Friday, July 3, 2015

Who Digitally Mentors Your Board?

I see a growing trend in many organisations (both large & small), where an increasing number of staff are becoming digitally savvy and utilising their online knowledge in their daily roles. But who is providing the necessary board-level guidance to a company? Who is equipping your senior team with the skills and advice necessary to drive forward the digital change?

It's not just a case of showing your CEO how to Tweet (her teenage daughter has probably already shown her how to do that) . It's a case of making sure the board and other executives have the capabilities & understanding to be able to seize the power that digital change can deliver.

In my experience & opinion there are four different approaches to providing these skills and experience directly into your C-Suite (A Chief Digital Officer, A Digital Non-Exec, A Change Director or External Consultancy). However each situation is different and in reality your solution to this may be a combination of two or all of them.

Whatever route is chosen, this injection of senior level capability typically has to help the company leaders through a fast-paced delivery of new products, services, processes and technologies.


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Apple Pay looks to boost UK Digital Payments

Back in October 2014 Apple launched Apple Pay in the US as part of its iOS 8.1 update. The Cupertino giant then saw 1 million American activations in the first 3 days.

However over here in the UK we have been awaiting news of a similar launch. Many blogs have been written about getting Apple Pay in the UK and false hints & rumours that Belgium may be the first European country to get the new digital payment service haven't helped. But on 8th June at Apple's WWDC 2015 the silence was broken and the announcement was made that Apple Pay is to launch in the UK, making us just the second country to adopt the service... ahead of Canada and other candidates.

More surprising was the news that we'll get Apple Pay in a matter of weeks, as plans for a July 2015 launch are now underway. Meaning that key UK retailers such as Marks and Spencers and Waitrose will offer you contactless / NFC payments via your iPhone this Summer. Furthermore, TFL will also offer Apple Pay across its network.

However, if you can tap in & out on buses and tube trains around London from next month using both your iPhone and your NFC-enabled credit card... does this spell the beginning of the end for the Oyster Card system?

Monday, June 29, 2015

A New Role to Lead Digital Business Transformation

Corporate change isn't a new thing. Businesses have always had to assess, re-think and re-invent themselves as the world changes around them.

In the past this was a lot easier though. Organisation had years (or sometimes decades) to change their ways. But more recently the cycles of technical innovation have increased, which means the speed of digital change is much quicker. In fact, those in market sectors which were first to be affected by online (e.g. Retail and Travel) had longer to transform their businesses than those being disrupted now - such as Financial Services and some parts of the Transport industry.

So how are some businesses dealing with Digital Transformation & change and how are they setting themselves up to understand and embrace the effects?

1. Create a Chief Digital Office role
Whilst just creating and hiring another senior role in the business might not be everyone's cup of tea, a fair number of organisations have hired (or promoted from within) a CDO to lead up their digital change.

2. Use a Digital-based Non-Exec Director
Although similar to taking on a CDO, a digital-centric NED provides their experience and skills to guide a company board. This role is usually filled by a new Non-Exec Director who has previously had a senior role in digital transforming another business. 

3. Creating a Director of Change
Whilst not exactly a direct comparison to either a Chief Digital Officer or a Digital-based Non-Exec Director role, some company's decide to wrap up their adoption of online tools and processes in a more general senior change position


4. Alternatively they could hire an agency / consultancy.... and most large & well-respected management consultancies are unsurprisingly only too keen to state how they've always been involved in digital transformation and have all the answers....

Friday, June 26, 2015

Do not curate, create

Four years ago I wrote a blog post that Content Curation Sucks. Since then I've seen more and more people try to establish themselves as specialists in their field by collating and distributing the same stuff online over and over again. It's boring, repetitive and not at all interesting to most users to see the same stuff published vie social media ranging from Instagram to blogs... but still the legions of 'me to' curators of constant content churn out the same crap.

Why? It baffles me.... really.

Recycling is not the same as original production of thoughts and concepts. It also doesn't make you an expert, just because you repeat and re-tweet the thoughts of others day-in & day-out as if they are your own.

So stop it!

Instead of considering how you are going to republish someone else's work, think about but how you are going to interpret it and develop it with your own ideas and approaches.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Digital Leadershift - get ready for a BIG BANG

Transforming your organisation from an analogue dinosaur to a Digital First one is hard, very hard. You not only need the right team of people, the right technology and the will to change internal processes, you need this change understood & supported at the senior level too.

But this isn't about getting the CEO to blog or the Managing Director to Tweet (they should know how to do that already), it is about having the right drive from on-high to correctly sponsor and if necessary push through the required changes that a digital transformation needs.

In short, it needs a shift in the mindset of the leaders to a digital way of working... or a digital leadershift.

However different market sectors and industries are affected by the disruptive effects of digital in different ways. And to illustrate this best, a recent report from Deloitte Digital depicted a 'Disruption Map' that shows the extent to which 17 industries are affected across two dimensions: Degree of Impact (The 'Bang') and the timing (The 'Fuse').



As we know... some industries are already in the middle of their shift. Sectors such as retail (High Street eCommerce has been a beacon of online innovation for the last few years) and Leisure (The consumer travel sector has both blossomed and suffered as online acquisition, customer self-service and aggregation has affected airline travel, etc. - and just look what the likes of AirBnB and to a certain extend Google are doing to the hotel market).

So it is probably no surprise that the leaders in those industries that have already been affected are nearly all digitally savvy. But what about other sectors where the fuse is much longer?

Well in a lot of cases key individuals from shorter fuse industries have moved across to help other verticals understand and manage their way through this disruption. For example, senior staff from tech start-ups are now finding roles in Financial Services and Professional Services.

But other senior managers in those where the disruption hasn't really hit yet are less aware and prepared for the changes that are bound to come. Some may know the Big Bang is coming, but for others it could be a big shock.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Sports thinking is Digital Strategy

Think about all those qualities that make a great football, rugby or other team and you will reoccuringly come up with the same things....
Speed
Agility
Skill
Teamwork
Coaching
Communication

Aren't these the same things you want in your digital strategy and transformation plan?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Should we really bother with personas?

I've been a huge advocate of UCD (User Centred Design) for around a decade now. I've implemented large multi-device websites and specified & delivered major digital platforms based on this approach. However quite recently I've been thinking that just basing the user interface and functionality of digital services around a few key personas might not be the entire story.

My reasoning here is that although a selection of personas may map to the profiles of key website visitor stereotypes, when you start to look at them in more detail you find that your users are all different. So whilst at the very highest level your personas are very different, at the lower level (e.g. the completion of a certain task) a subset of these have alternative needs. And to confuse matters, these alternative needs are shared with users in other personas.

Let's just consider 4 different personas of a typical online service and overlay a few different user profiles over them. As you can see, the personas can cover the main functionality a service provides, but each user has a place in one or more of them. And in the case of some really important users (such as those who need accessibility compliance) they could be present in all 4 personas.


Or put another way... there is no point creating specific personas for each user type. You'd end up doubling your persona numbers just accounting for accessible users if that was the case.

No, that doesn't make sense.... and in this way the developing of personas really doesn't map to something you actually need on your digital project. An understanding of what functionality you need to prioritise over other functionality.