Andy Campbell: Hi, and welcome to our webinar on the topic of How to thrive, not just survive in a K-shaped recovery. My name is Andy Campbell. I’m a Solutions Evangelist here at Certinia, and I’m delighted to be joined by two great panelists today. Lucy Mills from Salesforce and Sue Daley, the Director of Technology at techUK.
We’ll get into the meat in a minute, but quickly, just to introduce the two panelists. Sue, could you tell us something about yourself? Perhaps something about techUK? Some of the audience may not know who you are and what you do.
Sue Daley: Well, hi, Andy. It’s a really great thrill to be here. So, thank you so much for the invitation.
So, I am Sue Daley. I am Director of Technology and Innovation at techUK. What that means is I get, on a day-to-day basis, to talk with and engage with and listen to the innovators – the technology leaders – that are developing the emerging and cutting-edge products and services, tools and technologies that we all use today and in our everyday lives. But also, what’s coming down the line in emerging technologies as well.
At techUK, we are a trade association. We’re a membership body representing the tech and digital sector as a whole. So, we do programs, looking at everything from chips to clicks, from AI and automation, Cloud, digital twins, digital ID, all the way up to satellite technology. So, a real kind of overview of the digital and tech ecosystem where we are stated.
Really thrilled to be here. Thanks.
Andy Campbell: Brilliant. Thank you. It’s great that you could join us. I know we’ve been bantering on Twitter over the past week or so. Do you want to share what your Twitter handle is and why?
Sue Daley: Yeah. My Twitter handle is @channelswimsue for the reason of I swam the English Channel solo back in 2016. A lot of people did say, “Are you going to change your Twitter handle now?” but I used it for fundraising at the time. But now, everyone knows it’s me. So, it seems obvious to keep it. But, yeah, that is why it is what it is.
Andy Campbell: Great stuff. It puts my 25-yard swimming certificate into the shade, I must admit.
Lucy, if I can pop to you. Everybody knows Salesforce – and for good reason. Could you tell us something about your role there and sort of what you do?
Lucy Mills: Yeah, sure.
So, I’m the Regional Sales Director for the mid-market tech industry. That basically involves helping customers realize new value or existing value in their Salesforce tech stack. Increasingly, it’s more around supporting a blended technology view, it’s helping to set out guiding principles around how to drive a single-view of the customer, single-view of the employee. Also, single platform. So, it spans a lot, actually.
Sadly, I’ve never swum the Channel. I’m more of a swim lanes, in terms of business process, than a Channel swimmer. Massive kudos to you, Sue.
Andy Campbell: I see what you did – the swim lanes, very clever. Takes me back. Takes me back.
Great. I’m sure we’re going to have a super conversation today. So, what is it we’re going to be talking about? The banner line is around the K-shaped recovery as we come to the end of Covid. There’s a sense that some organizations are going to be able to thrive as a consequence, whilst others – in certain sectors, perhaps, sort of travel and hospitality – aren’t going to be quite so fortunate.
At the same time, there’s going to be a lot of lessons that we’ve learned: people working from home, thinking about different ways of engaging. Also, a lot of organizations, as well, that are looking to grow as they come out of this economy, they will be… I use the term “tipping point.” At some point, they’ll be thinking, “We can’t do that with just what we’ve got at the moment. We’ve got to make some significant decisions in the way in which we’re designed, the way in which we operate, perhaps some of our management roles, perhaps the technology that underpins our businesses.”
So, a lot to think about there.
Lucy, could I come to you for the first question?
If we look at things from a customer’s perspective, how do you think that Covid has impacted on the demands upon us, as technology vendors? What do high-tech companies, in particular, need to do to sort of step up to the mark?
Lucy Mills: So, it’s interesting. There’s kind of been two camps in our customer base. There’s been one where they’ve gone inside and done more of a protection mode. So, they’ve focused on fixing the things – the snag list that they had for a long time, stabilizing and flattening exceptions. That’s great, because it’s one of those things that, as the CEO, you’ve got this looming cloud of things that you want to get achieved. So, they’ve been able tick all those things off.
