we all experience today, will make companies unprepared disappear as their competitors will evolve and will take all customers with them.

Change Management

Digital transformation will allow change management and cultural transformation; change in customer journey and customer focus; digitization of the business, data security, privacy and ethics change;  evolution of products, services and processes; integration of all data systems; logistics and supply chain improved efficiencies; organizational structure to support a seamless customer experience; personalization experience for customers; transformational leadership (to ensure millennials understand the vision of the company) and finally the end of all silos across the company. Most importantly, digital transformation will allow you and your company to survive in this uncertain world.  Digital transformation will not only help companies but also employees to understand why customers have evolved and why it is a must to ensure they match customer needs and ways to purchase.

There is a joke survey running on social networks these days:

Who is leading the digital transformation of your company?

  • CEO

  • CTO

  • CIO

  • Covid 19

This is so true. What was perceived to be something unthinkable about a month ago is now upon us. We are forced to change. This does not mean it will easier, this means get done with it.

This digital transformation project and the behavior and attitude we all need to adopt are not buzzwords. We hear them a lot and most of us know we need to work on changing our mindset. However, the concept of digital transformation has taken on many forms thus leading to confusion. There are many interpretations about what needs to be done.

Strategic Marketing USA

Let’s enjoy the Reuter’s Events Strategic Marketing USA conference on November 5th and 6th and then we can share our views on how to grasp the concept.

About Nicolas Babin:


If you are looking for ideas to make a change and use new mind sets and technology to help you, feel free to contact me. I can be found on LinkedIn on Twitter

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