9 Organisations Where People - not tech - are Leading Digital Transformation

In 2013, Barclays ordered 10,000 iPads. The tablets were distributed among branches up and down the country — in a move designed to radically overhaul Barclays’ customer services. Except it didn’t, because not everyone knew how to use an iPad.

Discover how Barclays staff — alongside 8 other insightful examples — used digital transformation to evolve their workplaces.

1. L’Oréal’s reverse mentoring programme

Simply put, ‘reverse mentoring’ is about younger employees mentoring older ones — and leading the way in this movement is L’Oréal. The cosmetics giant has rolled out no fewer than 120 mentor-mentee pairings, where younger employees help senior counterparts identify consumer trends using social media, e-business, and web searches. (Insert “because you’re worth it” gag here.)

2. Barclays’ Digital Eagles

When Barclays distributed the world’s single largest order of iPads to its employees, it failed to anticipate the support that staff would need using them. To counter this, bands of ‘Digital Eagles’ have been created. These people aren’t interim managers or digital specialists — they’re enthusiastic staff who help colleagues get to grips with iPads and the new wave of digital services the bank provides. Any Barclays staff member can become an Eagle, and each Eagle is responsible for training more Eagles.

3. Kraft’s Kraft Casts

Communicating business developments and ideas across a global business as massive as Kraft is no easy feat. That’s why the CEO and other Kraft executives record podcasts — dubbed Kraft Casts — for their employees to download and listen to. Krafty.

4. Goldsmiths’ digital transformation project

One of the UK’s top universities is currently undergoing a digital transformation strategy that’s designed to “better reflect creativity and individuality, and give more scope to present student work”, according to the university’s website. Goldsmith’s say the new intranet, Goldmine, will “revolutionise” the way it approaches digital at Goldsmiths as well as “shout about the fantastic things that happen on campus”.

5. Starbucks’ cross-functional teams

When it comes to coffee retail, Starbucks is at the forefront of digital innovation. This is a coffee shop that will soon have us ordering skinny lattes via our phone, and lets you electronically gift your mum hot chocolate for Mother’s Day. According to its Chief Digital Officer, Adam Brotman, the company’s road to digital transformation began by unifying departments and developing ‘intrapreneurs’ — that’s managers within departments who promote innovative product development and marketing.

6. Ford’s social media

With a 683K following on Twitter, Ford might be over a hundred years old, but it’s very much a manufacturer moving with the times. In fact, Ford has become a case study in how to do social media properly, thanks to its brilliant social media team. Spearheaded by Scott Monty, who left the company in May last year, Ford has proven that corporates can be do genuine, effective social media marketing that’s not cringe-worthy.

7. Deloitte’s digital reverse mentoring

Another pioneer in the reverse mentoring field is Deloitte. The global auditing firm has been applying the practice both formally and informally across operations for years. In fact, it’s gone so far as to publish various reports celebrating reverse mentoring and the impact that digital natives — that’s post 1980 babies who’ve grown up in the internet era — have on businesses.

8. TUI Travel’s CIO Mittu Sridhara

Lead by example, that’s the approach of Mittu Sridhara, the CIO of TUI Travel — the giant travel company that includes brands like Thomson and First Choice. An engineer by trade, Sridhara is the driving force behind the group’s hugely successful digital transformation strategy that is streamlining its 240 plus brands into fewer platforms and back-end processes — and making huge cost savings along the way. Sridhara believes every employee must adopt this streamlined approach for it to work, saying in an interview: “We’ve got to get every single employee within TUI to truly work in this digital world in the same way that they live in it.”

9. ASOS’s multiple channels

One of the UK’s digital success stories, ASOS, continues to show us all how it’s done. Not content with being an already hugely successful online retail brand, ASOS now has a daily news feed where influential bloggers and ASOS staffers blog about fashion and celebrity news. Once again, it’s the people rather than the tech driving the digital transformation here. As ASOS explains, “Our core customer is the twenty-something fashion-lover: an avid consumer and communicator who is inspired by friends, celebrities, and the media. We are obsessive about understanding them so we can join their conversation and offer them the fashion they want.”

Emma Cerrone is Managing Director of Freeformers. She co-founded the company to help organisations embrace digital and help young lives at the same time.
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About Freeformers

Freeformers helps companies drive digital transformation through programmes that teach relevant and practical skills to anyone from frontline staff all the way up to senior leadership teams.

For every business person we train, we train an unemployed young person for free, to help them get a job and to create a talent pool for business. We call this one_for1.

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