I think the other part has been those really bold companies that have pushed hard for real digital transformation. So, I’ll give you an example. We have a customer called Disguise Technologies. They used to do physical visuals for events and things like that. They, obviously, didn’t have a job when Covid hit, and they saw that as an opportunity to completely transform their go-to-market proposition, and they are now a market leader in the VR space. So, they stepped into a digital whitespace, I suppose, probably before they wanted to, because they were very profitable before!
But those companies that have been bold… You talked about stepping up to the mark. The companies that have been bold have seen a huge increase in revenue that, now, we’re struggling to help support them with their back-office systems, because they didn’t focus on that snag list.
But, I think, from my perspective, I’d rather be in the position where I’ve got too much business than I’m already sitting here waiting to open the door for business.
Andy Campbell: Yeah, yeah. So, kind of a twin-track strategy. You’ve got to get your own house in order, otherwise, you know, if you do hit that growth trajectory, then things are going to start to crumble. It’s going to be built on foundations of sand or whatever. But, the braver the people that are going to make the most of the opportunity. Yeah. I love that. Super.
Sue, what about from an employee perspective? So, the demands of people working from home, expectations of using Zoom from nine ’til five, or whatever it might be. How have our employees’ expectations changed as a result of the pandemic? Also, things like remote working, greater focus on diversity and inclusion, for example. What do you see there?
Sue Daley: Yeah. It’s certainly been a time where we’ve learned a lot about how we all work, and how our organizations work, and also how we use technology. I think across business and organizations, all of those that are listening now will be able to kind of think about some of the challenges and some of the issues they’ve had to respond to, and what has been – as we all know, and this gets said a lot – an unprecedented time. It really has been! I’ve never been through anything like this before; I don’t think any of us have.
I mean, obviously, the good news has been that tech has really stepped up, to use your phrase, in terms of we think about the Cloud services that… Well, if you think about it, if this had happened even 15 years ago, I think it would have been a very different story. Right? So, we’ve had the Cloud services and applications. We’ve got the platforms. We’ve got the connectivity. We’ve got the eCommerce. Tools and technologies that have really helped people stay – and employees stay – digitally connected whilst we’ve all been physically apart.
We’ve been working, at techUK, with our members on, “What does this mean?” Not just for the UK economy and society as a whole, but what does this mean for their organizations and the kind of initial response to the pandemic? So, how do we get everybody to work from home? What does that mean? What does that look like? So, then, well, how do we adapt to that new way of working now that we’re in?
Also, now, and I think this is where we are now: it’s that recovery phase. Okay, well, how do we recover? How do we rebuild? How do we reinvent? What do we take from what we’ve done over the last year and a half? What are the lessons learned?
I think expectations around connectivity is definitely a big one there. We all now expect the connectivity to be there when we need it. I’m sure we’ll come on to this later, of all that use of technologies has raised some really big questions and issues around connectivity, around digital divide, around skills, around also diversity and inclusion – how do we get that right?
I would see diversity and inclusion issues. They’re not new, right? They’ve always been there and they’ve always been with us. Some organizations and some businesses out there will, therefore, be thinking about the k-shaped recovery a bit more ahead than others. They will have gotten policies and practices in place. For others, they may still be looking at how they do this, or at a bit further down the journey than others.
The good news is, I think it’s firmly on the agenda now. But, what we have to do, in particular, is people look, perhaps even rush to rebuild and recover and look at what goes forward, but we keep it on the agenda. Right? It’s not a “nice to have” or “in tough times.” Right? We don’t do it. It has to be firmly there.
Particularly, I think what’s clear is that, as we all know, our work lives and home lives have merged in a way we’ve never seen before. Somebody said to me the other day – it’s not my phrase, but I love it – that we no longer work at home, we live at work. Which is true. Right? It’s blended so much.
I think that’s why, particularly as leaders – business leaders, they need to know their organizations, they need to know their employees, they need to know what their staff need. Having a leadership or staff within an organization that reflects society and reflects everybody within their organization helps to perhaps have that diversity, have that inclusion baked in. It helps you to, perhaps, maybe future-proof your business organization for what might happen next.
It’s firmly on the agenda, but we’ve got to keep it there as well.
Andy Campbell: Yeah, I suppose the point is that, if, through the pandemic, things have become slightly more equitable – everybody has the same amount of footprint on a screen, and it’s become much fairer. For some people, more diverse individuals, or whatever. It’s an opportunity for them to be seen in a much more equivalent manner than they have done in the past.
