In a lively panel discussion on day two of DMEXCO, Rahmyn Kress, CDO of Henkel, Deborah Koyama, CMO (Europe) at Mondelēz, and Geoff Ramsey, Chairman and Co-Founder of research specialist eMarketer, debated the different ways a business can undergo that inevitable digital transformation journey.
The FMCG sector has had its fair share of disruption in recent years. This has encompassed everything from an eCommerce revolution, which set the foundations for the meteoric rise of online platforms like Amazon and Alibaba; to the advent of new business models such as subscription services; to the recent emergence of direct-to-consumer brands. “We’re living in a hyper connected world and we have been living that way for some time,” notes Kress, CDO at Henkel. “We are going through certain steps of evolution – we saw in the media industry how [it] has been highly disrupted and changed and we’re seeing it in other industries too.”
While technology is vital for the digital transformation that business needs to make now, it is by no means sufficient. There is a culture and systems challenge to tackle along that journey. Ultimately, the end goal can only be reached with the support of the ‘3Ps of digital transformation’: people, process, and partnerships.
“My mission is to unlock the talent in [our] organisation, as well as ignite the powerful portfolio of brands that we have at Mondelēz,” says Deborah Koyama, elaborating on her personal mission to build capabilities and drive digital talent across snacks brand Mondelēz. Her work to increase digital skills within the marketing department includes the launch of a digital accelerator and Koyama is subscribing to the “70/20/10 rule” to help embed digital knowledge within the organisation.
Commonly used by L&D teams when rolling out strategic training programmes, the 70/20/10 methodology of learning states that while 70% of learning happens on the job and 20% happens through social interaction, the 10% – what we at Circus Street believe to be the most vital part of any training programme – is the essential knowledge injection, gained from formal training. Koyama believes that 10% is vital for her teams: “I love the 70/20/10 approach, because we still have to help the business run […] so we’re going to spend time, resources and people on the 70% and continue to innovate – which we do a lot at Mondelēz – but to push us and leap us forward to the future, I believe a lot in the 10%”.
It is all very well training up your talent to leverage new digital technologies but if you don’t change the way your organisation operates then your transformation journey may well grind to a halt. Businesses can really advance their digital transformation by empowering employees to change certain processes within organisations. “You need to help, you need to encourage, you need to give trust,” argues Kress.
Collaboration is critical. Henkel’s culture, explains Kress, incorporates a drive to collaborate and learn from different business units. “In our case we have three business units and we have a lot of innovation and transformation going on,” he says. “To learn from one another, to find those cases that work really well, [to] share those experiences of something that hasn’t worked […] is paramount”.
Koyama agrees, noting that although she is seeing a greater level of collaboration throughout the C-Suite, the challenge of silos within Mondelēz is still a hurdle to greater collaboration. “The siloes challenge is a constant,” she states. “It’s an evolving conversation in how to integrate all the functions, how to break down the silos, but more than ever we have to be connected.”
This sense of collaboration becomes all the more important when companies start to drive their transformation forward through partnerships – whether internally within their company, or externally, when collaborating with experts outside the business. “We need to do these things together. It is absolutely essential because we are behind,” says Kress. Companies – he says – should also embrace collaboration with other businesses, including competitors, in order to really understand the value of digital technologies. “Open collaboration and sharing between corporate companies and learning from what start-ups have done well, is phenomenal.”
Koyama is a strong advocate for partnerships too. There is a real need for certain business functions to be closely aligned throughout the business transformation process, she says. “Because of digital transformation, we need to be very connected with the CTO and with technology,” she noted. “I believe in partnerships in a big way, and the link with the CTO is critical.”
Your Own Journey
Digital transformation, arguably the foremost business buzzword of the last few years, needs a keen focus. Whilst brands embrace digital transformation as a way to navigate the disruption that digital technologies have brought to business and drive business growth, they need to plan their individual transformation journey carefully. “Disruption isn’t really the right term – it’s actually an evolution,” says Kress. “The reality is that as things evolve you have to evolve with them. You need to find your own digital transformation journey, which relates to your products, customer base and the journey that is taking place there.”
More than just a buzzword, the time for Digital Transformation is here, and that poses a real challenge for many businesses. Understanding the threat and embracing change can be the difference between surviving in this digital world and getting left behind. For more insight into the challenges and opportunities that Digital Transformation brings, check out our lessons on the subject here or check out our Digital Transformation playlist on our YouTube channel.