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How to manage transformational change successfully



Adrian Odds, Marketing and Innovation Director, CDS

2020 accelerated change in the business landscape significantly. Many were already considering – or in the early stages of digital transformation projects, but the pandemic introduced a sense of national urgency and for some organisations, many years of planned transformation were squeezed into just a few short weeks.

Change can be more difficult for traditional organisations – particularly large enterprises which tend to operate in tightly controlled silos. Here, it can be hard to build consensus around the need for change, but it can equally be hard to then build and maintain momentum, without destabilising operating units and creating a multi-speed organisation. When change is rapid, as it was in the early months of 2020, it’s just as important to watch out for the dreaded law of unintended digital consequences. Rapid improvements in one business process or part of the customer experience can cause significant challenges up and down the value chain that might result in unexpected cost, poor customer or employee experience and negative sentiment.

Many digital change programmes stall when faced with these challenges, and it can be tempting to think it’s easier to stay exactly where you are, but this can cause more problems and leave businesses trailing behind forward-thinking competitors.

The good news is there’s help available, and organisations don’t need to go it alone. Working with the right partner can itself be transformational, particularly when they are focused on enabling your strategic change and aligned with you on improving outcomes, whether that be improved public services, increased customer engagement, or more efficient business processes. With the right guidance, companies can make informed decisions and deliver the right intended outcomes. Therefore, some key advice follows…

  1. Know thyself

Adrian Odds

Modern organisations must work for everyone, not just the majority, and that means putting accessibility and inclusivity at the heart of any change. According to the ONS, 10% of UK citizens are ‘internet non-users’ (never having used it or not in the last 3 months). While this number has halved since 2011, it still represents 5.3m people, who are not being served by your snazzy new digital engagement strategy…

Employees are also critical to the success of your digital transformation. Gartner’s view of ‘Total Experience’ draws a direct relationship between employee experience, customer experience and organisational success. If your teams are not enabled, and engaged, your transformation is at risk.

Anecdotally and somewhat reassuringly, we are finding that every new digital programme our agency is being asked to support is starting with a robust Discovery phase, one that embraces both mainstream, and hard to reach audiences. Clearly lessons have been learnt and we must build our new digital worlds for everyone.

  1. Expect the unexpected

What makes change so complex is that it doesn’t happen in one place, but across the whole business, and often all at once. Therefore, leaders run the risk of creating unintended consequences – by altering one thing it can often impact another area of the business.

So, it is important to take into consideration the relationship between all aspects of implementing a shift – people, technology, customer experience, operations, communication, ecommerce, finance – It’s all connected.

By mapping out a clear plan, objectives and outcomes, organisations can be prepared for all scenarios and build consensus around the purpose and reasons for the change – which doesn’t have to impact timing or budget.

  1. Ensure the right digital platforms are in place

Technology sits at the core of every business. But legacy systems – which no longer support updates – and disconnected tech which lacks integration can make employees jobs much harder and consequently, can lead to bad employee and customer experience.

A change to an organisation’s technology can be difficult and expensive but working with the right partner and insight, can help you to make sound decisions, ease the burden and save costs. Whether it’s cloud migration or legacy application and systems transformation, the key to successful change comes from planning and refinement. Once foundations are in place, organisations can move at a pace that’s right for them – adapting one part of their ecosystem at a time, in a planned and thoughtful way.

  1. Optimise your operations

Businesses – particularly large organisations – rely heavily on procedures. Therefore, this can be slow and difficult to alter. But when faced with customer issues or new regulations, such as quality or security standards, operational transformation is crucial.

There are many ways to do this effectively, which have a positive effect on efficiency and employee productivity. Operational process mapping can help companies detect practices which could be improved, identifying bottlenecks in workflows and other manual tasks which can be automated.

Again, planning here and user engagement are critical to success. Efficiency improvements can feel intimidating when imposed on employees, but when created collaboratively, perhaps using no or low-code technology solutions, can feel empowering and transformational.

  1. Focus on experience

Improving human experience should be at the heart of everything a business sets out to do. Whether that’s putting a digital experience platform strategy in place or conducting behavioural insight, research, and analysis to help roll out a new scheme, a user-centred approach is crucial to success.

Organisations need to engage with their audience, find out what they are thinking or what they are looking for in a new service, and adjust business plans accordingly.

A company which understands its customers’ needs and ensures these are taken care of in all areas – from front end user experience to communication delivery – will excel in their market.