I think, if the whole market for employment in the IT sector, we may be looking at a much more competitive one as we come out of the economy, and people will be expecting the right tools to do their job. They won’t be able to cope with and deliver what’s expected of their customers if they haven’t got the tools to do their job properly to sort of collaborate and look at, and all that sort of stuff. Interesting.
We’ll touch on some of the stuff about technology as we go further in the conversation. But, thinking sort of further forward. Sticking with you, Sue, as we come out, there’s this talk about there’s banks back in the economy, that this k-shaped model that we touched on at the beginning. Are you seeing that? Are you seeing that happening out there in high tech?
Sue Daley: Really interesting question, because, when I studied the k-shaped economy, there’s some that will move faster than others, and some will, therefore, bounce back quicker than others, and some will take longer. I think you touched on this, Andy, at the beginning. I think there will be some sectors that will move quicker than others, but that’s always been the case. Right?
But, I think, overall, what we’re seeing in our sector – in our industry – is that whether it’s construction, whether it’s retail, whether it’s finance, whatever it is, tech is an industry that are looking at how they rebuild, recover, maybe even to the point of revinenting themselves. How could they use this opportunity. As Lucy said, be brave. How could we leap in front of the competition, to, perhaps, go into another area that could be really important to our business going forward?
I mean, it’s another statement, but tech is at the heart of every conversation right now. It’s, “How can we make this recovery, rebuilding, in a digital way?” We’re seeing it’s not just from businesses, but we’re seeing this from governments. So, you know, from government strategies, where it’s a national data strategy. They’re working on at the moment a national AI strategy of “How do we harness the power of AI technologies going forward?” How we’ve got an R&D roadmap now. It’s very much a digitally-driven future that is the focus. I think, from what we’re seeing – from what I’m seeing – tech and digital, therefore, become part of every conversation about how do we get the next phase right.
Andy Campbell: Lucy, Salesforce is up there. When we think about innovation, we typically think of Salesforce as being absolutely up there. What are your thoughts on what you’re seeing in how customers are responding to this sort of k-shaped world?
Lucy Mills: I think it largely comes down to appetite on whether you want to fight for your business to move forward, and that will go across the board for all industries. Naturally, some industries, businesses will fall apart and they’ll fall away. I think the pandemic is a driver to speed that up, perhaps, for some industries. But, it is a perpetual lifecycle of business succeeding and failing. That happens all the time.
I think what I’m seeing in our text space is businesses looking at their legacy and seeing whether their legacy can take them forward, and actually being really brave and saying, “No, we need to move platforms. If we really want to go where we want to get to, we’re not going to be able to do that, and we need to speed that up.” I think Covid has helped them see, to speed it, because they probably could have done it over five years, and comfortably coasted with organic growth. But, actually, if you want to make big money, if you want to grow from here, if you want to sell your business, you’ve got to make big, bold decisions to be able to drive at that pace if something should happen again. So, definitely seeing that.
I think the other thing, the opportunity is for the future. Whatever we can do manually today, how do you turn that into a digital experience? So, there’s a lot of opportunity out there, and some of the biggest companies are doing just that. Netflix, for example. They’re taking manual experiences of Blockbuster – if anyone can remember Blockbuster – and they’ve converted it into a digital experience. It’s actually relatively straightforward, but you just need to take time.
Salesforce actually does a lot of work – customers don’t realize – but we do a lot of work with our customers to imagine what the future looks like, to do that blue sky thinking. We have a team of people that actually help take you out of your day-to-day and say, “Look, how do you want your customers to feel operating with you in five years’ time? What’s that experience going to be like?” That can be really mindful and really help focus what you need to do to move forward. But, again, it comes down to appetite for the business.
Sue Daley: The really interesting point is, because I have a feeling or a sense in my body that some organizations moved quickly last year because they had to. Right? They had to. If they were – and I hate these words – on a digitally formative journey (the “journey” thing I hate, not the digital transformation). They had to move quicker. Now, I get the sense that maybe those organizations that moved quicker, that pace will continue. Right? The mind shift is there, and they’re kind of like, “What more can we do? What more can we do?” Which is great.
