Top 5 Takeaways from the ISG Digital Transformation Summit, Sydney 

ISG Digital Business Summit - 20 August 2019

ISG Digital Business Summit - 20 August 2019

The ISG Digital Business Summit on 20 August in Sydney, brought together CEOs, CIOs and HR directors with brands including HCL, Cognizant and IBM to talk about the state of digital transformation.  

Digital transformation isn’t new – so you may ask, what’s still to learn?  


The digital transformation discussion has moved on to practical matters to ensure transformation efforts are effective. Culture; winning transformation techniques; why becoming more transparent is a top job for Executives right now; and focusing employee engagement on valuable projects all featured heavily at the Summit.  

We’ve unpacked our top five takeaways - and how you can apply them at the office: 

1. People drive successful transformations 

The opening speaker, Scott Bertsch reinforced that digital is still and will be a very human-orientated endeavour. When you are coming up with digital transformation, the people come first and then the processes and systems come after to support your people. Focus on your people and your technology and organisation will thrive. 

Takeaway:  Leading digital transformation people-first means motivating employees, stakeholders and customers to change. Defining your organisational culture helps people to understand what you value and are trying to achieve in any transformation project.  

Scott Bretsch, (Partner & Regional Leader – Asia Pacfic, ISG, ISG Predicts: 5x5x5), pegged this well, saying: “Culture is the determinant of opportunities and governs the rate of change within your organisation.” 

Leading Edge recommends prioritising a healthy culture as a key change agent in your organisation. 

2. User Personas improve relevance - but they’re often done poorly (or not done at all)

Persona building is an under utilised organisational tool to understand users – whether for internal improvements or customer-facing projects. Brett Moorgas from HCL outlined a set of essential questions that help to build user personas that work: 

How do users access the information and when? 

What do users have to do to obtain that information? 

What kind of information do users want and when do they want it? Employees and users require information at different times, and it is critical that technology displays relevant information at the right times. 

Case example: User Interaction with Soccer matches

  • Pre-match, customers want more news on who is going to play in the match.

  • During the game, users wants to see more commentary and share moments on social media.

  • After the game, users want to know why their team won/loss where they access more statistical information. 

“Within your personas, understand which information is the most relevant to your users and at what time” – Brett Moorgas, Director, Advisor & Analyst Relations – Asia Pacific / Middle East, HCL Technologies, Lessons from the Front Lines – Digital at Scale 

Leading Edge Takeaway: Personas can help make your organisation more relevant and valued but you still need to deliver what your users want. For example, the relevance and value of information to a user is a function of timeliness - if your platform cannot deliver to a user in time, value is decreased. Building personas is often therefore, a pre-cursor to reviewing and optimising not only technology, but operations, skills and KPIs. 

 3. Buy-in from the top all the way to the bottom, is the only way to succeed  

At the heart of digital transformation is all about culture. Your people within the organisation, all managers and employees, need to buy-in to any new piece of technology or system. Culture should be placed first on the list of priorities for executives when they are planning digital transformation. Effective digital transformation projects disrupt inside out and include cultural aspects within the analysis model, because culture will ultimately drive the rest of the transformation if don’t correctly.  

“Ensure that everyone is within the model. Open up visibility to the whole organisation” – Andy Weir, Executive General Manager, Technology & Transformation, Bankwest, The Platform Revolution

Leading Edge Takeaway - Prioritise creating and living a healthy culture ahead of technology, process and system transformation to help guide employees on your ultimate goal(s), and prepare for and adapt to change.  

4. Sustained competitiveness requires experimentation 

Innovative businesses experiment within their organisations.

Innovation delivers sustained competitive advantage and facilitated experimentation generates - and refines - great ideas. An experiment-friendly “space” within an organisation must be governed differently from the rest of the organisation: the employees, managers, rules and metrics within it, should all be clearly different from the rest. Ensure that the space is also transparent. 

Leading Edge Takeaway: You cannot maintain nor surpass your competitor if you don’t let your people to explore and experiment. We recommend experimenting in an iterative manner, so as not to disrupt your goals internally, but allow for new behaviours. Establishing a Centre of Excellence or Lab space – be it physical or virtual – helps to bring ideators and problem solvers together, and demonstrate the desired thinking and behaviours.  

5. Removing tech dead-weight must be a key CIO and Customer Success deliverable 

While new technology can serve to reduce the amount of friction between the customer and offered value, any technology that will interfere with this exchange, is a waste of time. 

Digital transformation is not about adopting new tech, but in delivering better value to the customer. Enable employees to identify tools and systems that impede their efforts, are overly complex or time-wasting.  

Leading Edge Takeaway: Technology is there to reduce the amount of effort to deliver value to your customer. Technology that increases the amount of effort, should be removed - and prioritised as much as any transformative project. We recommend setting clear, measurable improvement targets (ie: reduce time taken to complete weekly Task X by Y%, or increase customer utilisation of tool A by B% in C time-frame), so that employees can identify which systems need to perform better – or be replaced.

Connect with us on Twitter or LinkedIn to gain more valueable insights into digital transformation.