October 12, 2022 | 6 min read

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James Goldhill, CEO at Paragon DCX explains why truly holistic digital transformation must be led with a clarity of purpose that wins hearts and minds across the whole business.

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Getting digital transformation right is fundamental to the future health of your business and your marketing function

The marketing innovation curve is growing at an unprecedented trajectory. New tech, software and operational models are accelerating the ability of organizations – and in particular, marketers – to deliver greater value than ever before. Fundamental to this is the capacity and desire of an organization to embrace digital transformation, to connect all parts of the business, and utilize data in everything it does.

“Too many people think of digital transformation as being solely about the front-end customer experience or only affecting marketing services – but it’s really about total business transformation,” says James Goldhill, chief executive officer of Paragon DCX. “Customers need to be put at the heart of the business to make sure that the organization delivers on the wants, needs and motivations of their client-base and consumers.”

Get digital transformation right and the benefits are myriad: higher revenues, faster growth, better customer engagement, smoother operations, and the ability to do more at a lower cost.

Getting buy in from the top

In short, getting digital transformation right is fundamental to the future health of your business, building the agility and robustness needed to thrive in an increasingly online world.

Yet while digital transformation sits near – if not at the – top of the strategic agenda for many businesses, repeated research from the major consultancies including McKinsey, BCG, KPMG and Bain & Company, shows that the risk of such projects failing falls somewhere between 70% and 95%.

“These projects can fail for a number of reasons,” explains Goldhill. “For starters, if the board aren’t actively committed and the project lacks senior sponsorship then funding and progress will be limited. Similarly, cross-organizational buy-in can be undermined if structural silos inhibit communication or the ability to see demonstrable quick wins.”

A lack of understanding of the true scope and benefits of such a project among senior execs and stakeholders can often prove the downfall of digital transformation projects simply because people are naturally programmed to avoid risk. If senior leadership aren’t digital natives and lack clarity around the outcomes, then there is clearly work to do to educate them and bring them up to speed.

A whole new world

The question then is how best to “upskill” those at the top of the business and responsible for making critical, strategic decisions? Goldhill suggests that leaders from older generations can benefit for engaging with their younger, more digitally savvy colleagues.

“At Paragon DCX, we run a reverse mentoring program where stakeholders are mentored and educated by those with less professional experience, but who are maybe more digitally savvy,” he says. “By pairing get senior execs paired with digital natives, we are able to educate the team and open up their eyes up to a whole new world.”

With buy-in established at the top, Goldhill adds that successful digital transformation programs must have a clear business case and put the customer at their heart. Doing so creates a North Star or a common focal point for stakeholders across the business to focus on.

“If we can get everyone to buy into what the customer wants, then we can build for a better future,” adds Goldhill. “Tech needs to be an enabler for the business to enact change, but the driving force behind any digital transformation program needs to be the customer experience, the colleague experience, and then commercial objectives.”

With these factors tying the connective tissue of the organization together, successful digital transformation programs will happen more freely.

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Paragon DCX

DCX is the agency and consulting arm of the Paragon Group. We combine the power of data with compelling creative and digital technology to help brands connect better with their customers to deliver better outcomes. We help brands do business, better.

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