The ROI Challenge Interview With Ger Perdisatt from Microsoft
Next up in our interviews with our speakers, we talk to Ger Perdisatt from Microsoft, who talked about a 360 perspective on digital investment at our "Digital Success: Meeting the ROI Challenge" event in November last year.
Tell us about yourself..
I’m Ger Perdisatt, and I lead Microsoft’s digital strategy organisation for our largest customers across Western Europe. I spend my time working with the technology strategists who help our customers on their transformation journeys. I’ve been with Microsoft for 10 years – so I’ve seen quite a lot of change and transformation in that time!
Why is there so much interest in Digital ROI?
In my experience, there tends to be a couple of things happening around digital ROI discussions. Firstly, we’ve got to acknowledge that customers are being bombarded with messages around embracing digital, having a digital strategy, being digital-first…..you get it. The reality is many customers might understand the imperative generally, but really struggle with translating that into something compelling and tangible for THEIR organisation.
Secondly, within organisations we often see two vocal camps: the digital enthusiasts and the digital sceptics. Both groups have a strong interest in either proving the ROI of digital strategies one way or another. So you’ve got this dynamic of a strong market impetus around digital; a big gap in the articulation of meaningful digital strategies for a lot of leadership teams; and then this ongoing pressure around showing whether any digital strategies that have been green-lit are actually returning or not.
And if we step back from that, the reality is that business leaders SEE the potential in digital: 91% of enterprises are attempting to digitally transform in some way; 85% feel they must offer digital services or risk irrelevance; and 68% actually feel that they need to COMPLETE a digital transformation within FOUR years or they might go out of business!
So there’s also an acute concern that, as organisations still find their way around digital strategies, that they can identify, nurture and prioritise high-potential initiatives. The opportunity cost of missing these can be really significant.
What is challenging about getting a return on digital?
Probably the hardest part is getting the return equation to work in organisation’s favour. What I mean is, how can they
(1) maximise the value they’re getting (big question about how you define and measure that value for starters)
(2) ensure that the costs of entry, run, and exit (if necessary) are managed, and
(3) how to ensure that both of these things happen in the shortest possible time frame. The time-to-value is critical, because in my view the disruption across many industries isn’t slowing down any time soon (I think of retail, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, logistics…….you name it)
Should we be worried if we are not able to demonstrate a return?
It really depends on what you define as the return. A lot of the time, we really think on a yield-only dimension – i.e. did we get the tangible benefits we expected. The reality however is that one of the biggest areas of return is around what you LEARN by embarking on digital initiatives. According to McKinsey, 62% of executives believe they need to replace or retrain more than a quarter of their workforce by 2023 to address the digital/technology skills gap………so as Coach Kavanagh puts it, you need to either ‘Win or Learn’
Are there alternative ways of thinking about digital success?
As I alluded to above, I think that focusing on the capabilities you’re building is a critical way to think about digital success. Being TRULY digital requires a much bigger focus on innovation and collaboration – and that’s not something that is either (a) easy to measure or (b) likely to happen overnight. What unique IP are you building? What new talent are you developing or attracting? What new channels are you identifying? What are you learning about how to engage with your customers? Or your products and services? These insights are golden. I think by looking at digital success in the round, and not simply whether it’s driving more traffic, or revenue, or reducing cost, is a really productive way to think about it.
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