In this episode of Lancom TV we chat to Will Jurie, a Partner Technology Strategist at Microsoft, to discuss Digital Transformation. We discuss what it means to digitally transform a business through the lens of Microsoft, reasons for transformation failure, and top tips for adopting a digital strategy that works.
⇒ Want to get an overview of how your business' technology stacks up to the rest of New Zealand SME's? Audit your IT with our complementary self-serve IT auditing tool, and receive a personalised IT benchmarking report. Start your audit here.
Hi guys, welcome back to "Lancom TV." I am Priscila Bernardes, and I am here today with Will Jurie from Microsoft. And he is a partner technology strategist. He is here to talk to us about digital transformation. Welcome, Will.
Thanks for inviting me.
How are you today?
I'm really good. Thanks.
No problem. Look, I think digital transformation, it's a term that has taken over in the last few years, and more so, in the last year. We went to Microsoft's Conference last year and everything we heard was digital transformation, how can business digitally transform themselves? And then, now every other day, we see something on the news talking about how businesses are digitally transforming themselves, right? So, I thought, today, we should talk about the one thing that Microsoft keeps bringing up on the materials I read and some of our customers and some of our audience today. So I've got a few questions as usual.
And the first one, for me, is, when we talk about digital transformation, there's a lot of things that are within scope. For Microsoft, which, you know, there's a big drive from your end to try and get more and more businesses to think about it. What do you mean when you say digital transformation at Microsoft?
So, firstly, we've, kind of, gone through our own digital transformation journey, and it's basically, four kind of pillars that we can summarize the various challenges and then, kind of, outcomes that can be realized through transforming digitally a business. Those are empowering employees, engaging customers, optimizing operations, and transforming products.
Great. Okay, we'll talk through a little bit more of them in detail in a second, but what I often hear is, you know, when I'm engaging with clients and prospects, it's too hard to, kind of, take on this digital train and adopt it and, sort of, start to, you know, transform our business. So, there's obviously causes for that slowly being adopted in business and, in most cases, even for digital transformation to fail to a certain extent. So, do you see any symptoms that are common across the small businesses in New Zealand or, you know, across the world for digital transformation not really working well?
Yeah. So I think we've, kind of, identified particularly three unique, kind of, barriers that, I guess, prevent the adoption of digital transformation. However, having said that, you know, it's not supposed to be easy.
It's not easy, depending on all sorts of internal complexities. But the number one barrier has been a lack of, kind of, internal skill or resource. So...
Right. And this is right down to the town, not having the right people to be able to take it on board and spread it across the organization?
I mean, in the next three years, I think it's been identified that about 89% of current roles today will be impacted in some form by digital transformation, and 65% of those, I think, will have a major change on the day-to-day tasks that they undertake in their business.
Oh, that's massive.
So, you can see that there's a lot of a continuous up-scaling or training process that needs to happen in order to, I guess, modernize the workforce, ensure that they are technically capable to use the new, either, software tools we have available to us, understands the new business processes that are put in place from the top-down as part of the digital transformation strategies.
So yeah, people being number one, a lot of people would assume it's a technical blocker but...
But it's not...
...by the sounds of it. Right. Okay, so any other trends? And I'm assuming those trends are New Zealand-based, right? So this is what we are seeing in market?
Right. So people is our number one, how can we upscale our people to try and have that mindset that starts from a digital first world, I suppose, because we still, kind of, revert back to what we know, which is paper-based systems, or...
...complex systems that we might not necessarily need anymore because we've got better technology these days.
Resistance to change could possibly?
Yeah, I think so, depending on what area of the workforce you look at. Obviously, kind of, millennial or younger, you know, younger staff have...are, sort of, built with the mentality to be able to adopt digital transformation. I think something like two-thirds of managers, kind of, trust that we may bring on a millennial or someone young into their staff that they already have the tools to go and carry out any strategy that's put in front of them. But another one, as well, is from a...to shift to a technical perspective, is the way that data in your organization is siloed or segmented from..
...other parts of your business. So you've got a, you know, a business critical, kind of, line of business application that might be hopefully a few years old. Maybe 10-years old.
Sometimes old than that.
Yeah, which is obviously very hard to integrate with other tools, you know.
If you're running modern software as a service and legacy on perimeter...
...software that it is difficult to talk to each other.
Have that clash. Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
So, we've got all this data available at our fingertips, but being able to integrate it and surface it in the right tools is another challenge all together.
And I suppose there's a process within, you know, those individual applications themselves to be able to try and bring them up to speed to cloud systems and ability to extract the data from them, etc., etc.
