Featuring exceptionally experienced key speakers in their field, the Think series of webinars illuminates some of the trending digital topics and issues that we face.
Just as we outlined in our recent insight, 3 keys to implementing Microsoft Azure: going from tactical to strategic, the need to adapt quickly has meant that although many companies have successfully managed to move to the cloud and maintain business as (almost) usual - it’s been very much a tactical approach.
Here at Talk Think Do, we’ve seen many companies attempt to fast-forward through the process of evolution out of necessity and implement a solution that fits an immediate problem, but not necessarily a longer-term strategic solution that provides the full productive, stable and secure ongoing remote working experience that will better support the future of their business.
This event was really special, because it allowed us to speak with companies that are effectively leveraging the power of technology all in different ways to ensure they emerge stronger than before the coronavirus pandemic. We asked them how they’ve evolved their digital offering, innovated, and used technology for growth to better meet the needs of their organisation and their audience alike.
To help explore the topic of technology in business, Talk Think Do spoke with three technology experts, to understand how they’ve been leveraging the power of technology over the past 12 months, including:
Mona Nikzad, Digital & E-commerce Marketing Strategist at Organix
Paul Smith, Head of Digital and Technology Futures at RNLI
Solomon Akhtar, Business Director at Socialbear & Honestwill
Matt Hammond, CEO at Talk Think Do
Consumer behaviour has shifted dramatically over the past 12 months, with customers now expecting more from their brands than ever before. Businesses in every sector that are pushing forward purposefully with projects focused on digital transformation and technology are meeting this challenge – and those that haven’t are quickly getting left behind. Paul from the RNLI noted that although most people know the RNLI as a life-saving service, in reality it’s a complex technology landscape. Technology is now critical, and those working in Technological Infrastructures and Information Technology have never been more crucial to ensure companies can continue working. The pandemic has expedited the change curve to a more agile way of working for many businesses.
Mona from Organix shared with our audience that last year Organix launched their direct-to-consumer online shop for the first time. Whilst Mona noted that this is something Organix have wanted to do for many years, they had originally planned to go live in 2022. In the face of the pandemic, the online shop launched in 6 weeks rather than the anticipated 2-year timeline. Paul from the RNLI commented that the RNLI have had to shut their shops, and no longer benefit from their advocates fundraising in their local communities face to face. For that reason, focus has quickly shifted faster than expected to using digital channels to move people along the journey of knowing about the RNLI, donating and ultimately becoming an advocate for the RNLI. This is particularly important because charities won’t always be up on someone’s priority list in terms of regular household expenditure if they’re struggling financially, as many have done throughout the pandemic.
Mona went on to explain that what started as a test and learn project has shaped Organix’s digital roadmap. Whilst getting MVP live is a fantastic show of agility, in reality, it’s not feasible to work with MVP’s long-term. In moving beyond the MVP, Mona is looking to develop integrations, launch a loyalty program, create a single customer view of data and develop an efficient CRM programme. Whilst small projects work well for the moment, longer-term we need to make sure projects are delivered to a high standard, and she believes to meet that standard, large-scale projects won’t be rushed post-pandemic. Matt agreed that the legacy of quick projects means there is always the ned to build on them and make them more strategic. Paul added that you need to be iterative, and also brave. Solly from Socialbear noted that as a younger company, with a start-up mentality and culture, his team is more able to experiment. For a smaller business, such experiments, Solly notes, don’t require the significant, upfront investment needed by larger organisations, especially if your business has strong digital capability in-house.
Solly commented that Socialbear has seen a major shift in both the level and types of customer support sought by consumers. Traditionally, phone and email support have been the most desired forms of support. However, Socialbear answer queries through social media like Facebook, Twitter and even Tik Tok and he has seen huge demand through the pandemic, as more companies have looked to outsource their customer support and also respond to decreased demand for voice support and increased demand for social media and live chat support. This is a shift he believes has been accelerated by the pandemic.
