How To Win The Race
In May, C-suite executives and tech leaders came together for Insight IGNITE’s Innovation Roundtable in Nice, France, and to watch the Monaco Grand Prix. As it turns out there are significant similarities between Formula One and the world of digital business transformation. Both involve risk, and both require agility. To win, you need to be design-driven and data-driven at the core, and ultimately, there can only be one world champion. For more on the parallels between Formula One and digital transformation, here’s an interview with Ross Brawn, Formula One Managing Director of Motorsports.
Here are nine lessons we learned at the roundtable about how to win in digital transformation.
1. Disruption is always closer than it seems. Similar to managing a race, global enterprises need to operate with foresight because as Ted Mico, former EVP of strategy and operations at Interscope Geffen A&M, said “Disruption is always closer than it seems.”
2. Convenience wins. Ted shared takeaways he learned when Napster and mp3s disrupted the music industry. The second takeaway he highlighted was the importance of knowing the real business threat. When the music industry was disrupted, the threat wasn’t Napster. It was the convenience Napster enabled. “Convenience always wins because it’s easy, and the more convenient technology will always be the technology of today,” said Ted.
3. Know your customer. Ted also emphasized how important it is to know your customer because you can’t build a business based on how you’d like your customer to behave. Rafi Sweary, President and Co-founder of WalkMe pointed out that most digital transformations fail. That’s why he and his team believe that software should understand the user, and the not the opposite.
4. Agility wins. During a session on the role of board members in innovation, Olof Pripp, Vice Chairman, Board and CEO Service at Korn Ferry, said it’s important for boards to find talent with diverse skill sets. “When you look into Formula One, you’re mainly looking at the star drivers,” he said. “But actually it comes down to a lot of the work is done by others, which makes a great team. It’s about collaboration around innovation and the pace and the speed you change tires etcetera.”
5. Grow your business through diversity of thought. What if we could create faster growing businesses through different thinking? “The reality is talent will be the largest determinant of growth by 2025,” said Bonin Bough, CEO of Bonin Ventures and former Chief Media & E-commerce Officer of Mondelez. “Larger than trade and big data, talent will be the driver.” To promote diversity of thought in order to innovate, he launched an incubator that brought startups and brands together, giving startups an opportunity to scale and brands an opportunity find white space.
6. Four Blockers Innovation. Adrian Cockcroft, VP of cloud architecture strategy at AWS, highlighted what he sees as the main blockers of innovation. These include culture, skill, organization, and risk. He says the leadership systems and the feedback loops companies build matter. If there’s lack of trust in an organization you won’t be able to make decisions.
7. Three Stages of Innovation: Adrian continued his presentation sharing the three stages of working through innovation, including learning how to go fast, learning how to build at scale efficiently, and learning how to move the strategic backend workload to data center replacement. “A fundamental metric for innovation is time to value,” he said.
8. Extract the full value of data. Addressing how enterprises can make the most of the massive explosion of data they’re dealing with, Colin Britton, Chief Strategy Officer at Devo, talked about the need for a new, cloud-centric architecture to solve this problem. Not only do we have problems with humans looking at data, but there is a great need for data to drive algorithms. Expanding on this topic, PrecisionLender CEO Carl Ryden said: “data is the world’s most valuable resource, but by itself it’s just raw facts. If the who, what, when, and where of data are applied at the right time, they’re insights.” And Quantum Metric CEO, Mario Ciabarra, shared how data can be harnessed to understand how your customers are engaging with your digital property.
9. Digital transformation is continuous. Other sessions brought together Insight Partners’ portfolio companies with large enterprise executives, such as Mattel’s EVP technology officer, Sven Gerjets. “Ultimately, it seems that digital transformation may be a dated term, as everything has gone digital. Another way of viewing the process may be to think of it as continuous transformation.” At any and every phase this evolving transformation requires focus, collaboration, diversity of thought, and data-driven insights, so the enterprise can keep driving for daylight.