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How The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Accelerating The Future Of Work

For a decade we have talked about accelerated change. More than any other factor, the pace of change in technology, the economy, and society are reshaping the future of work. Yet even as forward-thinking leaders have pondered effects of accelerated change on their organizations, actual transformation has been, paradoxically, slow. 

That is, until now.

If the future of work requires restructured workplaces, redefined roles, rapid learning, and reserves of trust—and it does, organizations are being challenged to do all that and more as they address the coronavirus pandemic. While we have long spoken about VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous)environments, we are finally and undoubtedly facing one.  In the span of a few weeks, the world’s economy traveled a path from cautious observation and common-sense health advisories to massive cancelations, business shutdowns, and work from home mandates. JPMorgan, AT&T, Google, Amazon, Nike, Facebook, among many, many more are hustling to virtualise business operations as social distancing continues to be the best practice to “flatten the curve” of contagion. 

Coronavirus, it turns out, might be the great catalyst for business transformation. 

In fact, where we once saw the future of work unfolding over years, we now believe that with coronavirus as an accelerant, everything we’ve predicted about the future of work will unfold in months.

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Or Contact Enlight Strategic to assist with your Organisation’s transformation


The new normal: Preparing for coronavirus’ long-term impact on business

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is causing havoc around the world, and at this stage it is clear to see the devastating impact that it is having on our people and economy. Looking ahead, we cannot ignore the lasting effects that this pandemic will have on “life as we know it” and must prepare ourselves for the fundamental changes that this will bring to our society as a whole.

By Tanja Lategan, CEO, Enlight Strategic

In order to slow the transmission of the virus, a drastic change had to be implemented in the way we live and work. This change was social distancing and it had to be implemented almost overnight. It suddenly put every company’s ability to work remotely to the test and unfortunately many came up short.

According to Gartner, 54% of business leaders indicated that poor technology and/or infrastructure is the biggest barrier to effective remote working. In some cases, even the companies who had the infrastructure in place lacked the culture required to make operating remotely a success. 

A recent Gartner survey also revealed that 91% of HR leaders have implemented ‘work from home’ arrangements since the Covid-19 outbreak. The biggest challenge however stems not only from the lack of technology infrastructure, but also from a lack of comfort with the new ways of working.

If you think about it, we are currently conducting one of the largest social experiments ever executed on a global scale. Boards would have never agreed to allow an entire workforce to work from home and physically distance themselves from their clients and colleagues in this way, but here we are. And the outcome may very likely prove to be a viable case study for this new way of working.

It is highly likely that many short term emergency measures that are implemented now will become a permanent fixture, as emergencies tend to fast forward decisions and the implementation of processes that would normally have taken years of deliberation in the past. 

Everyone is asking when this will all be over. The short answer is “never”. Yes, the word will normalise again but it will be the “new normal”.  In a couple of months from now, new ways of working would have been tried, tested and implemented and become permanent fixtures with lasting benefits to the companies who took action during this time.

There are important ways in which businesses can prepare and react to ensure that they mitigate the adverse effects the virus will have on their operations in the short and long term.

Keep an eye on Enlight Strategic’s Covid-19 section, where we will be sharing advice, research and recommendations to ensure that your business does not get left behind during this crucial time. 

The decisions that business leaders make now will forever shape their businesses for years to come. This epidemic is a wake-up call for companies to carefully review the strategies, policies, and procedures they have in place to protect employees, customers, and operations and most importantly make the improvements to their business that have been long overdue.


We hope you find the content in this section useful. Please feel free to reach out to us on info@enlightstrategic.com or +27 72 744 7993 if you have any questions or would like to speak to a consultant directly.


Why digital transformation is vital to the future of retail

Traditional retailers around the globe are facing unprecedented pressure. With online competitors able to offer the same products, often at a lower cost and with a greater degree of convenience, consumers have come to expect more than the traditional retail experience can deliver.

By Tanja Lategan, CEO, Enlight Strategic

That’s as true for South African retailers as it is for their international counterparts.

