“Companies that have buy-in from the people are often much more able to change”

Daniel Newman talks about how culture, leadership and adaptability have impact in a company’s ability to change, digital transformation across various industries and impact of technological innovations in exclusive interview with 24sata.hr.
Daniel Newman

Daniel Newman is a six-time best-selling Amazon author and a Forbes contributor, the Principal Analyst at Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. At Digital Takeover conference Daniel Newman will share with us the secrets of digital transformation of some of the world’s most prestigious companies.

Although companies in general are persistent in implementing changes, not all of them achieve the desired results. What do you think are the main causes for failure of digital transformations and what do companies that are ready to change must do in order to succeed?

There are several factors that lead to failed DT, however, some of the most common are often linked to organizational deficiencies rather than technology. Our research, both quantified and qualified has found areas such as Culture, Leadership and Change (adaptability) are often far more impactful in a company’s ability to change than the technology investments. I always recommend that companies trying to improve their results with Digital Transformation focus on their culture. This can start with areas like leadership but also impacts innovation and adaptability. Companies that have buy-in from the people are often much more able to change to meet ever-changing customer demands.

What kind of impact does a company’s strong organizational culture have on the process of adopting new trends and innovations? When establishing organizational culture, do people in leadership positions need to take into account the possibility of employee’s  fear of rising unemployment resulting from disruptive technology that changes the way the business is carried out?

As I mentioned above, culture is huge. It’s a critical and often primary place to start your digital transformation. Cultures of innovation tend to foster more engagement from employees as well as a fail fast mentality that gives creative license to employees to try to make a difference. When the culture is change resistant, it radiates throughout the company and can often be seen by customers and felt by those that hate having to come to work.

Over the last decade we have witnessed digital transformation across various industries. For example, tourism is a rather important element in Croatia’s economy, and there are a lot of great changes happening regarding digitalization. Apart from the fact that online booking services are gaining an increasingly important role, what do you think are the technological innovations and trends that will soon become crucial for the development of tourism industry?  How will this affect the way of choosing and booking an accommodation and traveling to the desired destination?

Tourism is an interesting area that has a lot of opportunity for digital transformation. AR/VR for instance. People are doing more research than ever before to plan their trips and choose their destinations. VR technology has the power to put someone in another place for a short period of time. They can get a sense for what walking down a street or viewing a historical monument may feel like when visiting a foreign location. Now, once someone is on the ground, AR has the power to potentially help people overcome language barriers. We are already seeing apps that allow someone to hold their phone over a sign and view in their native language what the sign says. This works on menus at restaurants and other difficult to translate documents that visitors often come across. This is just one of many ways new technology can impact tourism.

How will the 5G impact the digital transformation itself and enhance user experience (UX)? How will it affect other segments of business and will it enable easier application of some emerging innovations in the field of AR, VR and AI?

5G is going to bring speeds that we are used to only on high speed networks like LAN/WAN configurations and make it available all the time on mobile devices. This is going to power smart cities, smart cars, smarter commerce and of course the ability to untether new technology. Immersive VR for instance really required a lot of compute and connectivity. With 5G, the connectivity can be done wirelessly and as compute gets smaller and faster it makes the utilization of these technologies easy from anywhere.

In what way will AI facilitate the collection of customer data and consequently affect the personalization of communication and UX improvement?

DN: What I think we are really dealing with today is the advent of Machine Learning. The ability for machines with contribution from humans to engage the entire pool of data, both structured and unstructured to more quickly collect information on anyone or anything. This is both a wonderful opportunity, but also a scary one as most of us never really thought about how machine learning could affect us. For instance, as facial recognition proliferates, machine learning may find us in thousands of other peoples’ pictures and videos that we had no idea that we were part of. We are starting to see this with suggested tagging on social networks. The good news is that we share a lot of information about ourselves and we know this means more targeting from companies. I believe people are generally okay to receive unsolicited offers for things that match their exact needs and wants. So as long as the data/machine learning/AI is used to enhance value, people will be okay with it. AND, the offers will be more personalized and valuable to the user.

What do you think, will the Internet of Things become broadly applied over the next 5 to 10 years and will it have a higher impact on both professional and private life? In addition to Wi-Fi, the development of various types of sensors and cutting costs associated with developing new technologies, what else is crucial for the development of the IoT?

I think our home and work lives have become pretty blended. The applications for IoT will undoubtedly touch both, but we are always more inspired by technology that finds its way into the areas of our life that are most important. For instance, our health and wellness. As IoT becomes a tool for monitoring our health and perhaps conditions, we will see the power of this technology since it impacts our lives so dearly, the same goes if it is being used for people that we love. At the same time, an IoT/Edge compute strategy to improve uptime on machinery in a factory may not necessarily have a lot of deep personal meaning, it may mean that a pair of customized sneakers that we order get assembled a little bit faster. Having said that, most won’t even consider the role that IoT played in the improved output of an assembly line. Either way, IoT will have a big role to play.

The impact of technological innovations will increase over time, especially when it comes to the development of new professions, which also implies gaining new knowledge more quickly. What advice would you give to young people, how can they adapt to digital transformation and far-reaching changes?

I think younger generations need to focus more than ever on the ability to quickly intake knowledge and apply it. Jobs will change constantly, and companies are always looking for those that can adapt, on almost no notice. This isn’t a skill that you learn in school per se, but it is something that you can become good at by consuming information and making sure you understand the practical application of that knowledge. The idea that you will study something and do it for many years is a distant memory. Rapid adaptability is the key to long term success for young workers.

What kind of impact does digital transformation have on social responsibility? We know that technology can help in addressing specific environmental issues; but how can it have a positive effect on the development of social society and areas such as healthcare and education?

There is a lot of fear among society about the invasion of privacy and the loss of jobs that comes with automation. I think some of it is warranted, but I often refer to the fact that each industrial revolution that has passed has created more jobs, not less. This, in short is a way of suggesting that we don’t fully know what we are capable of as the change is taking place, but as it happens we do tend to figure it out. This is why so many new jobs in analytics or social media have become careers for people. No one in the 90’s studied social media, and now it’s deeply entrenched in the global framework. Using technology for good is critical. We need to save more lives and learn how to deal with the challenges that living longer will present on our world, both from a sustainability stand point and for human rights. These are challenges that won’t be solved by man or machine, but rather man and machine together.