How to create a new digital business inside a large organisation

The industry understands the tangible benefits that digital transformation can bring. Improved operational efficiency, faster time to market, and meeting changing customer expectations are all well-recognised benefits of the process.

Creating new digital solutions when you are a start-up is relatively straightforward, and these disruptors threaten to revolutionise the industry and take advantage of the opportunities that digital technology will bring.

Large organisations however are struggling to keep pace with these new digital based start-ups and run the risk of negatively impacting revenues and falling behind the competition. Truly innovating whilst also managing an existing business and dealing with the legacy challenges is no mean feat.

Here are some tips on how to build and nurture a new digital business from within a large organisation:

Make sure your technology is ‘digitally fit’

Digital transformation comes with its pitfalls and developing new digital products and services fast enough to stay abreast of this rapidly developing is challenging. However, data holds the transformation key! Data Science goes that one step further and helps to promote the value of AI (deep learning) for organisations through a combination of the right strategy, technology and skills.

Investing in a machine learning solution is a savvy move. An intelligent tool, it processes the ‘automated & actionable insights’ that are often invisible to the human eye. Businesses can use this to analyze the complex data and make more informed decisions as a result. And the payoff can be significant with an increase in revenue more likely, as well as a growth of the bottom line.

 Data is the key to operational and digital transformation and harnessing the transformative power of Data Science requires the careful consideration and deployment of a water-tight strategy. There needs to be a disciplined approach to the capture, management and processing of all types of data to avoid being overwhelmed by its mass, and more galvanized by its potential.

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Address the skills gap

The digital skills gap still appears to haunt the UK market. In fact, European Commission figures show that around 37% of workers in Europe don’t have even basic digital skills, not to mention the more advanced and specialised skills companies need to successfully adopt digital technologies.

That crucial knowledge of rapidly changing modern technologies and implementing modern ways of developing new digital products in a time sensitive environment can be hard to come by. The recruitment process can be extremely time consuming, expensive and competitive.

Companies, therefore, need to immediately invest more in programmes that enable their workforce to upskill, or even reskill. Diving into those untapped pools of talent to explore the possibility of having those potential candidates already at your fingertips. Talent retention is also key. Ensure that you provide an inspiring and purpose-led environment that values a diverse and inclusive culture and has social impact at the top of the agenda.

Secure executive board level support

 The road to digital transformation utopia is laden with hurdles, however, when nurtured and executed properly, the rewards can be boundless.

 Address the C-suite’s lack of urgency and strategy when it comes to digital innovation. There is still a significant shortage of organisations fully embracing digital transformation as a collaborative effort between business and IT. Digital transformation needs to be led at executive board level with many industries recognising that a company-wide ‘digital-first’ approach needs to be driven by a chief digital officer, as well as a significant increase in budget allocation.

Most importantly, be bold!

Start small and create one product that can inspire the business and technology. Be ruthless and focus on one product, collaborate internally but, also bring in outside skills to complement the knowledge and capabilities that no doubt exist inside the organisation. And most importantly, send that rallying cry out to your leaders including, the CEO and even the board. It is their support that will ignite the fuse of success for your digital transformation journey. 

Written by Andy Ross, co-founder and managing director at Gravity 9

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