Pattern Pattern
PODCAST

Going through a digital transformation journey with Kamales Lardi

Episode outline:

  • Kamales Lardi introduces us to the Digital Business Evolution Model and how it helps accelerate an organisation’s digital transformation journey.
  • We find out why the foundational processes of a digital transformation initiative are important.
  • Lardi takes us through their Digital Transformation Strategy Approach.
  • Is a cultural change a bigger challenge than the technology change during a digital transformation journey?
  • Lardi shares stories of success in digital transformation and some slow adaptors in today’s new business environment.
  • How should organisations begin their digital transformation?

Show notes:

Digital transformation can be a huge organisational undertaking that requires cultural, technological, and operational change. Companies can get lost in the process without proper guidance and a framework for implementation.

Our guest for today introduces to us the Digital Business Evolution Model, a framework for implementation of a digital transformation initiative. She also discusses how digital transformation requires a cultural transformation as well as technological preparedness; we also hear some real world success stories and advice on how organizations can start their digital transformation.

Transcript

Kevin Montalbo: Hello, and welcome to episode 45 of the Coding Over Cocktails podcast. My name is Kevin Montalbo. And with me, from Sydney, Australia is Toro Cloud’s CEO and founder, David Brown. Hi, David!

David Brown: Hi, Kevin! 

KM: Hello! And our guest for today combines over 21 years of deep cross-industry experience with the latest digital and technology solutions. She is listed as the “Top 10 Global Thought Leaders in Digital Transformation” and “Top 50 Women-in-Tech Influencers to Follow  in 2021” by the Awards Magazine. Since establishing her consulting firm in 2012, she has advised many multinational companies across various industries in Europe, Asia, and Africa. 

She's also a teaching fellow and chairperson of the MBA Advisory Board at Durham University Business School, and was recently appointed Chair of the Forbes Business Council Women Executives. Ladies and gentlemen, joining us for a round of cocktails is Kamales Lardi. Hi, Kamales! Glad to have you on the show.

Kamales Lardi: Hi, Kevin! Hello, David! It's a pleasure to join you here today.

KM: All right, great. So first off, we wanted to congratulate Lardi and Partner Consulting for being the 2020 Global Corporate Excellence Award winner in the Digital Business Transformation Firm of the Year. Congratulations! Can you tell us about your firm and how you started almost a decade ago?

KL: Sure. First of all, thank you for that. We are really proud of that achievement and I have to say, we are a fairly small company. So, it was nice to be recognized industry-wide for this with this award. So, if I start the story back in 2012, when we started the organisation, basically I've had a long track record in consulting. I've been with companies like Accenture and Deloitte. So, over 21 years in business advisory and management consulting.

And back then, we started to see a shift in the market with new technologies and with new digital channels picking up fairly quickly with consumers and organisations really starting to explore, how can we use these channels? How can we engage better with our new customer base, the new kind of digital hybrid customers that are emerging?

And what I did find back then was traditional consulting firms were not well prepared for these types of initiatives. So, they were traditionally built as organisations that were providing larger, bigger scale projects for companies. They were not as quick to adapt to these technologies as well. 

And so, being someone in that space and really being able to see the growth that was taking place, I decided to leave the traditional consulting firm and start my own firm. And I was very cognizant back then that I didn't want to have another large consulting organisation. I wanted something that was agile and that was different and that suited this new digitally enabled market. And so I decided to create a very small structure; core structure of the organisation with a much larger extended network that would be able to tap into expertise globally.

And I call this “modular consulting,” which is basically a term I like to use to indicate that you have experts who can plug in and out of projects and deliver exactly what the client needs. It allows us to keep our operations very streamlined and agile. We have a small team of four people, but we are able to also engage on large projects simply because we have this extended network of experts and providers. 

So, for example, if we wanted to deliver something around artificial intelligence or blockchain, or augmented reality, we're able to bring in an expert for that specific topic and have them plug into the project very quickly and deliver the expertise that's required for the organisation. And what I found is the market responded very well to this. So organisations, even large multinational companies, which are  a big part of our customer base responded fairly nicely to this.