But that also raises brilliant opportunities, particular in the adoption of some of those, like, automation, intelligent automation, RPA, AI technologies that could really be transformative for businesses. But then some challenges around, well, how are we doing this at this pace? Are we getting it right from a security point of view? Are we getting this right from a safety point of view? Do we have the people with the skills in the organization to do this, and to do this well? How do we get all these pieces right? I think that’s particularly where conversations like this should help, where techUK is looking to help organizations figure that out.
Lucy Mills: It’s quite interesting, again, Sue, exactly what you’re saying, I go back to pace layering, which it’s still so relevant.
So, where you have your systems of record on changing applications – and I know we’re not talking product here, but Certinia – classic example – these systems don’t change for 10-15 years. Your systems of USP, which are going to be your CRMs, where you bring a differentiated customer experience, and then your systems of innovation where you can change the pace. You’ve got flexibility, and it’s not tied back to your core processes. I talk to customers a lot about how are you reflecting that pace layering approach in your technology stack? Because that’s going to set you up for whatever the future brings. So, yeah. I completely agree with you, Sue.
Andy Campbell: Yeah. Sue, there’s been a lot of talk about Cloud. Historically, that was part of the answer was to migrate these processes to Cloud. Some organizations were somewhat more reticent to, and, as a consequence, weren’t able to deliver the kind of fluidity and flexibility that Lucy’s been alluding to. Do you see that changing as a result of the pandemic? Are people less reticent to adopt a Cloud model and everything that that can offer?
Sue Daley: Yes. I think we have had a shift. I think we’ve seen organizations, perhaps, that are still thinking about Cloud, or even, perhaps, were using some Cloud services, but not fully integrated, kind of go, particularly when the pandemic hit. Well, we need to move, we need to accelerate what we’re looking to do.
We know, for everybody that works in this industry and sector, just thank you for all your hard work over the last year and a half, because the Cloud really…Shone right Cloud services showed its scalability, the connectivity, it’s enabled remote working organizations/call centers to be set up from people’s kitchens. It’s all been Cloud-enabled, so it’s really important.
Yeah. I think we have seen a mind shift. Now, I think the focus will be particularly on Cloud. Okay, we made the investment, we made the move to Cloud, we did more with it last year or in the last year and a half than we’ve ever done with it. But what do we do next?
There was a report that actually said, at the end of last year, that 51% of business leaders said that the Cloud had saved their organization through the pandemic. Now, organizations are looking at, “Well, how do we plan to move forward?” It’s scaling up their Cloud uses in 2021, which holds the key to what they want to do next. It won’t be the whole answer – right, Lucy? – but it’s very much at the center of their conversation.
So, now, what’s important is – to come back to what I just saying around, okay, that’s really great, but how do we help business leaders and organizations to do more with Cloud and other technologies, but in a safe and secure way?
So, actually, only last week, at techUK we published a guide for business leaders. It’s not the whole “here’s your playbook of how to do this,” but it’s questions, topics, issues that you may need to think about, and questions you may need to ask your Cloud providers or your Cloud partners in terms of how you are going to scale and use Cloud in a safe and secure way. So, thinking about the shared responsibility model, managing or securing a multi-hybrid, and skills and getting people up to speed, understanding latest industry best practices and standards. I think that’s going to be really important. So, we’ve seen the mind shift. People are eager to do more. But, it’s not, “All right, we’ve done Cloud. We’re ticking the box.” Right? It’s “How do we help them scale and adopt all the new and fascinating Cloud services that are still evolving and will come forward as well.”
Andy Campbell: That’s brilliant. Maybe we could take that asset and we could share it with the audience after the event. I mean, I really think we could do that.
Lucy, you touched a couple of times… You’ve used “digital transformation.” What does that mean for you? It’s not just the technology, surely.
Lucy Mills: Hopefully soon we won’t have to use the word “digital,” because that’s become an incumbent part of business. But, I think you have to put “digital” at the front of it because “transformation” can come in many different forms and guises.
I think “transformation” isn’t necessarily on the lips of everyone right now, because it’s too big of a word, and it always brings up questions of pound signs and investment. So, actually, there’s much more focus on stabilization – digital stabilization – to enable growth. You kind of just said, “How much can you fit in the box?” Well, how big is the box? It’s a really difficult one to answer.