While economic pressures have certainly played a part in the decline of several major brands over the past few years, there’s no doubt that failure to embrace changing customer expectations has also played a role.

If retailers are to ensure they don’t fall victim to the same issues, they must embrace customer-centric digital transformation.

While this is obviously something that needs to happen across the organisation, a marketing-led approach can provide the most immediate returns.

The state of play

For a long time, retailers have been laggards when it comes to digital transformation. Research from Gartner in 2018 showed that just three percent of retailers were seeing results from digital business initiatives. 

In the last couple of years, however, players across the industry have started to catch up and are embracing technology. A recent Gartner report found that as many as 77% of retailers plan to deploy some form of AI by 2021.

Far too many retailers, however, are investing in it solely from a warehousing and operational side. In doing so, they’re missing out on the potential impact digital transformation can have on marketing.


Is your business ready for transformation? Take our 5-minute Digital Maturity Assessment to find out and get a FREE report.


Digital-led marketing

Ironically, most retailers are ideally poised to take advantage of marketing-led digital transformation. Any retailer with a loyalty programme already has vast amounts of valuable customer data.

With the right data extraction and analytics tools, this data can be used to gain valuable insights about what individual customers are buying, how much they’re spending every month, and where they’re spending their money (in both the physical and online realms).

This can then be refined and used to provide customers with personalised marketing across the digital channels of their choice.

As well as individually-tailored, highly visual forms of storytelling, retailers can provide customers with personalised offers that improve their overall experience of the organisation.

This, in turn, means that they’re more likely to remain loyal to the retailer in question, spend more money with it, and recommend products to their friends.

That’s a lot of advantage to be gained from retailers simply making the most of the tools available to them.

Factor in the potential for internet of things (IOT) technologies to dramatically improve the in-store customer experience and it’s clear that there’s no need for retailers to lurch into obscurity, provided they’re willing to embrace change.

Getting started

For many legacy retailers, however, even getting started can be a challenge. This is especially true for the largest ones, where getting the organisation to embrace change can feel like turning around the proverbial ocean liner.

Because retailers have been slower to digitally transform than most other industries, however, any movement can still produce significant results.

Before any organisation can get started on its digital transformation journey, it’s vital that it conducts a digital maturity assessment.

This allows the organisation to determine where it is in the present, so that it can define where it wants to go in the future and how to get there.

It’s important to note that, even with a proper assessment and plan in place, digital transformation won’t happen overnight. It’s a long-term game with gradual progression.

But by starting with one area of the business, or even with a single system, retailers can see the impact of digital transformation without upending the business in its entirety. Implemented properly, that success will filter through to the rest of the organisation organically.

Retailers still have plenty to gain from digital transformation, but if they’re to experience its full impact, they have to embrace it now rather than later.


Is your business ready for transformation? Take our 5-minute Digital Maturity Assessment to find out and get a FREE report.


Digital maturity is vital to profit growth: Here’s why

Organisations of all sizes and across almost every industry have embraced digital transformation and accepted digital maturity as an ongoing goal to work towards. Far too many companies, however, view it as a box-tick item. In doing so, they miss out on the significant return-on-investment opportunities that come along on the journey to digital maturity.

By Catherine Murray, Head of Digital Transformation, Enlight Strategic

Microsoft’s digital transformation overhaul, in response to disruption by companies like Amazon and Apple, moved the company into a more forward-focussed cloud-based business. This resulted in a whopping 258% stock price growth over 5 years. Over the period from 2014 to 2019 revenue increased from $93.5 billion to $122 billion.

Similarly, Nike’s ongoing digital transformation programme to reinvent its brand and supply chain and move into the ecommerce space has resulted in a 69% stock price growth in just 2 years. Its stock price was $52 at the beginning of 2017 – it’s now up to nearly $88. Revenue increased from $33.5 billion to $39.1 billion in that same time period.

