Businesses must embrace disruption to exploit the potential of digital

Brand Max: business leaders including 02's Ronan Dunne argued leaders needed to drive a "culture shift" to exploit the potential of digital
Brand Max: business leaders including 02's Ronan Dunne argued leaders needed to drive a "culture shift" to exploit the potential of digital

Businesses should look "light years" ahead into the future and shake off the "shackles" of traditional corporate structures to be more agile and exploit the possibilities of digital, according to a panel of business leaders speaking at this year's Brand Max event.

Businesses must embrace "disruption" to harness the rise of digital, and look to technology to better connect with consumers, they argued.

Speaking at the event in London today, 02 CEO Ronan Dunne said businesses needed to identify the key "exam question" they wanted to solve using digital technology. Likening the explosion of digital as "akin to the industrial revolution," he said businesses hadn't yet "started to exploit the possibilities of technology," scratching only at the surface.

Leaders needed to create a "cultural shift", he said, internally and externally in order to tap into the opportunity digital presented. He said the brand’s "be more dog" campaign was about "changing attitudes."

"We believe the possibilities of technology should be open to everyone," he said. "Be more dog’ is about changing attitudes rather than being about tech itself."

02’s goal was to create a digitally enabled society, with "ubiquitous access to high speed data," he said.

He highlighted three "key enablers" for embracing digital: shifting the culture of an organisation to be more digitally focussed; investing in digital skills in the workforce and moving away from "analogue" management styles towards more flexible working made possible by technology.

"You have to rewrite the rules," he said. "[Digital] is a different ecosystem."

Will Orr, MD, central heating at British Gas, said the company saw the rise of the "connected consumer" as an opportunity. The business was, he said, embracing connectivity to give its customers more "convenience, comfort and control."

"Whether that's leading on smart meters, launching Hive that lets you control your heating remotely or even self-diagnosing boilers, we see huge benefits for customers," he said.

Stephen Miron, Group CEO of Global said with digital, brands could either "deny it or bury your head in the sand, or you go for it aggressively."

Businesses needed, he said, to "be brave, to be prepared to "disrupt" their own businesses and to loose the shackles of corporate structures to excel in digital.

"The speed at which you need to be thinking is light years ahead," he said.  "It’s not ‘digital’ per se, it’s just businesses and consumers - it’s how you harness it."

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