Well said. I've got one more question for you. So, I really love how you gave us some exposure into the reasons why businesses are potentially not adopting digital transformation as fast as they could or should, right? But we are all about solutions. And what I wanted to pick your brain today is around the starting point. So where should businesses start their... You know, where does the thinking starts from? And, you know, I know there's potentially big roadmap when you talk about digital transformation, but surely, there are the one or two things that we usually recommend people to try and think about when they're considering adopting a digital strategy. What would those be from your perspective, Will?
So, I mean, embracing a digital culture is, kind of, the first one. You need to remove any kind of silos or blockers where, you know, different departments or business units may not be talking to each other because it's critical to the success of your digital transformation journey that those projects involve multiple stakeholders across the business.
It's not just a technically driven project.
It's not just a business-driven project.
B It's a bit of both, right?
IAnd it requires the buy-in of both. So having a digital culture, examples of that perhaps, you know, creating virtual teams of individuals from multiple teams that have, kind of, skin in the game to, kind of, to progress their culture. I mean, digital transformation strategy is ultimately set at the top. It's a kind of a top-down strategy, but it really needs the buy-in from every staff member, regardless of level.
Comes down to all levels. Yeah.
It's important they understand, kind of, the, I guess, the requirements of the change because as we talked about it, it is difficult, but also to realize, kind of, realize the benefits.
And why that's relevant. Absolutely. Anything else that you often recommend businesses take on board before they start, or as they start their digital transformation?
Yeah, so probably the big one that I...probably comes into conversations...the most, I guess, kind of, it's more from a technical, kind of, implementation perspective is, I guess, what we call micro-revolutions. So, the digital transformation journey is, as the name suggests, it is a journey that you need to take, kind of, step by step or sprint by sprint reducing lots of, kind of, micro-revolutions and bringing those into play for some really quick wins for the business.
Right. So condense it down to small wins, essentially.
Do you have any examples of what you mean when you say that?
Yeah. So, I mean, quick ones. A good one is lot of customers will already be on, say, Office 365, for example, and I guarantee they will not be using it the full, kind of, like, power of it.
Absolutely. Yeah, yeah. It is a big ecosystem these days, right?
Exactly, exactly. And it's something that is getting enhanced all the time so it can be difficult admittedly, to stay on top of.
Yes, it does.
But for things like automating paper-based processes to remove all these kind of manual tasks and businesses, you know, that's a really easy one through various Office 365 workloads like the SharePoint and Microsoft Flow, which I know you guys are doing good things in.
We love it. We love Flow.
So, freeing up your staff members too.
Focus on what matters, I suppose.
Exactly. Yeah, I mean, it's not doing them out of a job or reducing their workload.
No, absolutely not.
It's re-purposing them into something that's gonna better for the business, you know?
And I guess the good news is, you know, if you look back in time and you think about 5 years ago or 10 years ago, those things used to cost tens and thousands of dollars. Now, we're talking about hundred dollars potentially, and just a little more depending on what you're trying to achieve. So the cost associated with automation has come down significantly, which means it's available to everyone that, you know, want to give it a try. I mean, I am for sure automating as much as I possibly can out of my role. And the mindset is really what you said. It's about, what do I do that I enjoy doing? What can I automate so I can focus on those things a little more and spend my time wisely?
Exactly. And that's the beauty of cloud, I guess, right? If you have...customers, in some cases, might think that, "Oh, I'm already on my digital transformation journey because my email runs in the cloud." I'm like, "Well, that's a step in the right direction." But there's a whole lot of other, again, kind of, wins that can be made for very quickly at a fraction of the effort that would be required if you still had an on-premises environment.
Absolutely. And what you get at the other end is straight down, bottom line outcomes that, you know, means profits to your business, means you can run a process way faster than you used to...
...which automatically translates into something really big at the end. All right, so people and then the micro...How did you define that process before, micro...?
Revolution. I like the term. Anything else that you wanna leave us with today as a road map, or as a starting guideline, Will?
Yeah, I would say to anyone, kind of, I guess, regardless of your technical or business level, think about your everyday role and the tasks involved in that role. And think about how, as you put it before, Priscila, how you can spend time on things you enjoy doing more. And remove the operational overheads, you know, minimize any manual tasks. And, look, there are software solutions that realign to basically, any task that you...
Everything and anything, yeah.
...that you want to automate. So...
And get the most out of your people by allowing them to do what they really try, and...
...things that they actually enjoy. Awesome. I love chatting to you. I love about, you know, talking about digital transformation. I'm seeing that on my own day today, and I think it becomes a lot more of a reality when you start to adopt it, and a lot easier as well when you change your mindset as you put together before. And it starts from the top, comes down to the bottom, but ultimately, we all moving so towards that, that mindset is what counts in the end.
Thank you so much for popping in today.
Thanks for having me on.
I really appreciated our chat, and we will be back with more topics, no doubt. See you later, guys.
See you guys.