  1. It’s not just digital

If you need to reach every household in the country with a piece of critical or regulatory communications, there are still precious few ways that can be done – and none of them digital. And there are plenty of situations where physical or print engagement is the right method to build engagement and drive action – whether that be signage, letters, leaflets, or maps.

But when you simply don’t have the resources to manage this internally, business process outsourcing is the perfect answer. Solutions can include print management, marketing print, data management, transactional print and mail and hybrid mail, where traditional print drivers are replaced with a direct link to a secure manufacturing site, enabling your remote teams to serve customers without access to office printers. All these strategies ensure you are constantly engaging with your target audience in the right way for them, and clearly communicating any changes being made.

Transformational change doesn’t have to be complex, and complex change doesn’t have to be hard. By starting early, assessing all areas of the business and the needs of your stakeholders, and making sure the right digital resources are in place, success is guaranteed.



Unlocking the Power of Data: Revolutionising Business Success in the Financial Services Sector




Suki Dhuphar, Head of EMEA, Tamr


The financial services (FS) sector operates within an immensely data-abundant landscape. But it’s well-known that many organisations in the sector struggle to make data-driven decisions because they lack access to the right data to make decisions at the right time.

As the sector strives for a data-driven approach, companies focus on democratising data, granting non-technical users the ability to work with and leverage data for informed decision-making. However, dirty data, riddled with errors and inconsistencies, can lead to flawed analytics and decision-making. Siloed data across departments like Marketing, Sales, Operations, or R&D exacerbates this issue. Breaking down these barriers is essential for effective data democratisation and achieving accurate insights for decision-making.

An antidote to dirty, disconnected data

Overcoming the challenges presented by dirty, disconnected data is not a new problem. But, there are new solutions – such as shifting strategies to focus on data products – which are proven to deliver great results. But, what is a data product?

Data products are high-quality, accessible datasets that organisations use to solve business challenges. Data products are comprehensive, clean, and continuously updated. They make data tangible to serve specific purposes defined by consumers and provide value because they are easy to find and use. For example, an investment firm can benefit from data products to gain insights into market trends and attract more capital. These offer a scalable solution for connecting alternative data sources, providing accurate and continuously updated views of portfolio companies. Using machine learning (ML) based technology enables the data product to adapt to new data sources, giving a firm’s partners confidence in their investment decisions.

Suki Dhuphar

But, before companies can reap the benefits of data products, the development of a robust data product strategy is a must.

Where to begin?

Prior to embarking on a data product strategy, it is imperative to establish clear-cut objectives that align with your organisation’s overarching business goals. Taking an incremental approach enables you to make a real impact against a specific objective – such as streamlining operations to enhance cost efficiency or reshaping business portfolios to drive growth – by starting with a more manageable goal and then building upon it as the use case is proved. For companies that find themselves uncertain about where to begin their move to data products, tackling your customer data is a good place to start for some quick wins to increase the success of the customer experience programmes.

Getting a good grasp on data

Once an objective is in place, it’s time for an organisation to assess its capabilities for executing the data product strategy. To do this, you need to dig into the nitty-gritty details like where the data is, how accurate and complete it is, how often it gets updated, and how well it’s integrated across different departments. This will give a solid grasp of the actual quality of the data and help allocate resources more efficiently. At this stage, you should also think about which stakeholders from across the business from leadership to IT will need to be involved in the process and how.

Once that’s covered, you can start putting together a skilled team and assigning responsibilities to kick-off the creation and management of a comprehensive data platform that spans all relevant departments. This process also helps spot any gaps early on, so you can focus on targeted initiatives.

Identifying the problem you will solve

Now let’s move on to the next step in our data product strategy. Here we need to identify a specific problem or challenge that is commonly faced in your organisation. It’s likely that leaders in different departments, like R&D or procurement, encounter obstacles that hinder their objectives that could be overcome with better insight and information. By defining a clear use case, you will build a real solution to a challenge they are facing rather than a data product for the sake of having data. This will be an impactful case study for your entire organisation to understand the potential benefits of data products and increase appetite for future projects.

Getting buy-in from the business

Once you have identified the problem you want to solve, you need to secure the funding, support, and resources to move the project ahead. To do that, you must present a practical roadmap that shows how you will quickly deliver value. You should also showcase how to improve it over time once the initial use case is proven.

The plan should map how you will measure success effectively with specific indicators (such as KPIs) that are closely tied to business goals. These indicators will give you a benchmark of what success looks like so you can clearly show when you’ve delivered it.