And they were almost accepting or almost looking forward to this new type of engagement because it allowed them the flexibility to explore, experiment, but also allowed them low-budget investments or, you know, high quality, low-budget investments into initiatives that were giving them results in the short term. And if you know how larger organisations work, they do to be this sort of large machine that sometimes is difficult to maneuver and transform. And so smaller initiatives that give us a step into the organisation allows us to experiment and demonstrate results fairly quickly, and then expand and scale those projects further.

DB: I'd like to talk to you about some of your experience with those projects and how you've managed to transform some organisations. But before we get into that, one of the things I like about your organisation is you actually developed a framework for digital transformation. You call it the “digital business evolution” model. Can you run us through this model?

KL: So very, very early on, we realized that we needed some kind of structured approach, particularly when we're dealing with multinational organisations. You need it to have a structured, step-by-step approach on how we address digital transformation. Digital transformation, as it is, is a fairly large space or area that we can work in. It does involve not just technology elements, but truly the transformation of the entire organisation itself. 

And so we decided to develop these frameworks and methodologies that would help us accelerate the process of working with companies, helping them identify which areas to prioritise and focus for transformation, and also taking them on this evolution. Not just a start and a stop of a certain project as you typically would have with technology projects, but really having an evolution where the entire organisation is transformed from one state to a future state.

And so we developed the “digital business evolution” model to demonstrate to organisations that transformation really does involve the entire organisation top-down, bottom-up. It involves multiple functions. It is a journey that you take on, which would probably go on for a couple of years. And as you develop your journey, there are certain touch points and checkpoints where you realize now we have to shift that vision a little bit more because the environment that we're in today, the technology that we are working with, evolves so quickly, transforms so quickly. 

And what we're seeing is almost on a daily basis, new technology breakthroughs are coming out. Consumer behavior is evolving almost as rapidly as those technologies are being put out in the market. And so what we needed to do was to create a formula or a way for companies to follow this step-by-step approach.

Now, the evolution model has almost three core elements to it; the way companies utilise technologies to enable them to access the market and access their customer base. Then you have kind of the “evolve” element, which allows them to create your products and services and how you can create products and services that are suitable for this new hybrid digital/physical market; as well as the “integrate” element, which really looks at the core of your business, the people, the technology, the processes, the operations the governance and policies. 

How do you transform all of these elements and companies need to address all of these things? You might start for example, with one element exploring an e-commerce channel or engaging customers on social media and things like that. But eventually, you'd need to transform every element within this evolution model to make sure the organisation is able to respond and thrive within this digital economy.

DB: Yeah. I mean, the model itself is shaped like a pyramid. And at the bottom of the pyramid, you have those “integrate” elements such as people and culture, tools and technology, and organisational structure. And then upon that, you build the enabling side of it, where you are deploying products and services, getting stakeholders involved. And then I guess at the top of the pyramid is the fun stuff where you are getting into creating new customer experiences, whether that be a customer journey on your website or an omnichannel experience, or the like. 

I guess the shiny stuff, that customer experience stuff is probably what you're attracted to when you're thinking strategically about digital transformation. But do you, in your experience, find that people are probably attracted to the top of the pyramid where an actual fact they may need to do some of that foundational stuff at the bottom of the pyramid?

KL: This is definitely the experience that we've seen in the market. I think many organisations do tend to put the focus on initiatives that are going to provide them rapid results. So, digital channels channel engagement is probably one of it, looking at how they can engage with customers on digital channels and drive sales and e-commerce through those channels as well. And we also find that companies tend to get distracted by shiny, new technology, right? So, everyone's talking about artificial intelligence at the moment. So, having a technology solution, just for the sake of having that technology solution in your company doesn't bring much results. So it doesn't bring much value to the entire organisation. 

