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Digital Paradox: You Need the Face Time

It was so useful to talk about digital transformation that the seventeen C.E.O.s in the room swore to continue the dialogue.

 

“Top management is not really up to speed about the digital disruption.” That’s what Petteri Poutiainen, Salesforce’s Country Manager in Finland, hears quite frequently.

 

Petteri begs to differ. He has just heard of both the struggles and the victories in digital transformation from seventeen chief executives. All of the accounts have been highly sophisticated. Judging from the discussion, top management hasn’t missed a beat.

 

“We are experiencing the perfect storm,” Petteri says. “Chief executives have spot-on clarity on what is going on. The technological competencies, mega-trends, and globalization are visible to the naked eye. All information is at your fingertips.”

 

“The question now is how to best utilize it. How to package it.”

 

The roundtable, hosted by Salesforce and moderated by TBWA Helsinki’s Vice President Marco Mäkinen, gave Petteri three major takeaways.

 

  1. Digital transformation is about topline growth, not cost-cutting. In other words, success in this transformation requires staying in the ideation and innovation modes. It is application and iteration.
  2. Ecosystem thinking rules. And sharing is therapeutic! Managing a major transformation is a moving target, which requires experience sharing and honesty. Mixing and matching generates new ideas and reminds us to keep the transformation high on the agenda at all times. We need to maintain the will to search, test and train.
  3. Technology platforms should expose themselves as agile for business, hiding the complexity in the cloud. The key component is to stay customer-focused.

 

Petteri and Marco’s call to action after the high intensity discussion is, simply, to carry on the conversation. Don’t go back to the office to start an information-technology project. Think business development and book the next discussion in your calendar.