Not only does this technology feel more conversational, it’s also easy to do from the comfort of your own home. With more people looking to buy online than ever before, in some cases the only way brands can support this surge is by using technology such as AI and auto-fill software. Mona agreed and said their audience now want online chat more than ever before and they’ve seen a shift in the way consumers want to communicate with Organix in line with what Solly has experienced at Socialbear. In America, Mona commented, Starbucks are starting to develop profile pages for each of their coffee shops to enable customers to engage with their local coffee shop, rather than a corporate Head Office. Paul agreed, but said that where often advocates are giving legacy gifts and wills to the RNLI, voice and ideally face to face contact is still key. You need a buffet of options to be an effective organisation.
Solly suggested the best way to benchmark against your competitors is always to trial their services. Go through the experience as a consumer. Paul felt that the best way to benchmark at all is against yourself. Mona agreed on both fronts, saying that in the past she has ordered from competitors to understand their customer experience, but she also is a strong advocate of using agencies to inspire ideas and strategies, and said how important the role of agencies is in supporting their clients to make a business case for strong investment in technology. Mona commented that conferences are also a great way to find out what’s new, but webinars like this one are great during the pandemic to make sure you’re keeping up with the pace of change.
Each of our expert panellists is harnessing the power of technology in completely different ways, right now, to grow their organisation. What’s clear though, is that it’s now more important than ever before to be resilient, yet adaptive. It’s time to be bold and act now to adapt and innovate your technologies and strategies quickly to accelerate your growth and stay ahead of the competition using high-performance, emerging technologies.
The evidence shows that a lot of the behavioural changes made as a result of restrictions placed upon us as individuals, and as businesses, are here to stay. The time is fast approaching to look at life beyond the pandemic, and it’s now time for organisations to establish their exit plan and turn those tactical solutions into long-term strategic ones. Building the right foundations now will help your business weather the storm of any potential economic downturn and set you up for long-term success.
We here at Talk Think Do are seeing the huge potential of technology come to fruition for many of our clients and as experts in digital transformation, we are very well positioned to support any business currently looking to maximise their agility and growth through the power of technology.
Our team are ready to help you determine the right technology to power your future. We believe passionately in solutions that are bespoke to your needs. See how we’ve helped our clients including Department for Education, Explore Learning, Avios, Transport for London and children’s mental health charity, stormbreak, to quickly identify a plan of action, develop the right solutions and ultimately become their trusted development partner.
Contact us now, to book one of our all-new Tech Strategy Workshops, discuss our Virtual CTO service or just to chat through your requirements to see how we can help you evolve and implement a tech strategy to enable your business to grow, faster.
Head of Digital and Technology Futures at RNLI
Paul has over 20 years’ experience in senior technology roles, leading international teams for large organisations. His extensive experience means he understands the value and interconnectedness of data, digital, people and IT to deliver tangible outcomes, and how to link these to an organisation’s strategic objectives to drive performance. Today, as Head of Digital and Technology Futures at the RNLI Paul sets future vision and direction, powered by technology capability and provides the leadership to effect successful delivery of large-scale end-to-end Digital Transformation and technology solutions.
Digital & E-commerce Marketing Strategist at Organix
Mona has over 10 years digital marketing experience working with both UK and global brands. She has worked both agency and brand side, currently leading and developing the digital and e-commerce strategy for Organix Brands. She also plays an active role being on the digital steering committee for parent group Hero, ensuring digital learnings are shared and used across markets.
Business Director at Socialbear
Solly has recently launched a new business called Honestwill which is targeted at millennials, allowing a complete Will to be created online - including protecting social media and digital assets. The entire Honestwill building process is cloud-based - allowing for customers to update their accounts whenever and wherever they need to. You may also remember him from Series 10 of The Apprentice! Solly is very much disrupting and innovating within this space. He is also a Business Director at The Socialbear Group, who are award-winning creators of Social Media Experiences helping global brands evolve and connect with their followers.
CEO at Talk Think Do
Matt has amassed 25 years’ experience in software development, working on high profile projects for world-renowned organisations, before founding Talk Think Do in 2014. Employed first as a developer and then as a solutions architect, Matt’s career has spanned working for Barclays, Transport for London, the Department of Education, Fitness First, Avios and several Formula 1 teams. Today, his focus is on the direction of Talk Think Do, growing the business by developing strategic partnerships and building the technical capability of the team.