Transforming Culture – Against All Odds

Kimberly Storin
Chief Marketing Officer
Automatic Summary

The Power of Digital Transformation: A Closer Look at Accelerating Business Transformation

Welcome everyone! In today's digital world, we are seeing a rapid acceleration of digital transformation within businesses, harnessing the power of data and technology to create a digitally transformed enterprise. This topic, which holds a great interest to me as a data junkie and the current Chief Marketing Officer in a billion dollar telecommunication company, goes beyond just seeing how well my ads are performing or what region is outperforming another. Today, I'd like to share some insight on what digital transformation truly means and how to effectively implement it within your organization.

The Global Bandwidth Wave: The Data Obsession

Over the years, the world has grown obsessed with data. It's not just a trend; it's a race to digitize everything and the hunger for global bandwidth is increasing exponentially. According to projections, by 2023, about 56% of the world's global G BP is set to be driven by digitally transformed enterprises. It's not a minor figure; it's an overwhelming surge. This transformation, aided by IoT devices projected to generate around 73 Zetta bytes by 2025, is paving the way to a future where businesses are digital enabling a more efficient, productive, and streamlined way of conducting business.

The Art and Science of Transformation

As we marvel at these stats and the promise of technology, we need to remind ourselves that adaption of digital transformation strategies needs careful planning. Leaders need to address the science and art of transformation. It's not only about implementing technology tools and protocols but also about the culture of the organizations fostering this change. This change isn't just about talking tech but talking business - from operational excellence, agility, customer experience to the ultimate goal of growing revenue. This conversation shift is the first step to embracing digital transformation.

Centers of Excellence Mentality: From Service Model to Enabler

Another important aspect of digital acceleration is what I call the 'Center of Excellence' mentality. This concept requires us to shift from simply being a service model to becoming a force for transforming how we implement technology. This approach involves not just focusing on experimentation but also on applications, resource allocation, and people, creating a cohesive framework for handling all the stages of digitization processes.

The Change Agents: Advocacy for a Culture of Change

Leadership plays a crucial role in a company's digital transformation. Ultimately, the implementation of these processes requires a culture of change. The leaders in the organization should advocate a change in culture, not just within themselves but throughout the organization. This implies that everybody within the organization should cultivate a 'Curiosity Mindset' - a mindset where we constantly seek knowledge and improvement within the insight economy we live in today.

Navigating the Road of Transformation

Much like a marathon, the journey towards transformation is filled with the bending and turning paths of decision-making processes, defining boundaries, and settting a clear 'north star'. This journey demands that we maintain more than just a technological approach. It insists that we have conversations about bias, ethics and people-oriented strategies, and understand the importance of being "comfortable with being uncomfortable". It reminds us that when we adopt a holistic approach, every step we take is one step closer in achieving a digital business

As we embark on our respective journeys to the digital realm, it is important to remember the things discussed - changing the narrative, building a center of excellence, and being change agents within our organizations. It's not an easy road, but one that holds the promise of an efficient, successful digital enterprise. Here's to the bright future ahead!

Video Transcription

Hi, everyone. We'll just give folks a few seconds to join. All right, I think we'll go ahead and jump in. Thank you so much for joining me virtually today. It's a pleasure to be here.Um And I'm really excited to talk to you about a topic that's extremely near and dear to my heart, which is culture. Um And, and so I wanted to kind of start off by sharing a little bit about myself. Um I am a data junkie. Um So as you can, as you can imagine, um I have a passion for data and insights and an admiration for, for people who make all of that possible. Um So tech leaders, especially uh I'm obsessed with marketing and data when it comes to, to being a marketer as a chief marketing officer at a $2.5 billion tele company. I'm thinking about data all the time. How are my display ads performing? Is my brand awareness approving what region is overperforming another region? Um And how, how is my audience relating to, to the messages that I'm delivering as a runner? Um I'm also obsessed with data as you. I can see some of my data here. I track every single step I take on my Garmin watch. Um, and I like to, to understand how my heart rate is and what's my vo two max? How is that? How am I performing in humidity?

