It is 2015 and everyone is talking about delivering ‘digital’.  But what do they really mean?

Definitions vary and digital surely means different things to different people, and therein lies a problem. For digital to be successful, it’s important to establish a common definition and to identify desired outcomes so there is a shared vision of where a business is going. Like many things, it’s much easier to forge a path if you know where you want to get in the end.

ClearPoint recently hosted a Leaders of Digital Roundtable with a group of business leaders where we presented and discussed the essential ingredients for successful digital outcomes. The lively discussion showed there is a sense of urgency and business leaders are keen to understand what is required to transform into truly digital businesses.

As one CEO said, “We could all get Uber-ised tomorrow, so we need to be looking ahead to see what’s coming. Digital moves fast!”

That CEO is right.  “Software is eating the world.”

To get our heads into the right space – we kicked off by romping through some internet trends and data from:

1) Mobile is Eating the World, May 2015, Benedict Evans, Andreesen Horowitz

2) What ‘digital’ really means, July 2015, McKinsey & Company Insights & Publications

3) KPCB, Internet Trends 2015 – Code conference, pg 14

Globally, many macro forces are contributing to an era of unprecedented change in technology: infrastructure, social media, online commerce, uptake of mobile devices and internet, etc. For instance, smart phone penetration continues at pace, and when contrasted with the traditional PC market, it is clear that the world for developing and deploying software has changed dramatically. Unbelievably the data predicts 80% of all adults on earth will have a smartphone by 20201.

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So what is ‘digital’? 

McKinsey & Company2 recently published a nifty article that defines digital less as a thing and more a way of doing things. At its core, digital is about focusing on value creation. McKinsey breaks it down into three areas:

Creating value at new frontiers:  Re-examining the current way of doing business and identifying where the new frontiers of value are.

Creating value in core businesses:  Rethinking how to use new capabilities to deliver the best possible customer journey across all parts of the business.

Building foundational capabilities:  Establishing both the technological and organisational processes that allow a business to be agile and fast.

This framework makes sense to us. At ClearPoint, we create new value through designing and building exceptional software that delivers results for our clients. We are fortunate to see a broad cross section of organisations and sectors embarking on change through technology. And the common success themes we see tend to align well with this framework too.

Successful organisations build a culture with a transformational mind-set, one that fosters cross-functional collaboration, flattens hierarchies, and encourages innovation and the generation of new ideas around a common vision. Leadership then flourishes across all levels and delivery starts to gather momentum to meet the vision.

Ok.  What was the main gist?

From a technology view, organisations need to gear their IT capability to support continual and ongoing development of fast-moving, customer-facing interactions.   Helpfully, there are several proven parts of the software delivery puzzle that are established in the industry, including:

  • User-centered Design
  • Agile software development, and
  • Continuous Delivery

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Under the leadership of ClearPoint Architect Jonathan Ackerman, we took a closer look at all three areas. This generated a pile of discussion around the table and, once again, it’s interesting the commonality of IT challenges that exist cross sector.

A huge thank you to the CxOs who came along.  We will be hosting a follow-up session in the near future.

We’re also hosting a Leaders of Digital in Wellington shortly, so stay tuned for further out-takes from our Leaders of Digital Roundtables!