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Digital Development. Make sure you have the right resources!

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Ac currently most Business Development is related (or even more) to digitalization, it is crucial for CEOs and all business leaders to know how to start or accelerate the path of digitalization, its pace of development of often the depth of its transformative character.

A few remarks before we deep dive in ‘getting the right resources in place’, however!

Digitalization can only work when 4 company characteristics are in place. One: senior management has fully embraced digital and is keen on learning bits and pieces of the digital puzzle. They are deeply willing to get their hands ‘digitally’ dirty. Two: the comapnt has a data strategy or is keen to develop one and is on its way doing so. Three: there is a culture of speed, acceleration,  iteration, learning and effectiveness. Four: it is widely accepted throughout the company that all skills are not always easily available within the company itself…

Before even talking about planning for resources, these 4 things need to be in place. If not, don’t even think of tackling the ‘resources puzzle’.

Talent, partnerships, experimentation and business ownership, again, these 4 – in my humble view – make up for solving the digital resourcing puzzle. To do justice to the weight of importance of the 4 we should write: partnerships, experimentation, business wonership and talent, talent, talent!

It is paramount: digitalization simply needs the right talent. Therefore, it’s highly importanty to map the right skills needed. In a digital world you remain efficient by having a clear vision of where you want to go, but not, never, by saving on the right talent. Start the exercise by making your target explicit, even when it is not detailed, and map against it the necessary buckets of skills and talents needed. Deeply focus on the right talent, independent from internal versus external. Stay away from expensive systems, from expensive tools and the ‘cost game’. People tell you you need the right system? Don’t believe them. Focus one the one thing that matters: getting the right brains in!

How do you know you have the right talent available? The moment a person can explain in simple stupid words what tomorrow can and will be done to get there as first steps – versus expensive ideas (and words), obstacles which need to be overcome, prestudies which needs to be done… – you know you are on the right way.

Look upon yourself as this bug and humble orchestrator bringing the right people together to het to know everything about a specific problem.

Second: truly consider partnerships. Talk to multiple, quite different suppliers and test them. Why not even do predefined pilots with some of your suppliers so you can deeply assess them? Make sure you understand their values and their track record. Right partnerships usually have the following characteristics. There is a deep willingness to co-create, the supplier has taken risk and is linked to the (mutual) outcome, although people have spent a lot of quality time to (pre)discuss ways of collaboration, roles and responsibilities, along the process there is in fact little control mechanisms to steer the quality of the supplier – as progress has the full focus. As a last note: avoid strong lock-in situations with suppliers – this should be on the table as of day one of the collaboration.

Third. Instill experimentation throughout the company. Senior leaders should not stop their support for sharing the different (often customer) insights gathered, the various tests done, the failures and wins… Senior leaders should generously praise all initiatives related to learning, customer understanding, testing, assessments.

Fourth. Think hard how you can combine maximum freedom for own teams and suppliers with a central vision and gurantee for integrated solutions. Although this depends on the size of the organization, business ownership should be at all times secured and centralization should be looked upon as a necessary evil (but still necessary). Every business owneris in the first place owner of his/her digital transformation, customer knowledge and pace of development.

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