Saturday, June 11, 2016

Responsive organisation and Digital Transformation

I have a few days off, so time to catch up again, lot's of reading to do.

In two weeks time, I am invited for the mediapost email insider summit in Portugal! Seems like a great event and I will for sure post some interesting insights at this blog during this event. I hope to learn more about customer centricity and CRM there!

But today something about organisations and especially the future of them. Take a look at this article
The Future of Organisations is Responsive

I think so true, the new branding is not anymore about a nice video, and some ATL branding campaigns and a nice logo. It is about being relevant, about reconnecting with your customer, being able to adapt quickly, solving problems for customers with the help of digital tooling. To be able to do so, as an organisation it is essential to optimise for uncertainty instead of certainty.

Many traditional organisations keep on thinking from a traditional point of view. They do not dare to think out of the box, they keep on falling back in their traditional way of thinking.
For every campaign, promotion or system change they mostly start thinking from their original values.
They stay too close to their -in many cases- successful businessmodel that worked for decades. But the times have changed.

A few weeks ago, I was attending a conference organised by shopping tomorrow. It was a very interesting and well organised event. One of the speakers, talked about OAD, a former Dutch traditional travel agency. One of those old school travel agency's, that organised (bus) trips across Europe,
OAD was known by everybody and you could book their tours through travel agency's. Travel agency's? Yes, those shops, with many holiday pictures of happy families at a beach that smiled towards you from the shopping window.

If you entered such a shop, you were always given a printed catalogue, with pictures of beaches you never saw when you were actually in this resort. If a new catalogue came out, the winter or autumn catalogue for example, you had to be quick to get the best offers.

Oad did not make it into the digital age.

The speaker at the shopping tomorrow conference, worked at OAD for a long time and gave us the following learnings:

The fact that OAD went bankrupt was mainly caused by internal matters.

I will summarize a few, since I think many traditional organisations face the same problem and it is really a pity to see all those organisations dissapear. What were the internal issues that caused OAD's bankruptcy?
  • They never really changed their distribution and business model.
  • A lot of arrogancy from the past. "We already tried this, it did not work" . "We know what the customer wants" "We have to keep our relationships with the travel agency's at the best possible condition, they are the basics of our success" but in this case ignoring the fact of the rapidly declining popularity of travel agencys and the increasing popularity of direct bookings of hotel rooms via the web.
  • Many internal politics and traditional stakeholders prevented from being responsive and to act based at facts and trends.
  • Many of the new e-commerce projects, were done by the same people that also had to run the existing business. They did e-commerce "besides other things". 
  • There was not a clear vision for a long time and when it was there, it was too late.
  • Traditional processes and systems were copied into new ICT systems and projects. This costed millions of euro's and did not work. Since traditional processes often no longer work. 
  • People who stood up and tried to mention that the course/vision/actions of the organisation/management were not correct, where ignored by the management.
  • People who do had an e-commerce vision and worked really hard to make the change were ignored or supported only when it was too late.
  • At a certain point in time the (top) management were only accompanied by people who walked along and did not dare to have a different opinion anymore.
  • Don't always trust the people who are in a team that need to make the digital transformation happen, especially not if they are from the existing organisation. Only 15% of the people in the business change team, really want to change. Many people within this small team have double agenda's. They say they want to change, but in reality they are slowing down the change. Maybe protecting their own agenda.

For me, it is very clear and it confirms once again my thoughts.

If traditional organisations, like these, want to survive, think out of the box.
Think customer centric, think digital first. signal (digital) trends (like for example the internet of things, adding (digital) value for customers, mobile etc), try, test and adapt.
Very important, an essential thing in transformation is, to change to the right culture: Less hierarchy, employees first, customers second!

Don't think you know what the customer wants, because you did so the past decades.
Really listen to your customers and prospects a like and adapt! And adapt fast and continiously.

Bureacracy, arrogancy and politics in the top, too much management staff, who do not understand or do not want to change, holding on to old values is deadly.

If you really want to make the digital transformation, change radically or setup a new company, The legacy of the past (culture, processes, systems and sometimes even customers) slows down too much.

And if you are in a niche market, that has not yet been "ecommerced"? Invest, invest in digital with all your assets. Otherwise you will be disrputed. 

Adapt, be a responsive organisation: oad remained for too long time at existing paths

Related PDF


  1. I think so true, the new branding is not anymore about a nice video, and some ATL branding campaigns and a nice logo.

  2. Excellent! I am new to digital marketing but I am really interested in learning more about this area. Your blog can come in handy for me, I think. Thanks a lot for your work!

  3. Thanks for sharing amazing information !!!!!!
    Please keep up sharing.


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