Leading Through Digital Evolution: How Top Companies Are Transforming Their Business Model

If you want your business to thrive, it could be time to give your digital evolution strategy an overhaul.

A well-executed digital evolution strategy can reshape market leadership, enhance customer interactions, and streamline operations, giving your business a significant edge. But perhaps more importantly, those that lag in digital innovation risk falling behind, losing market share to competitors and becoming irrelevant.

At a recent WeQual event, we tackled this topic head-on with insights from a top expert in the field – Noémie Ellezam, Chief Digital and AI Strategy Officer at Société Générale and Winner of the WeQual Awards, EMEA 2022 in the Brand category.

With extensive experience in steering digital transformations at a global level, paired with her commitment to advancing gender diversity in technology, Noémie was able to share some valuable insights with us.

Leading digital transformation with a diverse team isn't just about technological upgrades - it’s about reshaping business models to succeed in an ever-changing global market.

Why Gender Diversity Matters in Digital

First off, let’s address the elephant in the room. Where are all the women? STEM industries and roles typically attract men, which can lead to a one-size-fits-all approach.

It’s not just about being fair; diverse teams contribute a range of perspectives that lead to innovative solutions and create a more inclusive environment. “Involving diverse teams in decision-making boosts engagement and enriches outcomes,” Noémie says.

Varied insights can help tailor solutions to a broader audience, enhancing both creativity and problem-solving. So, when it comes to creating a future-proofed digital strategy, diversity is a great place to start.

Implement policies that encourage diversity in all project teams, ensuring that a range of perspectives is considered in the development of digital solutions.

Board-Level Engagement in Digital Transformation

Gone are the days when all things digital were the remit of one small department. “Digital strategy driven by the IT department is the old way,” Noémie says. “Today, digital transformation needs to be a board-level agenda to align with broader business objectives.”

In Noémie’s experience, the demanding nature of KPIs set by one board member led to lots of introspection, but ultimately broadened her knowledge and outlook. Issues ranged from how to make the bank accessible and seamless for all customers, regardless of their location, to how to leverage data and AI technology and personalize services.

“We had people on the board who were not only very digitally savvy but also came from industries which were a bit more advanced,” Noemie says. “So the first key learning was to be able to rely on these people; to find your allies.”

So, the Board really should play a critical role in ensuring that digital evolution strategies are seamlessly integrated with the company’s strategic goals to maximize their impact across the board. 

But, no company is an island, and especially when it comes to technology. Organizations also need to look outside their immediate environment for inspiration and guidance.

“We partnered with very top-notch academic partner to really provide the knowledge required to be able to understand what technology can and cannot do yet and how technology could help serve specific challenges,” Noemie adds. 

Harnessing AI and Data Analytics for Business Value

“Any digital strategy in today’s world needs to consider AI,” Noémie says. “AI is at the core of digital transformation. The use of AI and data analytics should be seen as a lever for generating business value.”

So, look at how AI can best serve your organization in all areas, from HR and finance to marketing and sales. Invest in AI technologies that will enhance your data processing and analytics capabilities while remaining reliable and unbiased. In turn, this will enable you to offer improved customer insights and personalized service.

Prioritizing Customer-Centric Digital Processes

The beauty of a digital overhaul is that you can redesign your customer journeys to be more intuitive, convenient and user-friendly.

A digital evolution is the perfect opportunity to rethink how customers interact with your services; to ensure they have seamless and responsive experiences. “Transforming customer journeys and internal processes digitally is just the beginning,” says Noémie. “For us, it’s about making the bank accessible anytime, anywhere, enhancing customer convenience and satisfaction. It’s about making services accessible yet personalized for everyone.”

Managing Cultural Differences

So, how can we manage cultural differences in an organization undergoing digital transformation? The first step is to get everyone on the same page regarding what a ‘cultural shift’ means for the company.

Noemie suggests moving swiftly to test new strategies, rather than spending a long time evaluating at each stage. This way, you can make adjustments along the way to discover what works best and what doesn’t.

This is an arena where senior management can lead by example by showing the behaviors they expect from others, especially during significant company meetings like town halls.

Embracing Continuous Learning and Resilience

Getting to grips with new technology in an already busy role is challenging. “Embrace continuous learning and resilience,” Noémie advises. “Digital transformation is a long journey that requires adapting to new technologies and changing regulatory environments.”

It isn’t an overnight win. She also stressed the importance of managing stakeholder expectations. “You do not expect to see the results before two three years,” she adds.

It’s important to enable your teams to adapt to new technologies. This means developing training and refresher courses, regularly reassessing whether the technology you’re using is meeting your needs and conducting regular reviews and adjustments to make sure your digital evolution goals are in line with those of your business.

 

Ultimately, leading digital transformation with a diverse team isn’t just about technological upgrades – it’s about reshaping business models to succeed in an ever-changing global market. Embracing these changes sets your company on a path to a successful, inclusive, and innovative future.

Thanks to our Guest Contributor:

Noémie Ellezam

Chief Digital and AI Strategy Officer at Société Générale

Noémie is also a WeQual Alumni and a Winner of the WeQual Awards, EMEA 2022 in the Brand category.