So, if I give you an example, we saw this accelerate over the last two years or one and a half years during COVID, where companies that didn't traditionally engage in e-commerce or didn't have strong channels to customers online were forced to do that over the last one and a half year, right? Because, unfortunately due to COVID, we had a lockdown situation globally, completely unprecedented and unexpected on this global business marketplace. And what companies started to do was accelerate those implementations. But we also dealt with many companies that had to face the situation where there was a sudden influx of e-commerce sales or e-commerce engagement. Online channel engagement with customers did not have the backend operations in your company set up to deal with those. 

And so what had happened was, you know, you had this massive influx on the frontend and in the backend, you had bottlenecks and there was still customer dissatisfaction. In those situations, you might receive a sudden 300% increase in sales, and your backend operations were not set up to deliver on those sales or to create the products that you needed to deliver as quickly as required.

And we also did see this grinding halt in global supply chains as well. So, companies needed to then start looking at alternative, hyper-localised supply chains that could help them deliver on this. So, there were a lot of transformations that happened and we saw a significant increase in investments in technology projects as well over the last year and a half. My question to companies typically is, “Are you investing in the right things?” And yes, you've had to invest in certain things over the last year and a half to keep your business continuity, but are those the right things that actually align with your overall business strategy? 

So, now let's take a step back and look at overall alignment. Let's look at what you're trying to deliver, or the way you want to be in five years taking into account some of these initiatives, how can we transform the rest of the organisation now? And I think this is probably one of the biggest barriers around digital transformation, this basic understanding for what it is. There's a lot of hype in the market today around what it could be and companies struggling to really sense when they need to focus, “Where should I put my limited resources and investments, and which are the initiatives that are gonna bring the greatest result and value for the organisation?”

DB: Well, that's getting into the practicalities of implementation. So, your digital business evolution model is like a 30,000 foot view, as I see it, of the components that will form an organisational digital transformation journey. But in reality, each component is big in itself. You're talking about tools and technology and people and culture and governance and risk and new customer experiences and journeys. Each is a significant initiative in itself. You've outlined, as well, a strategy approach. A digital transformation strategic approach. So, is this like a practical implementation guide of how you should approach digital transformation initiatives?

KL: So, one of the things we wanted to do with this methodology was really help accelerate transformation. As I said earlier, transformation can take a number of years. It's a journey that an organisation decides to embark on. And so we needed to create a methodology or a framework that can help accelerate that process because it's very easy to get lost in the sea of transformation. 

So, what this methodology does is it takes you through steps where the organisation can really, in a very flexible way, depending on what industry you're in, depending on the size of your organisation, the amount of investments and capabilities you have internally, help you take this step-by-step approach towards transformation. So, we really start with situational analysis. And this is the starting point for most of the projects we work on, where we try to define what is the digital maturity and readiness of the organisation. What are some of the external factors that are impacting the industry and the business? So, things like consumer behavior, competitive landscape, new trends or technologies that are potentially disruptive, regulatory environments, and so on. 

We really start looking at these external factors that are going to disrupt the market that you're in. And then we take them on this journey of understanding where your organisation is today into a disruptive visioning element around where you think you should be in the next five years. And this is critical to understand as well. We're not looking at 10, 15-year timeframes anymore. We're looking at three to five years because the market three to five years ago is very different from what it is today. The number of disruptive technologies that are available, the number of ways consumers adopt technologies as well, [is] rapidly increasing.

And so we need to create a strategic planning process that's very, very different within organisations. Traditionally, you would have an organisation doing a yearly strategic planning process where you define your objectives and KPIs, and that's trickled down through the entire organisation today. You need to have a really dynamic process that allows executives and business leaders to really revisit those those objectives and revisit the vision frequently through the year to make sure that they're still right on track, to make sure that they're aware of some of the disruptors that are being created in the market on a gradual basis or on a rapid basis as well. And so we take them through this process and then identify initiatives that could have the biggest impact for them, where they should start and help them prioritize these initiatives as well.

