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I can't believe it's already been almost a year since game-changing AI like DALL-E and ChatGPT burst onto the tech scene. Even though many AI tools have been around much longer, GPT is what captured the magination of of all us. The energy and hype reminds me so much of the early blockchain and crypto days 10 years ago. The buzz, the startups, the dreams of getting rich quick. But looking back, blockchain didn't really change businesses as profoundly as we thought it would. So will generative AI follow the same path, or can we learn from history this time?
So here we go again. Inflation, recession and uncertainty. While these things happen every decade or so, noone likes a downturn. The last short downturn in 2020 actually accelerated digital transformation, investments and value creation. It can happen again if companies use the right digital playbooks.
I got into technology value creation exactly 19 years ago. I still remember how it happened. I read an article in the Harvard Business Review that made me question everything I was doing as a software executive. It was an article by Nick Carr, titled “IT doesn’t matter”.The article claimed that technology added no value. Or specifically, technology didn’t create any strategic advantage. Why? Because technology was everywhere, cheap and available to anyone who wanted it. I disagreed with the article and wanted to do something about it. So I spent almost 20 years trying to prove the author wrong. In some ways he was right and in many ways he was wrong. No matter what, a single article changed everything I ended up doing for a living and made me obsessed about the value technology can create.  Here's what happened.
In the last few weeks, I was back on the planes meeting with clients and investors in London, New York, and San Francisco. We often talked about how the role of digital is changing for businesses and investors. How the early digital experimentations have all grown up,  real value is created now and many companies are becoming digitally reborn. But not all. Some struggled to take advantage of the digital revolution during the pandemic and may not be quite ready for the digital-first competition ahead. There were common themes I heard across geographies and industries. For example: In past disruptions and uncertainty, leaders could just ”throw people” at those problems. Not anymore. With talent shortage, the great resignation, and great migration - digital tools became to go-to remedy for all problems in business. How is the digital remedy working out? 
If you Google the difference between efficiency and effectiveness you will find over 1.4 billion hits. There are endless opinions from accountants, business strategists, linguistics, and even psychologists on the topic. Clearly, there is confusion out there and my short video won’t clear it up.  Instead of deciding on the debate, let me share a story on how a customer of mine uses these terms to create value for their business.
The ultimate success in business is to be considered a value creator. Whether you and I are employees, executives, consultants or vendors we should think about the 5 ways we can add value to the business. - Growth- Simplicity- Speed- New Business Model- Thinking Big
For the last 20 years there has been one big debate around technology innovation. Should you be a first mover or a fast follower? First movers would take on higher risk experiments expecting higher returns, but also tolerating higher rates of failure. Fast followers, on the other hand, would wait for the kinks to be worked out or the market to be validated before investing. So which strategy is better?
I was thinking about the most relevant trends for 2022. Almost everything we know about digital has changed and morphed in the last two years. So I looked at what my peers were predicting about the future. I counted over 500 different trends and predictions and it was hard to find a common theme that resonated with me. In the end, I narrowed them down to 5 major trends that I knew my customers were often talking about. So here is my 2022 prediction list.1) Hybrid Workforce (People + AI)2) Decentralized Finance becomes mainstream3) Business Metaverse emerges4) Digital Offshoring (Digishoring)5) Convergence of Employee and Customer Experience+1)  First Fully Autonomous Businesses
Welcome to 2022. What a year we have had! While it represented a crisis on many fronts, it also created once in a generation across digital from automation to digital supply chains to new digital customer experiences to blockchain and crypto literally everywhere.I had so many learnings from this unusual year - I chronicled them in 30 episodes in my channel and in several articles in Forbes. Here are my highlights from a year that will go down as the most transformational in a generation.
The majority of the companies nowadays are in some stage of digital transformation. Some are very tactical, improving their website and app maybe or automating basic customer interactions. Others are fundamentally changing how the business operates. Business model innovation and digital transformation are two buzzwords and they are increasingly interlinked. How should you and I think about business model changes as we become more digital?
The Hierarchy of Value

