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Digital and the shifting power balance between retailers and producers


Bringing together over 25 senior executives from across sectors, PA recently held an exclusive event which explored the challenges and opportunities leaders face when designing a digital business.

Attendees ranged from market-leading multinationals to private equity investors such as ABN AMRO Participaties, ANWB, Etam groep, KPN, LeasePlan, Cunningham Lindsey, PGGM, PON Holding, Theodor Gilissen, Ahold, KBC Bank, PostNL, Endemol, DAS, Philips and NPM Capital.

PA’s Mark Griep opened the session, held at Michelin star restaurant de Hoefslag in Bosch en Duin, and Rob Mettler, PA digital expert, moderated panel discussions. Guests were encouraged to participate in our Digital Barometer – a new online tool that lets organisations identify what stage they are at on their digital journey, and how they compare to competitors.

Key areas discussed at the event included:

Digital has dramatically shifted the power balance

Digital has changed business forever, and organisations that have embraced digital are leading and influencing their industry. New consumer trends and business models are emerging and all industries can expect some major technology-led disruption in the near future. Particularly in retail, we see early adapters moving to omni-channel strategies, and this will have a significant impact on supply chains and business models of producers as well.

Disrupt yourself before you get disrupted

Rudi Peeters, Group CIO of KBC Bank, explained how digital disruption from technology vendors such as Google, Facebook and Uber is eating into the distribution channels of the banking industry. Banking has tremendous potential but it must not wait to be disrupted by external factors – it must disrupt its own traditional business model and take radical steps to become a digital company.

Data-driven experiments with “known unknowns”

A data-driven organisation must be agile, willing to take risks, partner with technology startups and build its team of data-driven professionals to explore out-of-the-box models. Examples of this include how Tesla, Uber and Apple are disrupting the automotive industry, and the impact self-driving or electric vehicles could have on insurance. Businesses must experiment through ideation and its own versions of voting and consensus to create ‘star’ projects.

Be specific and contextual to highly informed customers

Today’s customer is highly informed via social media and is aware of his/her needs. It is crucial to map the customer decision journey based on how they navigate through various mediums: both online and offline. Providing unique, specific and highly contextualised experience through these various channels will be a true differentiator a successful digital organisation.

A digital organisation is a flexible organisation

Before deploying tools, technologies or methodologies, companies must ask themselves: “are we collaborating well enough with marketing, sales, customer care, R&D and IT?” Clarifying the ‘why’ and the ‘what’ will reveal ‘how’ the organisation can move forward.

To find out more about PA´s digital capabilities, contact us now.

Contact the strategy team

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