Transform or you'll be left with a diminished audience (podcast).

Deryck Chester, Marketing Executive
03 January 2020

In this recent conversation with Andy Davis from Venturi Group, Somo’s Chief Strategy Officer, Ross Sleight, shares his thoughts on digital disruptors and the need for customer-centric transformation across every sector. Here’s an overview of the insightful podcast:

The shift 

End users are driving the need for transformation across every sector. Customer expectations are incredibly high; set by a number of different digital services out there, including the big guys like the Ubers, the Googles and the neobank challengers. The bar has been set high and customers want seamless experiences across every sector, whether it’s buying a car, opening a bank account or buying your groceries.

The dynamic between businesses and customers is changing too. There is now a plethora of choice for customers seeking an enjoyable, transparent and engaging product experience. If you don’t meet the need, you’re not going to acquire that customer; let alone retain their loyalty. Unless you transform, you’ll be left with a diminishing audience. 

Incumbents need to wake up

In the conversation, Ross doesn’t pull any punches when he says that this is a huge wake-up call for businesses. Customers are now in a position to say: “This is what I want and this is what I expect of you; and every single time that you fail, not only will I take my business elsewhere, I will tell everyone else about it”. Social media has unbuttoned this outpouring; releasing frustrations about the legacy systems which have been at play for way too long. 

All businesses need to be more customer-centric. But the reality is that legacy companies only pay attention when they are being disrupted by start-ups and digital challengers that are getting market traction. Incumbents need to wake up to these challenges now, because the disruption continues on a sector-by-sector basis. It started with music and entertainment, moved into auto and it’s happening in the financial sector right now. We’re also starting to see it in the legal sector with AI, as well as in property and travel.

The need for cultural transformation

But it’s not only tech legacy issues that are presenting barriers for organisational change. Ross says that with the right technology, you might be able to change a product or a service in less than a year. However, looking at the organisational processes, the impact of change will probably take two or three years — overcoming decades of antiquated culture. “This cultural change is a must for organisations which have traditionally used command and control systems, and siloed-based reporting structures,'' he says — particularly, if you are starting to bring more agility into the process.

The good news is, the focus of big legacy brands is now changing. For the past twenty years, it’s been about returning as much value as possible for shareholders. But the narrative has evolved and it’s now much wider than that — it’s about stakeholders, as well as shareholders; it’s about society as a whole; it’s about employees, their health and mental wellbeing! We need to think about how we create a workforce that feels empowered to solve problems; with an end purpose to solve pain points for end customers.

An agile accelerator model reduces risk

When delivering change, an accelerator model efficiently mitigates risk. There’s a common misconception that if you move fast — the risk increases. However, to succeed in product leadership, brands must transform according to their business, customer and technical requirements. By using an accelerated model, you can prioritise and validate quicker and this – in turn – mitigates risks quicker. Using more traditional delivery methods adds extra risk – because, by the time you’ve shipped the product, the market and customer needs may have evolved. Ross says that Somo’s accelerator model adapts and mitigates these risks; allowing change prioritisation to get there as quickly as possible, while meeting customer needs. 

To learn more about how leadership, employee and customer alignment affects successful organisation change, and how digital transformation can create growth in new revenue opportunities, you can listen to the insightful podcast with Ross here.