The Hierarchy of Value


In the last couple of weeks, I had numerous conversations about what I call the hierarchy of value. A good friend of mine, I call him Jeff, a private equity investor coined this term to me a few years ago. He used this model to decide which improvement projects to invest in and which to pass on in his companies. He wanted simple rules to help his management teams that go beyond hard value and soft value. He even used it in his personal life to decide what to buy and what not to buy. I keep coming back to the simplicity of the model whenever we discuss the value of digital transformation. So what is this hierarchy of value and why does it matter for digital projects?
The massive global talent shortage is driving businesses to automate in even more areas of their operations. Surveys show that more than 60% of the companies already started their automation journey.  There are always some tradeoffs, of course, when doing any enterprise-wide initiative. It would be cool if you could deploy new automated processes overnight. If you could just start your fully autonomous processes. But that is not possible. At least not quickly. So companies are making various tradeoffs on their way to their automated future.Here are the 5 biggest tradeoffs I have seen in intelligent automation projects. 1) Top-down vs Bottom Up2) Hard vs Soft Benefits3) Speed vs Perfection4) Pilot vs Scale5) Short Term vs Long Term
Those of you following this channel, you know this. I’m obsessed with finding out what makes some companies succeed with digital transformation while others struggle. Companies of the same size, same industry, same access to talent, but very different results. \One key factor is how the digital project gets initiated. Does the transformation start with the CEO or a line manager? Does it really need to happen for the business to reach its goals? Or is it someone’s science project? In my experience, transformation projects seem to take 3 possible paths and the results can be predicted almost on day 1. Here’s why.
Why do some companies seem to completely digital transformations effortlessly while others struggle? I believe organizations can achieve the same flow state as people when faced with challenges. If the majority of the people working are in flow sate then their organizations are too. And that is what happens when new innovation projects including digital transformations just seem to click.
I’m clearly not in the studio this week. In fact, I  am in Las Vegas at HIMSS, the largest healthcare tech conference. We had around 20,000 executives here live and thousands more online. This was the largest post-pandemic business conference focused on digital transformation.  This was also one of the first times so many businesses came together to share how they dealt with the crisis, what they learned from it, and what technologies helped them succeed. More importantly, what they will do differently going forward. While the primary topic was healthcare, there were great insights that any industry can use. Here are a few that stood out for me.
If you ask someone how to create more value in business, you’re likely to hear the obvious - drive revenue growth and cut costs. That is of course the physics of any business. But every executive knows that it is not that simple. To increase revenues, you likely have to spend more and if you cut costs, revenue tends to suffer. Either way, revenues, and costs are just indicators, they are not specific actions you can take. In the last few years, business strategists redefined what value creation means. It is all about the steps you take to improve customer experience and increase the customer’s willingness to buy. Let’s see how that may change your digital value creation strategy.
My latest post is on the massive post-pandemic digital expansion due to labor shortage and massive economic growth.While businesses focused on cost and lean operations last year - now it is all about growth, and major digital expansion.Companies are moving from tactical to the strategic use of automation, analytics, and customer experience like never before.
We are living in an unprecedented labor market. Over 10 million jobs were unfilled in May 2021 and millions of people quit their companies last month. While there are many reasons this is happening, one thing is clear. The expectations of your workforce have fundamentally changed in the last year. I believe digital technologies can help stop the exodus and attract new talent.Here is how
Back to Hybrid Work

Back to Hybrid Work


I went back on the road this week. I was having real meetings with real people in real offices in New York. Returning to normal business? Hopefully. The recurring topic of the discussion was this. How will hybrid work change how we work together and the technologies we use going forward?
Every few months I take a look at recent research studies and surveys on the state of digital transformation. Normally there are a dozen such surveys in 6 months. This time I found over 100 reports. This is a testament to the fact that digital transformation is now a top 5 strategy goal at most companies.  So let’s take a look at what the data shows
Comments (1)

Vali Raad

Wow. How I liked your podcast!

Jul 9th
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