So, we don't wanna take on too much. We take on a relevant number of things that can have an impact on the business. And then we help them implement that as well. And implementation usually works through providers or technical experts that we bring in to help build solutions for our clients. And so this is a really structured process. It's almost very common in the way we've developed it, but it's constantly surprising for us as well how quickly companies can get lost in this process. And so helping them, guiding them and helping them navigate this disruptive landscape, it's been proven quite helpful.

DB: We've often heard from experts here on our podcast how digital transformation becomes a people problem rather than a technology challenge. We're a technology company ourselves. So, you know, we like to drive technology into organisations, but it's interesting how many times we hear that technology is gonna be part of the solution, but all organisational change is where they find the biggest problems arise. In your experience, do you agree that a cultural shift within the organisation is more difficult than the technology side of the deployments and initiatives?

KL: Absolutely, David. I completely agree with that. And I think, you know, we need to take a look at the bigger picture because the people side of transformation does not just involve culture. Culture is one element of it, the organisational culture and the readiness of the company to take on these changes, but there's a much bigger picture around the people side of transformation. So, from an external perspective, we look at your customers. For any organisation, whether it's a B2B or B2C organisation, your customers drive the type of changes you need to be making in the company. 

And if you look at your customer base today, people are used to utilising technology in almost every part of their life. Whether it's the way they consume entertainment to the way they consume food, groceries, to the way they engage with one another to the kind of work that we're doing today with the significant increase in online collaboration and work-from-home technologies that we've seen through the COVID period.

So, there's been this shift in the market where consumers have adopted a wide range of technologies into their daily lives and companies expect almost the same sort of engagement and the hyper-personalisation that they're getting from all these other digital touchpoints. They expect that from almost every company that they deal with. They don't care whether it's a financial service institution or a retailer, they want this hyper-personalised, seamless, continuous interaction with these organisations. 

And this is where the triggers for transformation come because companies that are able to understand these people and their new behavior patterns, they will be the ones who will be able to drive transformation initiatives successfully in the company. And then you have the internal element of people, which is your employees, your leadership teams, the people executing on these projects and they make or break transformation in any company.

So, really looking at the leadership ownership of these types of initiatives to say, “This is our vision. We're heading towards a digital/physical hybrid environment, where we want to engage with our customers on these platforms. We wanna create a digitally enabled organisation.” So, to kind of provide this vision and steering for the entire organisation in terms of direction. And this includes the board members of any organisation. If you think about a larger company that has advisory boards, or even directorships, they need to help drive these transformations as well. Are we being aggressive enough with our targets? Are we assessing the right projects? Are we taking on the right technology implementation? So, there's a lot of people element throughout the organisation. 

And then you have within the employee base as well, people being ready, who not just implement these solutions, but use them as well. And we frequently forget the people that are in our company are also the people who are our customers and in their personal life, they may have adopted quite a lot of technology. And then they come into the office environment and they're dealing sometimes with infrastructure that's 20, 30 years old. And there's a certain disconnect. And I think your employee base is probably your first touch point to your customers. They're the best users to test out new technologies. They're the best people to give you feedback. Are you heading in the right direction? Do these things really work for your organisation? And so there's a lot of people element around this and organisations tend to, [based on] what we've experienced, they tend to focus on marketing technology. 

For example, they tend to focus on technology implementation, focusing on the actual technology that they wanna implement and not the people behind that technology. And this is where we feel bringing in the people side of transformation is a very, very critical element. And this is also a topic I'm extremely passionate about. And I'm writing a book on this at the moment. So, interesting for that to come out at least spring next year.

DB: Great. We're looking forward to it. So, the people problem is very interesting because there's a couple of things you mentioned there [which] is communicating the vision. And I guess within a large organisation, you're trying to steer the Titanic and you're trying to move it from one direction to another, and you have to communicate this new vision about how we wanna operate differently. But also, a consequence of that is there's gonna be new procedures. There's gonna be new technologies that everyone has to adopt. And so they're gonna have to change their work habits. 