I mean, how do I compare against my average as well as, um, others who are, are similar? Um, but I know it's not just me ultimately that is, is obsessed with, with data. Um It's also the world that's obsessed with data. And it's each of our organizations, the race is really on to digitize everything. And what we're seeing is that digital transformation is no longer just a, you know, a um check box on a program management agenda. It really is digital acceleration. Um Every business right now is looking to see how they transform into a digital business. So for us at ZO, right, we see that demand for global bandwidth is growing rapidly. Um by 2023 we're, we're expecting to see about 56% of the world's global G BP that's set to be driven by digitally transformed enterprises. That's an incredible number, right? We, we know that IOT and edge is transforming how we do business really allowing for us to compute in the places where we're serving our customers. And we're expecting to see the amount of data that's generated by IOT devices to exceed 73 Zetta bytes by, by 2025. So that's a ton of data um that we're all producing. Oops, I apologize for that. Um And so, you know, ultimately, as we got through COVID, it wasn't just about how we serve our customers. It's also about how organizations digitize themselves, right? Our, our workforces are now dispersed.

We are, we're seeing distribution across the board with our customers, with our employees, with our partners that we serve. And so ultimately, the question really becomes like, how do we as business leaders get ready to, to help this cultural transformation as each of our businesses adopts digital transformation as part of our ongoing, you know, business um applications. So I'm in a really unique position because I get to work with, you know, tech leaders in very large enterprises and, and they're at the um you know, they're really at the the precipice of, of solving some of these challenges, you know, ultimately, we see that um digital transformation is different in every single organization that we talk to.

We recently did a survey and we found that 86% of the organizations that we talk to are in the midst of a digital transformation. But two thirds of those organizations said that they're only at the early stages of of making this digital transformation real. So that's a big gap between aspiration and, and reality and, and that's a gap that, that we all as business leaders have to help solve for if we wanna be able to to take advantage and, and stay ahead of the, the curve. I don't know about you, but I am constantly amazed at the promise of the technology while I was at IBM, I got to work with the number one and number two supercomputers in the world. Um And they're doing amazing things with A I. Um they're looking at materials at a nanoscale, they are doing complex computational fluid dynamics at a scale that we just really couldn't before um we're starting to see autonomous vehicles. Um And obviously, the the benefits of A I for health care like genomics, um and cancer research, et cetera um as well as some really basic optimization in supply chain and logistics. So the, the, the hype is real, the, the promise is there. But as we really start to look at things like this hype cycle from Gartner, we start to see that we're, you know, we're at the peak of inflated expectations or in the trough of disillusionment when it comes to really implementing A I at scale.

Now we're starting to see some of the, you know, the benefit, it's become a little bit more tangible in terms of generative A I. So that is an exciting place. But when you really think about, you know, adopting A I embedding A I into the organizations that we lead, being able to drive that at scale, we're still pretty far behind, behind the gap. So, you know, for me, I like to think about all of the use cases that are out there. Um But recognize that, that we're all not at the same point in our journey. And, and that means that ultimately, we're going to have to think about how we climb these hills in order to make digital transformation a a true reality. Um So, you know, we're at this inflection point, we all, we all understand it. The real question is, will hype and experimentation truly transform into to widespread adoption and real return on investment. In order to get there, we have to reconsider how we as leaders address the science and the art of transformation, the science and the art of transformation, right?

There's a science behind it, right? There's a playbook and a process and a protocol technology tools that we can adopt to to make transformation real. But there's also an art, you know, there's the the the culture that comes along with, with making a transformation of this magnitude of being able to move from the the digital aspirations that we have into a true digital business. And so as you know, as we start to think about the art and the science, we have to think about how we as leaders can help our organizations transform and recognize the benefits that this digital transformation and digital acceleration can, can bear upon us all. So there's a couple of things that I like to to bring to the table in terms of of the frameworks that we can each adopt when it comes to to driving digital acceleration or digital transformation. The first piece of the process is changing the narrative, right? This is this is a part of that art that's so important. So how we go from talking about transformation as if it's technology, right? So you you hear people talking about things like I'm modernizing our, our infrastructure or I'm moving to the cloud, I'm adopting multi cloud, I'm adopting neural networks, um things like that very technologically oriented in terms of that transformation narrative.

The next step is moving that into a use case based narrative. So how are we thinking about solving for fraud? For example, how are we automating our it systems? How are we ensuring that our advertising is more effective? So starting to change the narrative from technology to business use case is kind of step one of how we change that narrative step two is is really changing the framework even further to talk about business drivers. So instead of thinking about just those use cases, now we want to think about operational excellence, agility across our entire organization, digitizing the customer experience and ultimately growing revenue. So by reframing the narrative, reframing, how we start to talk about the benefits of transformation can really help us in terms of of how we set the stage within our organizations to to adopt that change. So the second part of this is how we shift our mentality around a center of excellence. So traditionally, we've seen that A I transformation or digital transformation has started with some data scientists or um you know, small teams kind of kicking the tires, maybe there's a server under a uh you know, under a desk somewhere, maybe there's a um you know, small swat team that's starting to, to put their heads together in terms of how to, to change the trajectory of digital transformation initiatives.

