The new digital business heroes

Devoteam, which describes its people as “digital transformakers”, is using the company’s wealth of technology skills and expertise, and the experience gained from its own transformation, to help some of the biggest brands become digitally enabled.

The company was launched 20 years ago in France, a time when the country’s telecommunications industry was being deregulated. It was founded by two brothers who recognised that the increasing complexity of technology systems resulting from deregulation would create a huge demand from the larger telcos for IT consulting services.

Today, under the leadership of its co-founders, now joint chief executives, Devoteam has broadened its IT service portfolio, adopted cutting-edge technologies and applied its expertise across industry, and with average growth of 15 per cent a year, has 3,600 professionals working with clients in 20 markets across Europe.

“Everything is going digital; there is no escaping it,” says Devoteam UK’s country manager Derek Nutley. “Every business needs to be connected, agile and responsive, in real time and across mobile platforms. We’ve gone through our own transformation and rebranding process to become a very modern organisation that is in step with the latest developments in technology, and we are helping other companies to do the same.”

In offering their business transformation services, Devoteam realises that companies face some real challenges. Not only do organisations want to make a bigger impact with less spend, they also want to commit to a digital promise in which everything is done in a mobile way.

“This impacts all companies, from the smallest and newest, to the largest and longest established,” says Mr Nutley. “We are working with older organisations, helping them to become more flexible and embrace new technologies, as well as with younger, high-growth businesses that need to achieve a balance of flexibility and stability in order to present a professional image and maintain a competitive edge.”

The idea of change being driven by new technology is a popular misconception. Change is being driven by the people who are using the technology – customers, competitors, employees – and this has led to a paradigm shift for the IT function, moving the chief technology officer and chief information officer roles into a more strategic position.

A business that is digitally enabled and employs digital workers will be better equipped to deal with the challenges that lie ahead

Mr Nutley says: “Traditionally the chief technology officers and their teams were responsible for managing the expectations of technology within the organisation. Today their responsibilities have changed because companies now expect their IT champions to lead business transformation as well.”

Another key driver of digital transformation comes from within the organisation, from the people who work there and who increasingly expect a digitally equipped working environment.

“People nowadays want to be able to do their jobs using the same digital technology they use when they are at home,” says Mr Nutley. “They want smartphone technology, not outdated computer systems, and this is impacting on a company’s ability to attract and retain top talent.”

In a rapidly changing business environment, where everything from consumer buying habits to competitor sales strategies increasingly hinges on digital technology, businesses are under pressure to stay ahead of new developments.

If companies are to achieve sustainable growth, they need to understand how to harness the power of social, mobile, cloud and big data for their business, and where to source the tools and technological expertise they need to overcome the challenges and reap the rewards.

To help companies reach their transformational objectives, Devoteam’s digital transformakers adopt a strategy that focuses simultaneously on three pillars – business, IT and people.

This entails the implementation of innovation processes within the business model, the creation of a flawless technology platform and the activation of the organisation’s collective intelligence, putting employees at the heart of the transformation.

The result has a profound impact on the organisation at all levels. Efficiencies can be made across many areas of the business, from operations and administration to sales and logistics, while workforce productivity also receives a boost, as greater automation effectively frees up people’s time. In addition, the mobility and flexibility facilitated by digital technologies allows employees to be at their most creative and productive at a time and place that works best for them.

Ultimately, a business that is digitally enabled and employs digital workers will be better equipped to deal with the challenges that lie ahead. Those that opt out risk being destroyed by the new generation of disruptive technology entrepreneurs who are constantly redrawing the battle lines of business.

“Look at the disruptors, the Ubers and Airbnbs of this world, former small players that have used technology to shake up traditional business models. Organisations that thought they were safe, and perhaps became complacent, are now seeing their industries being turned upside down by these new technologies,” says Mr Nutley.

The message from Devoteam is that in order to succeed businesses have to be ahead of the game. And as a company at the leading edge of the digital revolution, they believe it is a journey they are best placed to help others make. They use disruptive technology, such as Google, ServiceNow and AppDynamics, as building blocks for their expertise to solve business challenges.

Mr Nutley concludes: “With success these days measured in ease of adoption and time to value, we focus on business outcomes not on IT outputs. This has resulted in 300 Google projects and 100 new ServiceNow deployments across a full range of verticals in the UK, elsewhere in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the last 21 months.

“We see companies with visionary boards that welcome change and know how to do it, those that want to do it but need help in working out how to do things in a different way, and boards that worry about change upsetting the business and risk inertia as a result.

“Sometimes you need to let IT take the lead. For too long it has been the whipping boy of the boardroom. In companies that have recognised the need to embrace the new digital age and drive through the necessary changes to the way they do business, IT has the opportunity to become the business hero.”
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