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Trending Paths: Navigating Digital Transformation

Written by Airwalk Reply Senior Consultant Louis Maxwell

Airwalk Reply prioritises continuous personal development, encouraging employees to attend industry conferences to gain cutting-edge knowledge in line with our values: Pursue Excellence and Be Ambitious. 

Senior Consultant Louis Maxwell shares his key findings from the 2024 Digital Transformation Conference at London’s County Hall. Leaders from global businesses like Kingfisher and Mastercard discussed successful strategies amidst tech and cultural complexities, highlighting the crucial role of people in navigating change.

Vision, strategy and the importance of bringing people on the journey 

This, you may think, is an obvious starting point, but clear vision, strategy and the human journey are all too often overlooked, forgotten about along the way or not brought to life in the right way.

It was pointed out that most transformations succeed or fail because of their leaders and the teams around them. Therefore, it is critical that the right team is mobilised behind a clear vision and strategy and that the people within an organisation are guided carefully through the journey of transition.

Key Takeaways

  1. Your transformation vision must align with the business's goals and serve its customers.
  2. Ensure there is a clear vision and strategy, AND that everyone is on board. This will involve different approaches for different stakeholders and may take time but frontloading as much of this work as possible will pay off in the end.
  3. Ensure the vision and strategy are revisited throughout the journey. People will need to be reminded of what you are looking to achieve, as the journey is often long, and scope creep usually materialises, meaning you can get lost along the way.
  4. Quick wins matter! If value can be created early, this will help secure buy-in, support the transition and even unlock future funding.
  5. Overcommunicate. We agree with this in principle; however, in this world of so much noise, it can be a challenge. Watch out for future Airwalk Reply conversations on this topic. 
  6. Run your transformation customer engagement/communications as a marketing campaign as you would if you were bringing a new product or service to market, as you will need a multifaceted approach to land it, particularly if you are working in a global environment.

Determining whether the change is right for your business and preparing your organisation for change

There were several great conversations in this area, but here are the topics of discussion and summaries that interested me the most:

  1. It is really important that CTOs are aligned with the business when it comes to technology, but they should not look to say yes to everything they desire. There is a difficult balance to strike here, and it can become tricky as technology funding models differ between organisations, but many tech leaders are facing the same problem of having too many different technologies to manage. Usually, this is driven by business lines either going off and implementing their own technologies within their own business, or demanding IT departments to implement things based on short-term market demands / external influences. A CTO’s priority should be to make technology invisible where possible, focus on ‘vanilla’ and ‘out-of-the-box’ where they can, and reduce the number of technology applications that an organisation has to manage/maintain as we all know, the more you have, the more cost to the business and the more risk you are exposed to. However, the right supporting technology needs to be selected to give the business’s customers the best possible experience of interacting with the organisation and it needs to drive the efficient running of the business. This really comes down to completing a comprehensive business case and long-term financial case for the technology, considering its full lifecycle. Good awareness of the market a technology operates in will also be critical in making good technology decisions.
  2. There needs to be an emphasis on data-driven decision-making, with the right data! Once again, this is obvious but too often overlooked. It was quoted that a business’ leadership team generally makes decisions with around 4% of data presented to them. Therefore, ensuring meaningful data (the right 4%!) is presented in a consumable way that enables these key decisions to be made is critical to progressing any transformation delivery. 
  3. Multiple times, the topic of ensuring your organisation is ready for transformational change came up, and references to focusing up-front effort on refining organisational processes before even considering any technology were tabled. This is something we see rear its head frequently; as a business, you need to get your house in order before plastering technology on top of your fragmented processes. It was suggested that most organisations are running with around 40% waste in their business processes. Then throw multiple technologies into the mix, and what do you get? Inefficiencies, further wasted cost, and poor user experience. Very often, we’ve gone into organisations and determined that a new piece of technology is not required; a few tweaks to existing processes and leveraging existing technology will generate the transformational value that is needed. This led to the industry’s current favourite buzzwords, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how we are all expected to whack this technology into the mix, but as was discussed at the event, AI is only as good as the processes you have in place. Some large language models and chat-bot type offerings (that won’t be named) actually expect you to rework how your organisation operates to be able to successfully apply the technology. You then also must consider any AI-related policies and governance that must be in place before you can even switch the thing on, so it’s increasingly important to partner with an experienced organisation in this space, particularly if you are operating in a regulated environment. Once again, it is critical to do this work upfront and factor into the financial business case.
  4. Finally, a focus on human-centric design was a topic of discussion that presenters and the audience alike wanted to address. Occasionally, a transformation initiative doesn’t land because the technology or process is not intuitive, and users find alternative ways to avoid using it. This is where human-centric design really needs to be at the heart of any new end-user-facing technology and process. Key takeaways are: get your business end users/customers involved as early as possible to test and play with anything you are considering implementing, get them to work through changes to processes and empower them to influence the design of new solutions as this will foster the best outcomes in the longer term, it also helps with landing the transformational change. 

Building and nurturing a high-performance transformation delivery team 

It was clear that one of the top priorities for technology leaders right now is building and nurturing a high-performance transformation delivery team/capability. 
We all know that change is constant, and businesses need to adapt and change at a pace never seen before. 

Technology leaders want to ensure they build the right capabilities internally to develop and retain knowledge, experience and a consistent approach to delivering change, but where needed, they shouldn’t hesitate to partner with organisations that can augment the business’s transformation delivery team(s) to help evolve their capabilities and deliver change faster and more effectively.

Reassuringly, there were some good discussions on recruitment for transformation delivery teams around the point that we shouldn’t always be looking for perfect, polished candidates but should look for passionate individuals who are committed to development and provide them with an environment where they have room to grow and develop. 


Many of the takeaways highlighted in this article seem obvious, but organisations are not always following them or doing them well. Events such as the Digital Transformation conference are good reminders of things to consider when undertaking transformational change initiatives and to get the context around why they are important for so many different organisations across numerous industries and various types of projects. 

Airwalk Reply is an experienced technology and change delivery partner. Not only do we design, build and deliver technology to a high standard, but we support with strategic vision setting and navigating complex transformational change journeys resulting in successful technology adoption. 

If you would like to know more about partnering with us, please get in touch.

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