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Digital Transformation needs 3 overlapping themes

Digital Transformation needs 3 overlapping themes


Richie Ramsden - Head of Data Science - AkzoNobel's Innovation Incubator

Data, is the new commodity, we are told. But in reality, it is what you do with data that provides the real value.

There are three areas to address when undertaking a digital transformation of a traditional company:


1 - Customer Experience

An excellent customer experience is where large, traditional companies start most often in digital transformation. Social media data, sales data, marketing data and advertising data all fit in here.

These kinds of data sources can be leveraged to:

  • Deliver what customer wants before they know they want it,

  • Predict supply volumes,

  • Trend-setting in markets,

  • Employ smart pricing.

2 - Manufacturing Excellence

Manufacturing excellence is about getting better at making what you already make both from a position of efficiency savings, as well as optimising your supply chain. This can be done on a regional, or micro-regional level in manufacturing units.

By maximising the data and insights in this area a company can:

  • Minimise downtime with predictive maintenance

  • Generate products which are optimised to production flow

  • Optimise supply chain optimisation to improve just-in-time, and other lean measures.

3 - New Products for New Markets

Identifying new value from existing data or processes can be hard, and is the area most commonly neglected when a company is transforming. Tools like the Value Proposition Canvas, and Business Model Canvas can help in identifying, and testing, whether a new product in a new market has real value. It is crucial here to establish why the company has a right-to-play in a new market.

In this theme, companies can

  • Move away from transactional business models to services or subscriptions,

  • Define what value is - perhaps value is created by creating new data which can be leveraged in other areas of the business,

  • Grow revenue in new areas, especially when new markets are created.

The development strategy in these three areas may be different. In the cases of customer experience and manufacturing excellence, often subject matter experts already know what they need, but lack the skills or expertise to execute. In the third area, often internal experts do not know what is needed and so must employ Lean Startup principles and 'get out of the building', to talk to potential customers.

To say that these three are separate themes however is incorrect. These three areas feed from each other - research & development, as well as production of concepts, should flow across the three areas - in order to make the digital transformation most efficient, with the greatest impact.

Concept developed by the team in the AkzoNobel Innovation Incubator, in particular, Menno van der Zalm


Richard Ramsden is speaking at GB Intelligence's CDO Event on the topic of 'Establishing a data innovation processes - Holistic digital transformation'.

For more information on his session and others, visit here.

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