I will just comment on the Cloud piece, because I think I completely agree. Cloud is definitely a strategy that we’re seeing more and more, enterprises, even, are moving to a Cloud-based strategy, which is kind of unusual because they’ve always wanted to keep technology in perpetuity, etcetera. But IT is becoming more involved in Cloud, and we always used to talk about Cloud as the ability to jump the IT barrier. Actually, we want the IT barrier up now, because there is so much risk involved in taking on a full Cloud strategy, and no longer can you just allow the business to buy small Cloud applications. They have to think about how all of this is going to ban together. I think that probably is the definition of “digital transformation.” It’s not just piecemeal applications that happen to be Cloud-based, acquired by businesses. It’s an IT strategy that can really deliver meaningful change, but in the right way from a compliance perspective, from a security perspective.
The other interesting thing around Cloud is a lot of our customers are being able to accelerate their sustainability goals because technology is a kind of an unknown user of carbon, and it has quite a big impact. I think that as we progress through this fiscal, and into next fiscal, this type of conversation will become more apparent. So, yeah. It’s great that Cloud strategy, but I’d say it’s digital Cloud transformation, I think, rather than digital transformation in that respect.
Andy Campbell: Yeah. Love it.
Sue Daley: I agree. Again, it’s not new, but what the climate change impact – what the environmental impact – of the technologies that we’re applying and using. It’s not a new conversation, but it’s definitely increasing. With the world of COP26 and the focus really, this year, of how do we get technology? It’s been an argument for a very long time. How do we get technology right for people, for organizations, and for the planet as well? I think that’s definitely a conversation we’re increasing and we’re doing a lot more on at techUK. Yeah. I agree on that.
Andy Campbell: I like how you mentioned, Lucy, about having a Cloud strategy, so it’s not just having a tactical initiative to do one part of the business, but thinking about it in the context of a much broader message.
Some research came out recently – we’ll share it after the event – that talking about the sort of k-shaped economy and all that stuff, and said where you do have these sort of joined-up processes (where you’ve got seamless connectivity, between various parts of the business), you get some really significant bottomline improvements. You know, 3% improvement in margins, or 2% improvements in customer SAT, shorter sales cycle, all that kind of stuff. All as a consequence of having a kind of joined-up strategy.
Sue, are you seeing people moving from just having a tactical Cloud initiative to more of a sort of platform based view of their technology investments?
Sue Daley: I think what we’re seeing more and is that… Well, I agree it’s not just about one technology or one platform. It’s what is the technology, or what is the platform? What do you need to use in your business that means the business can do what it wants to do? Whether it’s an objective or an aim. What is the technology that they’re using, and what’s the value to your organization or to your customers or to your community or your stakeholders? What’s the value in using it? So it’s not just tech for tech’s sake, but I think overridingly it’s therefore that convergence: how they all work together. The interoperability is still a really big, key issue.
It’s a choice, right? I think organizations want to have that choice. They want to be able to use the different technologies or different applications, which give them what they need, as I said, to do what the business wants to do. To transform, perhaps, to Lucy’s point. Or, also, where does it bring value to their customers? Where does that bring value to the business leaders?
So, then you have the issue of increasing interoperability between new platforms, new technologies, that they’re adopting and legacy. We mustn’t forget the legacy challenges and the legacy issues for organizations before the pandemic. They’re still there! They haven’t gone away. People may have moved quicker in terms of what are the technologies that we need to thrive and survive in this time – as you say, Andy – but those real legacy challenges that they were facing before the pandemic, they’re not going away.
The good news is that it can be done. I don’t see these issues as the barrier that it once was, and I think the industry has come a long way in terms of how you can do that convergence, that seamless working across platforms. I think there’s a lot more choice there, and I think that’s what business leaders are looking for.
Andy Campbell: Yeah. I completely agree with you.
Lucy, one thing that we do see – particularly in the high tech sector – is a move towards more of a services-based economy. Everything is a service nowadays. If you look at what that means, it might be offering managed services as well as software. It may include SaaS. It may include civilization in the industry sector. You may have subscriptions, usage models, and all of that sort of stuff.
As high tech companies start to embrace different kinds of business models, what do they need to do in order to make sure that they can continue to deliver, take advantage of new opportunities?