As a consultant going into an organisation, trying to help them steer the Titanic, what practical advice can you give them? To advise them, “Look, you're gonna have to communicate these initiatives down through the food chain,” and you're gonna have resistance to process change. There's gonna be some people like, “Well, why are we changing it? It's the way we've done it. It has always worked.” And how do you overcome those barriers? 

KL: I think there are a couple of great points that you've mentioned there. So, when we start working with any organisation, we tend to start top-down. Because the first point or the first barrier we always face is management understanding of what this is. And this gets even harder if you're working with a company that is performing very well in the market, right? “We're doing really well. Why do we need to change? We've got great results. Why do we need to change?” Well, the point is that it's not about what happens today in the market. It's about what's gonna happen in two or three years time, and that shift can happen so quickly that your business will lose. So, if we think about COVID as an excellent example, most organisations never could have imagined a scenario where you would have zero physical contact in your business environment.

And so this shift happened within one year. The way companies had to transform was significant. And so we start with the top level management and help them understand what is the reason for this change, right? So, we call it “setting the scene” and really helping them understand the disruptors that are coming in the market. And every organisation we've worked with so far, we've been able to identify disruptors that they; one, didn't think of; or two, didn't think it would be that disruptive. And so we approach this in one of two ways. One is looking at inspiring them and saying, “There are great opportunities in the market for you to grow your business or to transform your business. Or to kind of access new markets as well.”

And the other is the fear factor around what is going to happen to your business in three to five years. Now traditionally, management teams sometimes tended especially middle management tended not to focus so much on what's gonna happen 10 years down the line because they may or may not be there in that organisation.

But what we've managed to do with companies is really tell them, “Within your lifespan in this company, things are going to change. How are you and your organisation going to handle that?” And so that's been really effective. And the next stage is really defining the vision and helping these leadership teams to really communicate that within the organisation. And this really is a hand-holding effort where we need to guide them through how you should communicate. The basis of this is understanding the motivation of employees, the motivation of the people in your company today. 

What we're finding is many, many organisations have people who are looking for a purpose, right? If we think about our generation, perhaps the Gen Xs before, where we used to think of going to work and doing our nine-to-five and coming home, or even the baby boomer generation before who are really focused on just having stability at work. Our current millennials and Gen Zs are looking for purpose. They want what they're doing in their daily life to contribute to their wider values and purpose. They want to have a bigger impact in the world and organisations need to understand that purpose; need to understand how to motivate people within that space as well. 

So, really helping them understand transformation is happening for this reason. And this is where we see the organisation, and this is how we're contributing to the bigger picture. And this is how your role in the company helps to contribute to that bigger picture as well. And I think having these sorts of communication, touchpoints and clarity around the vision of the company is going to be really important and where we define these digital disruptive visions and digital transformation strategies. It's very closely aligned to the business objectives as well. So, we don't create something separate, but we create something that falls under the overall company objectives. And that is kind of easy to break down into measurable elements as well. So, it gives the company a way to track how they're progressing against these measures.

DB: I like to talk about some practical or real world examples. If you can share with us some stories without necessarily sharing organisational names or the like for confidentiality. First of all, I'm interested to know you came from a background of Deloitte and you've been doing this on your own with your own organisation now for 10 years. Was there a significant difference? Like, did you dive into this thinking, “I've got this, I know what I'm doing, and we're gonna start advising people on digital transformation,” and then, and then get into it like, “Woah,” and didn't anticipate something, or was it all all as expected? 

KL: I have to be very frank, David. When I started the company, it was almost do or die for me. So, I knew I didn't want to go back into a traditional organisation. I wanted to try something on my own. And when I started the company, I said, “Worst case scenario; I don't make any business. [If] I fail miserably, then I’ll go find another job.” So, this was the mindset I started with. And I have been overwhelmed by the positive response. So, we've been strong for 10 years. We've worked with some of the biggest companies across the globe, and we've had really, really strong projects. We've never had to go out and search for projects as much as maybe other organisations because we've had lots of word of mouth recommendations.

