4 Myths About Digital Transformation

We just published our latest whitepaper, Asia Rising: Digital Driving. For this study we spoke with well over 300 business and technology leaders across the region on the value of going digital. While it is evident from our study findings that digital is the primary C-suite agenda today, it also reflects the ongoing market confusion and possible fear surrounding digital transformation. I have had the opportunity to learn many interesting perspectives from our discussions with C-suite executives and would like to share four primary villains impacting value generation for companies:

Myth#1: Digital transformation is a technology-first approach.

Digital transformation is not a “technology-fenced” development, as nearly 40% of C-suite executives presume it to be. The biggest mistake that companies make is thinking that by investing in new, cool technologies, they will achieve the nirvana. Digital transformation has a clear agenda – “Simplify the business” – as I highlighted in this post. For example, digital transformation in the healthcare industry is intended to make people healthier and happier, but instead, healthcare companies often end up complicating wellness services for their customers.Companies must first simplify the complexity associated with digital transformation for their business, and then identify and implant the technology needed to get there. Get it right!

Myth#2: We will invest in transformation as and when needed/ on an ad-hoc basis.

Many business leaders are uncertain about how much they should ideally budget for transformation, with 61% reporting no dedicated funds;they have no clue what’s working and what’s not. Well, it’s about transforming business for the future and the ad-hoc approach will just not work. We believe companies should allocate at least 2% of their annual revenue (outside of the IT budget) to transformation efforts for starters, and then increase their expenditure every year after that, based on the outcomes, vision, strategy and risk appetite of the organization. Furthermore, that spending needs to be tightly linked to clear business outcomes such as revenue growth and cost containment.The point is, leaders will need a sharp focus on transforming their company digitally – with real investment – and the sooner they start, the better.

Myth#3: Leadership doesn’t need to be digital savvy.

“Digital thinking” must be injected into a company’s core, and that extends to the social media presence of the company’s leaders. 70% of the business leaders we interviewed for the report were yet to open a Twitter account, while 40% are not on LinkedIn. We call this attitude the “lack of time syndrome” as leaders feel they have more strategic tasks to fulfill than managing their tweets. However, the failure to establish or expand their digital presence will impact the future of their own role and business, as personal participation in the digital realm is the key to understanding the digital consumer’s state of mind and unlocking digital’s real value. Leaders need to take their ideas and transform them with the power of digital, not in the hope of becoming a digital expert but simply to jettison old habits and paradigms, with the goal of leading a digital-first company.It’s time to say goodbye to analog leadership.

Myth#4: Our CIO/ CTO/ CMO is well equipped to lead the transformation as an added responsibility.

A charter to transform the business typically resides with the CIO/CTO or CMO as an added responsibility. I believe this approach is fundamentally flawed, as business transformation can’t be achieved through a half-time responsibility – digital leadership is not a part-time job.If the CIO/CTO or CMO is well-equipped to lead the transformation, he or she should give up his current role; if not, the business should hire someone to lead the change. Organizations cannot truly think “outside the box” until they establish a clear digital leadership mandate. The good news is that about 70% of companies already – or will soon — have a Chief Digital Officer role established in Asia Pacific.

While every company will follow a different path to digital transformation, consistent nuts-and-bolts lessons can be learned and applied from digital winners. The winners in this new digital world will challenge conventional thinking on product innovation, customer engagement, organizational structure, strategy and business models. Leadership must be willing to make significant organizational changes in line with a strategic digital vision, rather than the more common “as-needed/ad-hoc procurement/ tactical” approach.

3 future office design trends

We've had cubicles, open-plan spaces and now standing desks. The way companies design their offices is constantly changing and evolving, but what design trends are likely to emerge in the near future?

As the Insight website reports, office design is about more than just making the place look nice - it's an important business decision that can affect a company's bottom line. According to a Gensler survey, 90% of the 2,000 businesses questioned said that improved workplace layout and design had a positive impact on overall performance.

With companies such as Google and Facebook recently investing heavily in their headquarters design, let's take a look at some emerging office design trends:

The downside of open plan

For the past couple of decades, global offices have shifted from partitioned sections and rooms to more open-plan layouts. Although this trend looks set to continue - Facebook's new 'West Campus' has the biggest open floor plan in the world - some cracks are beginning to show; while open spaces encourage communication and collaboration, they can hinder productivity, attention spans and creative thought. Future workspaces, then, will give employees a mix of both private and collaborative spaces that they can use flexibly.


In fact, flexibility is one of the hottest buzzwords for the future of work. Offices will become more adaptable as employers and designers move away from one-size-fits all approaches; rather than having a designated desk or workspace, employees can 'reserve' areas depending on their task or project. Furniture itself will become more flexible, too, including height-adjustable desks and multi-purpose seating areas.


The thought of video games and ping-pong tables can unnerve traditionalists, but there's a lot that businesses can learn from the seemingly juvenile nature of tech offices such as Google - which, for example, has slides in its offices. Part of this playfulness trend is due to the rejection of hierarchies that has changed the employer-employee relationship; but it's also been shown to foster stronger company cultures, which in turn drives engagement. A recent Deloitte study found that 87% of businesses cited culture and engagement as their key challenges, so they could use playful design to tackle this.

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The Future Of Work Is About Flexibility, Autonomy, And Customization

There has been a lot of discussion and debate about the Future of Work lately, from robots stealing our jobs to workers commuting to the office on hover boards. This global movement will change the way we think about work itself, and the way we fulfil our roles in the workplace - and there's a lot of areas to cover; including technology, HR, management and employee experience.

In order to help focus these thoughts, a recent Forbes article described the three most fundamental shifts that organizations throughout the world are going to start experiencing now and in the near future.


We are already seeing employers offer more freedom and flexibility to their staff. In fact, for many younger workers it's now a prerequisite to applying for or accepting a job, over and above pay or other employee benefits. Although flexible hours are still not the norm, most businesses are now considering it or looking to implement it into their policy. Rather than focusing on a work-life balance, future work environments will be about work-life integration, allowing staff to get their work done wherever and whenever they wish - as long as the quality isn't affected.


No longer just for freelancers, autonomy is going to be expected in nearly every role as it ties in with flexibility. Forget the outdated notion of managers peering over their team members' shoulders; workers will have to be self-motivated and able to manage themselves. They will also have to become more adaptable as traditional workplace hierarchies begin to crumble, calling for collaboration across the company.


As previously mentioned, employees of the future may not just be working for one department - or even one company - but will be working within multiple departments or for multiple employers. Just as customization is becoming increasingly popular for consumers, so workers will be able to customize aspects of their roles, selecting the tasks, projects and responsibilities that are right for them. At Deloitte, for example, staff can already choose their workload, pace, the amount of travelling they are happy to do, and what their employee personality is - for example, if they see themselves as a leader.