Lucy Mills: I think, if there was one main thing to look at, it’s how you connect your services and products back into your CRM, because that kind of insight – whether it’s monetizing the utilization and automating that, or whether is delivering a forward-thinking customer experience, because you’re proactive in terms of your insights, or whether it’s giving yourselves a speeded journey to cross selling or up selling – those insights, today, it’s almost criminal where we’ve got companies that don’t connect their customer usage data back into their CRM and make it part of the end-to-end sales process, customer service process, whatever process it is, marching process.
So, that’s probably the one thing I would say that the businesses should be looking at. How can we connect that back? Because the kind of business value – the ROI – that you get from that is phenomenal. If you look into it, it’s actually not that difficult to do.
Andy Campbell: Yeah. Sue, I can see you nodding away. There’s some that resonates with you. This idea of planning for flexibility.
Sue Daley: Yeah, and joining things up right and getting systems to talk to each other and work together. I think that’s also where we’ve seen organizations, tech or all these digitalizations, are not siloed anymore. Teams are working together and teams are talking together. Things like the pandemic and things like remote working and using tools and collaboration tools through the pandemic, I think teams have been able to continue that, which has really been great.
Andy Campbell: Sticking to that idea, Sue. If organizations are looking to grow and expand and that sort of thing, a lot of companies listening to this are likely to be sort of in the high-tech sector, and they will have some form of exit plan – some exit strategy. It might be an IPO, it might be some additional funding or something like that. You’ll see a lot of those kinds of companies through techUK.
Any advice or guidance that you could give to those kinds of companies?
Sue Daley: Wow. Well, I mean, I can, but please don’t sell your business on my advice right now!
But, yeah. It’s an interesting time. Right? This industry and the tech sector – this whole sector – is still thriving and growing, and there’s a great interest in emerging and transformative companies, and [inaudible]. It’s a really exciting time to be in tech.
In fact, Tech Nation, if you haven’t seen it, go and check out a report. They published a recent report around the state of this industry and sector. Actually, it was fascinating. The investment in the UK tech firm last year reached, according to their report, fifteen billion dollars. So, about ten billion pounds last year. That’s during a pandemic. So, the interest is still there. There’s funding opportunities out there. There’s lots of funding around opportunities, even from governments, from people like Innovate UK, and government around how can technology help in some of the challenges we’re facing through the pandemic. So, whether that was [inaudible] challenges, or how could AI help medical staff. They did a whole thing around lung disease and scanning of lungs. How could AI help automate that?
There’s lots of competitions and funding out there. So, if you think, “I’ve got a great idea. How do I progress it?” Even now, go and check out the UKRI, Innovate UK, and another website.
Hopefully we’re seeing those SMEs that, perhaps, in smaller firms, that haven’t got their products to market as the pandemic hit, we’re seeing them now come back. Right? They may have had a bit of a fall, but we’re seeing that back. I think I’m optimistic that the sector will continue to thrive and grow, and clearly there’s a huge amount of interest in those companies looking out there. Just keep doing what you’re doing.
Andy Campbell: It’s interesting. You touch on the Tech Nation piece. James Silver’s written a book with Tech Nation called Upscale – I’ve just finished reading it – all around the challenges that organizations have as they go through the growth curve, and how they need to invest at certain points, how they need to change their leadership styles at certain points. Fascinating.
Sue Daley: Yeah. It’s not just about starting a business anymore. It’s about how do we help? We do a lot of work, Tech Nation do a lot of work, there’s a lot of organizations out there to help. How do we help companies scale and thrive and grow? It’s that scaling. It’s that “how do you start a business”, yes, but how do you scale it and how do you grow?
Part of that, of course, is having markets and having industries and sectors that are looking for those innovative technologies to do what they want to do, or to sustain that competitive advantage. So, perhaps, at this time, when companies are looking at, as Lucy was talking at the beginning about, how do we, perhaps, shift; or how do we, perhaps, change; or how do we, perhaps, go into areas we’ve never thought about? You know, look out for those digital companies that are working in that area, because they may just hold the key.
Andy Campbell: Yeah. Lucy, a lot of your customers will be exactly in that space, I would have thought. What are your thoughts?