So, we've filled our portfolio through that. And I think one of the things that's helped us to stand out is the way we work with clients. It's on a very human level. Really, truly trying to understand the organisation, the business, the culture, working very closely with people in the company. I make it very clear from the onset that we are not the industry experts, the people we work with are. We bring in the methodology and we bring in expertise around the technology and the transformation work. And we work very closely in partnership with the company to help drive the change. 

So, okay. One specific example I can give you is with a consumer finance company that we've worked with. We started off with a three month engagement to develop a digital transformation strategy for them. So, they were at a very low maturity in terms of digital adoption. They were in a market where they've got about 260,000 customers. And the customer base was perceived as very not digitally enabled or very old school in the way they engage with the company. And so when we started off with them, we were able to help them define or help them understand that the market base was shifting quickly. People were adopting technology very, very quickly. And if you put something out there that is aligned with those trends, you will see results. 

And so we helped them develop certain initiatives to transform the organisation, but also look at omnichannel engagement with customers, develop an app that allowed customers access to their products, which was very, very timely because then, COVID hit and the company was in a position to respond fairly well to that.

And you know, we saw that their market shifted fairly quickly. The customer base also shifted towards digital channels quickly, and they were ready for that. And so our engagement with them has now extended to a two-year engagement. And it's going to extend further to a three-year engagement now, and this is what we find with different companies. We start off with a small piece and we help them understand where this is going, and we continue the engagement with them in that direction. So, this was a very big success for us. We were quite happy to engage with them. 

Another example would be a credit card and loyalty program company that we worked with in Europe. And they were in a declining business environment. Obviously, loyalty programs are not what they used to be. Credit cards and loyalty cards are now offered almost by every retailer and every organisation on their own. So, they were looking for a new business environment to work in; a new customer base to attract basically. And so this was a different type of project. It wasn't something where we went in, developed something for them, but it was more of a coaching of their leadership. 

So, their leadership team; I think it was about 25 people, were involved in the project and it was a personal coaching that I offered to them to take them through this journey of really looking at disruptors in the market, new customer segments. And the members of the leadership team were working through the project and developing solutions themselves. And finally, we came up with four new revenue sources or business models that they could apply.

And one of them was an esports credit card designed specifically for esports and gamers, right? And this was launched in December 2019. And the management team were not very convinced because they had a certain perception of what esports was; that it was this young male person sitting in his basement playing games, which is completely not. Esports is a very professional environment. Gamers are serious about the products and services and they're serious about their game. And so when this card was launched, there was not much interest in it from the organisation, but they said they would explore and try it out. And of course, then Coronavirus hit at that point. And you know, esports exploded, so it was quite timely as well. 

And you know, not to say that we could have predicted something like the COVID environment could have happened, but I think being prepared and being explorative in this direction and looking at different options of revenue, different options of how you can utilise your organisation’s capabilities and leverage the internal knowledge that the organisation has, couple that with your new technology capabilities and find new value propositions for the market. And this is where we try to drive companies in that direction. 

DB: I think there's a lot to be learned from success stories, but also perhaps even more so from those that haven't panned out quite as expected. So, let's not call them project failures, but there have been experiences where things were slower to happen than you expected, or you hit stumbling blocks. Can you share with us any challenges and where do those typically lie? Is it back to that people problem and organisational change? Or when something goes wrong, was it a technology issue? Is it a people issue? Is it a governance issue? Where does it happen?

KL: You know, we faced challenges and I like to talk about failures because I think that's where the biggest learnings come from as well. And it helps us transform as a company and better serve our clients. And so I think the biggest barriers we've seen are probably mindset and people elements. So, one specific example was a retail organisation that we worked with and we helped them develop a transformation strategy and a roadmap that would be very interesting for the organisation to take on, but the person leading the organisation transformation found it too overwhelming. So, he buried the piece. I still believe that they'll pick it up later on once there's more readiness in the organisation for that. But I think these are probably some of the biggest barriers that many organisations will face, right?