But ultimately, we have to all be fighting for a seat at that table because it's a team sport at the end of the day. Um This means that organizations have to adopt a center of excellence mindset. It means that it has to shift from just being a service model to to now really being an enabler and, and taking almost what I would call a product management approach um to changing the way that we do experimentation and implementation within our organizations. Um The center of excellence really goes beyond what I would call the, the typical R and D or incubation model because it also has to include early guidance and engagement on scalable implementation. So we have to look at experimentation. Um And then we have to look at the criteria for really implementation, implementation at scale and and what resources, people, talent budget requirements, like what do we need in order to design an organization that can truly truly drive a um digital transformation at scale and in production.

Driving ro I the third part is about being an advocate for change in culture, right? It's not just about the work that we're doing and, and the um you know, the impact that we're having, it's also are you bringing along the organization as you go? And, and one of the things that we can do is is each of us can be an advocate for culture and change within our organization. Um Because at the end of the day, Digital Transformation A I transformation is ultimately just business transformation. And the same principles that you might find in any transformation exercise around culture, organization, change management apply to a digital transformation. So it requires us to really step up to break down the silos and, and ensure that the work that we're doing is truly providing a competitive advantage for our business. So it means that we have to start and end with the customer in mind. Um And it ultimately means that we have to embed a curiosity mindset across the entire team across the entire organization. Um to, to really drive this, ultimately, we're living in the insight economy. Um And, and that requires that we continuously ask ourselves questions that we never assume that we know the answer and that we're embedding that spirit for change and culture throughout our organizations.

And so, you know, at Zo, when I think about what we're doing, it's, it's really a, a marathon, not a sprint, right? We are, you know, we are embarking on a, you know, a great shift in terms of organizations that are doing this type of work that need bandwidth. Um And so we are really starting to think about how do we embark on this, this journey. And ultimately, you know, we started by um approaching our transformation in terms of centralizing functions and really thinking about that center of excellence model and thinking about um how do we map out the customer journey holistically and systematically in order to tackle our biggest customer experience challenges.

Um We also looked at some acquisitions as a way to enhance the customer experience and enhance our trans information enabling us to, to accelerate our digital transformation faster in the market. Um And so, you know, you've seen some of that through an acquisition that we did with an edge computing company as well as an acquisition that we did with a um education organization. But ultimately, just like all of you who are on these these digital transformation journeys, we still have challenges when it comes to decision making processes and boundaries. And, and that's why we're working really hard to, to clarify our transformation nor star and, and make sure that teams have 80% of, of the information that they need to adopt and go and that only 20% of the hardest problems are, are getting escalated and, and this means that we're, we're really setting a framework.

Um We want to be able to answer questions around this process. We want not just the leaders in this journey to be the change in culture um advocates that I talked about, but really we want that to trickle down throughout the entire organization. So we're hoping to set those guard rails so that we can spend more time making the game changing decisions around our transformation and letting the team be empowered to ultimately drive the um the small incremental changes that, that they need to do every day to move us along on, on that journey to our North Star.

Um You know, as you're approaching your marathon around transformation and, and thinking about those three things that I talked about how to, how to change the narrative, how to build a center of excellence, and how to become an advocate for culture and change. You have to be prepared for really hard conversations, transformation, whether it's, you know, moving to a digital business or transforming the the business strategy at the the heart of, of your organization, it requires all of us to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. We have to be comfortable about talking about bias and ethics, right? Because digital business requires that that's front and center. Um And we have to be, you know, also thinking about people and processes and technology as one holistic um approach versus thinking about it in silos, right?

If we only think about technology, we're never going to bring our, our people and our talent along on this journey with us. So I'm so excited about, you know, the future ahead um at ZEO and also with the customers that we work with every day. Um But I know that this journey and this marathon that we're all running towards is, is challenging. But I really believe that by bringing the framework that I've shared today um from, you know, those, those three things that I talked about in terms of changing the narrative of, of um you know, building that center of excellence and ultimately being the change and culture champions and advocates within your organization that those three things can help us accelerate our journey to um to a digital business.

So with that, I'm going to, to wrap up and I'd love to know if we've got any, any questions or comments from the audience. All right. Well, thank you so much for joining today. It was great to, to be here with you. Um If you've got any questions, please feel free to, to reach out and, and like I said, you know, this is a journey transformation and, and cultural change is hard. Um But with everyone being on the same page and focusing on, on the three things that they can do to help accelerate that transformation, all of you will be in a great place to, to drive ro I for your business. Thank you.