Lucy Mills: Yeah, agree. A lot of M&A, at the moment, we’ve got a lot of AI technologies and businesses are bolstering their product sets. Customers want kind of a one stop shop. You don’t want to go buy a computer from one website and then have to buy the cable and everything from everywhere else. So, our customers are looking at how they can have a whole experience. So, there’s a lot of acquisition happening – which is great for the market. Then, new revenue streams. Driving new revenue streams to help with the growth.
But then, as Sue was saying, what resources do we have in place? There’s a lot of change to C Suite because it’s a huge shift. It’s a mindset shift, and you’ve got to have the right leaders in the right places to help drive that. There’s a lot of risk involved in growing your business. Do you grow in capabilities before you grow in revenues? There’s always that toss up that customers are having. We can kind of help you do both with technology, but if you don’t have the right leaders with the right ideas being the driving force behind it and championing these things, then it’s always really difficult to see proper results that are sustainable.
Andy Campbell: Yeah. It’s kind of coming back to the point you made at the very beginning about being brave. Not everybody can be brave. You need to have a plan over what you’re going to be doing, and you need to have the right mindsets to follow through, because there are difficult decisions that have to be made, obstacles that need to be overcome, etcetera. You need to have the strength to put that through and do it in a way that’s supportive of the employees and people within the organization as well.
Also, there’s something for me about how if these organizations are going to be going through IPO or Challenge or whatever it is, you need to have a sound foundation to build things if you’re going to be looking at valuations and funding. You’ll be needing to do some degree of due diligence as well to show that these organizations really are a fit to grow and fit to advantage. Very, very interesting time at the moment.
Thank you, both, so much, indeed.
Sue, could I come to you with one last question? No.
Any last thoughts on how businesses should look to change? If you could give one piece of advice, or one innovation, perhaps, that is really interesting at the moment that we should all look at, what would it be?
Sue Daley: Oh, wow. What a killer question to end!
Well, before I give you my kind of crystal ball of the technology itself, I always come back to what I always say and what I’ve been saying for years: If you’re looking at a strategy, if you’re looking at how you should move forward with technology, I agree with the point of be brave. That’s a really good mantra to have. Be brave, but do it in a way of what is the business objective. What is the goal? What is the aim? What do you want to achieve? What challenge do you want to meet? What opportunities do you want to grasp? What do you want to use technology to do?
So, it’s not just “I need an AI strategy” or “I need a Cloud strategy.” It’s what is that technology that you are going to apply and use, what are you trying to achieve from it? Be really, really clear as to what you want to achieve.
As for technologies themselves, there’s loads out there, but I think one that we’re hearing a lot more conversation around at the moment is Edge. So, Edge computing. Again, not new, but definitely it flows into the Cloud conversation. So, as automation continues, as the internet stretches much further with the likes of OIT and 5G and beyond, how is Edge Computer – or, rather, is Edge Computing? The value that Edge can bring? How could it be appropriate to organizations in conjunction with its Cloud strategy. So, I think Edge is one I would look at.
Andy Campbell: Okay. That’s super. Thank you very much, indeed. Sorry, but our time is up. Lucy, Sue, thank you so much, indeed, for your time. I really appreciate it.
I think, to sort of summarize, Sue, you did a great job there. It’s not just about digital strategy, it’s not Cloud strategies, it’s about business strategy – and not just having that strategy, but having the clarity about how we want to go about executing it making sure we’ve got the right skills, the right commitment. Come back to this point about being brave. It’s uncertain times, and there will be people that are going to survive, and there will be people that aren’t. There are going to be people that are going to thrive, and those organizations are the ones that have got the commitment and the desire, and are willing to make some of those difficult decisions.
Thank you both so much, indeed, for your time. I hope that people watching found this of value and interest. I’m sure that they have.
A couple of things that we’ll do just to wrap up: we’ll send a recording of the webinar to everybody who’s been here. We’ll also send details of the information from Sue about what techUK have been putting together. We’ve got an ebook that we’ll put together as well, which we’ll be sending to you.
Lastly, I did touch on some benchmark research from an organization called SPI around how organizations have been impacted, and what good organizations are doing in these difficult times. Some interesting stats in there about what people have done and some of the benefits they’ve achieved. We’ll share that out with you later on.
But, with all that, thank you very much, indeed, for your time. Really hope you have an enjoyable day.
Thank you. Goodbye.