Maybe you have individuals who are too afraid to take things on or who don't understand, or who have a different mindset and believe that the traditional way organisations function is going to stay in the longer term. I truly believe that the assumptions around business operations have completely become invalid. We are working with a new playbook now, and we need to define new strategies fairly quickly. And so, we are not in the business of trying to convince people to do things they don't want to do. And so I think timing is really a core element and with the kind of capabilities and initiatives in place, they'll find a way to kind of implement that in the future. The other element is I think the technology piece as well. So, the people, process and technology, all of these elements have their challenges.

The technology piece really looks at the current environment that the organisation is working within the current technology infrastructure. So if you're working in an organisation that has a technology infrastructure, 30, 20 years old and you're trying to implement something new, like artificial intelligence for decision making, It's not going to work simply because you first need to focus on transforming your current technology infrastructure, a strong data strategy. 

So, where's your data coming from? Are they accurate and clean? Can you utilize them from different sources and combine them for the system? So, there's a piece to be done in implementation in between that will take the organisation to readiness before new technology can be implemented. I wouldn't see it as a barrier, but it is something that many companies need to address fairly quickly because otherwise you get left behind.

You know, we've seen some companies try to implement the new solutions, the new business model outside of their traditional organisation structure. So, kind of an edge project where they leave the current infrastructure because it's too difficult to change and say, “Let's start an edge project, a new business where we are starting from a digital point.” And, you know, it's fully advanced the challenge there as well as it's very difficult to scale a business like that because you're not able to leverage your own traditional organisation capabilities. 

And so scalability becomes a challenge or it becomes a competition to your traditional business. We've seen these various scenarios and I think for every organisation that we work with, the solution that you can implement is fairly different. It's very customised, really looking at what's best for this company in this industry for these people. And so, every implementation that we work on is very different from the other,

DB: If I were a CEO or a top level executive and organisation listening to this and pondering about organisational change and buzzwords like “digital transformation,” where would you suggest I start? What's my starting point?

KL: The starting point is always going to be the current situation of your organisation, right? So where are you? You can't define where you're gonna go unless you know where you are. And I think that's kind of the most logical and simplest starting point I can tell companies and business leaders to focus on. And so we have a great tool online that you can check out on our website, it's called the “Digital Maturity Assessment Tool.” You can do it in less than 10 minutes. It provides you with six dimensions of an organisation and a set of questions that help you define where your organisation is today in terms of digital maturity and not just from a technology perspective, but really looking at organisation-wide customer centricity, leadership mindset, business model, and so on. 

And it helps you in a very rapid way to look at where your company currently stands.What are the biggest gaps that exist in terms of digital enablement and where you need to focus? So, it gives you kind of a direction at the end of the assessment where your company needs to focus. 

And I think the other element would be [that] any person in leadership within an organisation needs to have an eye on what's going on in the market. The number of technology developments, the way your consumer base is evolving, the number of new competitors. Digitally-enabled competitors that are growing in the market and competitors today are not just from your own industry. They could be from other industries as well. So, keeping an eye on these kinds of market trends, market developments are really critical. And so that's where I would say companies need to focus on.

And of course, one of the key things that we find is trying to implement this within your organisation. Teams in an organisation tend to face internal politics. They tend to face resistance. They tend to face their own management directives or agendas. And so, bringing in an external team that can help guide this process and be maybe a little bit more provocative than an internal team to challenge leadership teams, for example, and to kind of navigate them and guide them through the process. That could be helpful as well.

DB: Kamales, some great advice there. Where can our listeners learn more about what you are writing about and your thoughts on this process?

KL: So, we have a lot of this information available on our website, Lardipartner.com. And if they connect with me personally, I'm happy to also engage with your listeners. And one of the things that motivates me is really meeting people from different industries and different regions. So, I'm really excited to engage with people one-to-one as well.

DB: Brilliant. And do we have a publisher yet for the new book?

KL: Yes, I have a publisher. It's my first contract with O’Reilly, so I'm really excited about that.

DB: Okay. We'll look after that as well. Thank you very much for joining us today!

KL: Thank you, David. Thank you, Kevin.


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