Sign In

Leading by good example

Today’s business leaders face a raft of challenges; from Brexit to economic turbulence, the business landscape is rapidly changing. Against this backdrop, the call for businesses to reimagine and transform their organisations has never been greater.

To prosper in tomorrow’s world, CEOs must be willing to respond, adapt and embrace change. By recognising the importance of transforming their own business model, they will be better prepared for the fast-moving environment.

For Gordon Wilson, CEO of leading software and IT services company Advanced, this transformation is being driven by digitalisation. The explosion of complex and disruptive technologies, such as cloud, automation and artificial intelligence (AI), requires CEOs to be in a constant state of readiness, both in advancing their own capabilities and protecting their business from real and present threats such as cyberattacks.

An effective business leader is someone who has the ability to reimagine their entire organisation

Mr Wilson says: “We are in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution and the successful business leaders will be those who seize upon the digital revolution and in turn, transform their organisation; potentially their own industries too. An effective business leader is someone who has the ability to reimagine their entire organisation, from the skills they require and the services they provide through to staff retention, with the foresight and boldness to fulfil that vision.

“Business leaders need to recognise the importance of practical action. Too often companies are distracted by issues outside their control when their focus needs to be on increasing their own productivity and driving growth.”

It is an approach echoed by the UK government, which earlier this year announced its commitment to a national Industrial Strategy, designed to improve economic development by driving productivity. Yet, in spite of this, the annual Advanced Trends Survey 2017 revealed that over three fifths of UK businesses were unsure whether the initiative was bold enough to succeed. For Mr Wilson, this worryingly high figure highlights the growing need for the strategy to be brought to life through concrete action.

He says: “Low productivity is thwarting UK business growth, yet it is within the grasp of CEOs to address this. Digitalisation has a major role to play in boosting productivity. Business leaders must invest and drive growth from the top down.”

The benefits of executing change can be astounding. For example, East Midlands Ambulance Service saves 116,800 ambulance journeys a year since adopting Advanced’s clinical decision software.

As a business at the forefront of the technology movement, Advanced has undergone its own transformation to drive greater efficiencies and synergy across its business, as well as attract the right staff. Mr Wilson believes this experience has shown the real value of inward investment, but despite this many businesses still struggle to embrace digitalisation.

Unsurprisingly, Advanced’s research showed that digital technology features higher on millennials’ radar than their predecessors, with almost a quarter reporting a doubling in productivity thanks to its introduction and 27 per cent citing automation of manual tasks as helping them add value.

According to Advanced, the advent of AI, automation and machine-learning should serve as a wake-up call to all business leaders regardless of age and should “be part of every business leader’s digital language”.

A case in point is the hugely successful integration of AI-based junior clerk robot Billy Bot into Advanced’s legal solutions. This has transformed the day-to-day running of Clerksroom, a national chambers, by saving them on average 200 hours’ work a month.

“Technology has the power to be a game-changer across all industries,” says Mr Wilson. “It presents the biggest opportunity for CEOs to positively disrupt their business and gain a competitive edge.”

He concludes that businesses will benefit from a four-step plan to adapt to the digital era and move forward with confidence:

01 Be bold – change needs to be driven by ambitious and courageous leadership.

02 Take tough decisions – get forensic about the data that matters and act on this information.

03 Plan change – create a change management plan with digital-first at its heart.

04 Execute with pace – and ride the wave of transformation.

For more information please visit