Published on the 24/08/2017 | Written by Donovan Jackson
Product demos are off the agenda at Intergen’s upcoming ‘real world’ events…
To get a good idea of where we are, sometimes it’s a good idea to have a look at where we came from. As Intergen readies up for its Digital Convergence series of conferences taking place around the country, that’s precisely what John Bessey, Empired GM of sales, recommended. Explaining what ‘Digital Convergence’ is, he said that first, the context of technology ubiquity must be appreciated.
“We’re living in a time where it doesn’t matter what line of work you’re in, technology is essential to getting the job done. Every single organisation, no matter the industry, should be looking to technology and how it will transform that business.”
That’s because digital transformation is happening, like it or not. “Digital Convergence points to that transformation. It is how you change how you operate, how you grow your business, how you delight customers and improve productivity to maintain competitiveness, while creating a platform which is secure and nimble to cope with today’s fast-paced environments.”
Bessey said a telling barometer of the pervasiveness of technology can be seen in the necessity for ‘tech enabled’ leaders in all aspects of business. In the 1990s and 2000s, when the divide between ‘business’ and ‘IT’ was large, there would be the techies on one side and puzzled business leaders on the other. There were no CIOs, no Chief Digital Officer. The head of technology was in the basement, not in the boardroom.
“Today, whether it is the CMO, the CEO, the CFO; across the spectrum, these office holders are thinking ‘tech first’; they have to know the technology and how it can enable their organisation. This is a crucial development which is further driving the digital journey.”
Therefore, Bessey noted, ‘digital’ is not just ‘customer experience and the website’. “Digital Convergence is an end-to-end strategy of how the business will operate using technology and people. It is about being connected and enabled to act and react.”
ERP implementations, he added, are often not considered part of digital projects. “But they very much are. You need a digitally-enabled back end if your organisation wants to be ready to take full advantage of digital business.”
Putting Digital Convergence into action means looking at everything through a digital lens. Pointing to multinational GE, Bessey said the conglomerate is employing hundreds of digital transformation experts across all its processes – whether it is the manufacture of MRI scanners or the production of jet engines. The ‘digital first’ approach was initiated by former CEO Jeff Immelt (now bound for Uber) and is a key focus for new CEO John Flannery.
“What we are seeing at GE is a complete commitment to ‘digital first’,” said Bessey – and he believes there are lessons for local customers. “Like GE, it is necessary to have a digital map. Then what you want to do is find the piece with the most compelling Return on Investment and start with that, while always keeping in mind what the end looks like.”
Just how ready the local market is for digital business, Bessey said, depends on who you ask. “What I will say is that we have a number of organisations which are fully committed. They have a digital strategy in place and are picking off piece by piece as they move towards end to end transformations.”
Those organisations include the Ministry for Primary Industries, Ryman Healthcare, Public Trust and Jucy. “These organisations are seeing the benefits of their transformations. Public Trust has done a wonderful job to leverage technology to change what it does to stay relevant; MPI, thanks to its use of digital systems, is equipped to respond rapidly to new circumstances, such as the recent outbreak of myrtle rust.”
Intergen Convergence will pick up on these and other stories which will demonstrate how digital transformation can be achieved through the convergence of ideas and actions, people and technology. Events take place in Christchurch and Wellington on 17 and 19 October, and Auckland on 3 November.