Getting the most out of your data product

Once you’ve got the green light – and the funds – it’s time to put your plan into action by creating a basic version of your data product, also known as a minimum viable data product (MVDP). By starting small and gradually enhancing with each new release you are putting yourself in the best stead to encourage adoption and also (coming back to our iterative approach) help you secure more resources and funding down the line.

To make the most of your data product, it’s essential to tap into the knowledge and experience of business partners as they know how to make the most of the data product and integrate it into existing workflows. Additionally, collecting feedback and using it to improve future releases will bring even more value to end users in the business and, in turn, your customers.

Unlocking the power of data (products)

It’s crucial for companies in FS to make the most of the huge amount of data they have at their disposal. It simply doesn’t make sense to leave this data tapped and not use it to solve real challenges for end users in the business and, in turn, improve the customer experience! By adopting effective strategies for data products, FS organisations can start to maximise the incredible value of their data.

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Making the Maths Work: Addressing Inflation Challenges through Measuring and Managing Risk




Matt Clementson, Head of Enterprise UK&I

Persistent inflation is highly troublesome for every business – with or without a recession. In addition to causing unexpected expenses, it complicates decision-making around stabilising wages, setting product prices, and investing in new areas for growth. Meanwhile, stock and bond prices plummet when alarming inflation data arrives and interest rates increase. It’s time to run leaner, making the reassessment of the strategic objectives highly urgent.

With a seat in the boardroom, CFOs can guide thoughtful discussions covering everything from procurement, resource allocation, and manufacturing to the alignment of business purpose with operational tactics and goals. CFOs must also rethink how their business measure and mitigate risk. Understanding the business’ vulnerability, they can add considerable value to their business by identifying risks early and making organisations accountable for mitigating them.

When the economy becomes uncomfortable, the mathematics behind business operations no longer work seamlessly. During more comfortable times businesses have the luxury to accept some degree of inefficiency and low productivity – but in times like these that’s no longer the case.

So now it’s more important that ever for CFOs to use the right tools and technology to manage and mitigate risk and build business resilience.

Enhancing visibility to measure and manage risk:

To navigate through periods of high inflation, CFOs need technologies that provide comprehensive visibility, and enable informed decision-making, in order to optimising cash flow, minimise     costs and manage risk in a transparent and efficient way.

1. Simplify confusing processes to gain moments of clarity

Effective risk management starts with integrating data from various sources within the organisation. By consolidating data from finance, operations, procurement, and sales, CFOs can gain a holistic view of the business landscape. This integration enables them to identify potential risks associated with inflation, such as rising costs, supply chain disruptions, or changes in customer demand patterns. With access to comprehensive and real-time data, CFOs can make informed decisions that mitigate the impact of inflation on the organisation.

A good first step is to unify travel, expense, and invoice solutions, so that finance teams can integrate and streamline operations and scale spend processes without adding additional resources.

2. Make spending decisions with data-driven accuracy

Once data is integrated, CFOs can leverage advanced analytics techniques to identify patterns, trends, and potential risks. Predictive analytics can help identify inflationary pressures, allowing businesses to proactively adjust pricing strategies or negotiate favourable terms with suppliers. Additionally, scenario modelling can simulate the impact of different inflation rates on the organisation’s financials, enabling CFOs to devise appropriate strategies for managing risk. By harnessing the power of analytics, CFOs can navigate inflation challenges with greater confidence and precision.

3.Driving business agility through automation

Facing a myriad of disruptors, companies in every industry are making strategic decisions aimed at remaining competitive in the market and with their people. Digitisation, standardisation, and automation will be critical as businesses focus on solving problems for their customers in innovative, lasting ways

AI technologies, such as machine learning algorithms, can analyse vast amounts of data to uncover hidden insights and patterns. And with automated, customisable controls, CFOs can keep their firm agile – re-adjusting spend controls to match the corporate travel and expense (T&E) policy whenever their business needs to adapt or pivot. Only then will spending insights allow them to review how policies impact business performance and continue to optimise cash management.

Making the maths work

In a business environment plagued by persistent inflation, CFOs play a crucial role in addressing the associated challenges. By rethinking how their organisations measure and manage risk, CFOs can enhance their decision-making capabilities and add significant value. The integration of data, advanced analytics, and AI technologies enables CFOs to build resilience, standardise processes, ensure compliance, and deliver insights to the entire enterprise. By making the maths work in the face of inflation, businesses can navigate uncertain economic times with confidence and stay on the path of sustainable growth.

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