Among the benefits that come with transforming digitally and becoming digitally mature are reduced business costs, improved customer experience, increased agility, and reduced time to market.

Combined, these benefits can play a massive role in growing a company’s profits. In order to understand how, it’s worth reminding ourselves what a digitally mature company looks like.

Constantly maturing

While there are a number of competing definitions for digital maturity, there are a few characteristics that the most mature companies have in common.

They will, for example, have a well-established transformation roadmap that effectively fends off disruption and evolves as needed. They also use digital technologies to run their business and have the ability to drive continuous change across the company.

Additionally, these companies realise that achieving digital maturity is an ongoing process rather than an end-point to be reached.


Is your business ready for transformation? Take our 5-minute Digital Maturity Assessment to find out and get a FREE report.


Analytical, data-based approach

A part of that ongoing process means organisations using their available data as effectively as possible.

For the organisations that get it right, the rewards are plentiful. According to research published by Entrepreneur in 2019, businesses that effectively use Big Data saw a profit increase of 8 – 10% and a 10% reduction in overall operating costs.

Getting to that point, however, is easier said than done. According to research from Gartner, as many as 80% of marketers will abandon their personalisation efforts in the next five years. It attributes this to a lack of real return on investment and the challenge of managing customer data.

In order to overcome those data-based challenges, it’s vital that the entire organisation buy into digital transformation as a mindset. In doing so, it will reap the benefits of a data-based analytical approach.

Customer experience and digital maturity

One of the biggest advantages of this kind of analytical, data-driven approach is that it allows companies to give their customers a hyper-personal experience.

And in a world where it’s increasingly difficult to differentiate on price and quality, customer experience (CX) can make all the difference. In fact, research from Gartner shows that more than 81% of companies are competing mostly or completely on the basis of CX.

Here too, the opportunities for increased profits are big. According to research from PWC, 49% of buyers have made impulse purchases after receiving a more personalised experience. Similarly, 66 percent of customers say they’ll pay more for a great experience, and experience-driven businesses see almost 2x higher YoY growth in customer retention, repeat purchase rates and customer lifetime value than other businesses.

Nike’s success is largely attributed to improving its connection with customers through membership opportunities, stronger digital marketing and powerful data analytics.

Nike started selling directly to customers and partnered with Amazon for an updated e-commerce strategy. This end-to-end focus on consumer touchpoints and data better allowed Nike to connect with customers more personally and recommend the right products.

The company also opened concept stores and improved its online and mobile app experience, and has since ended its relationship with Amazon to gain even more direct control over their CX.

Given that the interactions people have with companies now largely take place on digital devices and platforms, it’s clear that transforming digitally is vital to providing good CX.

A few simple changes can result in a massively improved digital customer experience, bringing with it significant profit growth. That makes taking the journey towards digital maturity a no-brainer.

Boosting productivity

Digital transformation doesn’t only boost revenue growth, it also impacts employee productivity. A recent survey by Zensar shows that a lack of proper technology tools can hinder productivity and lower morale.

53% of the surveyed employees said they would be more empowered to better manage workflow if they were provided with the needed tools. 76% also added that having the digital tools they need at work makes them more productive and more than half, 53%, said it makes them more successful.

Utilising digital technology to change traditional ways of working also results in lower business operating costs, as teams can work remotely and collaborate online. This also generates more employment opportunities which is critical for economic growth, especially in South Africa.

Opportunities abound

These are just a few examples of how taking the leap into digital transformation and embarking on the journey towards digital maturity can be vital for profit growth.

They are not, however, the only ones. If an organisation embraces digital transformation in its entirety, then everything it does will feed into improved efficiencies, better customer experience and reduced time to market.

This requires assessing the company’s digital maturity across all five main areas of the business: Leadership, customer experience, technology, operations and culture. All of these feed into one another and, ultimately, result in increased profits.  

Companies can then work with a consultancy to improve their digital maturity and get recommendations on how to address the problem areas to start their digital transformation journey.

Enlight Strategic offers a free online digital maturity assessment to help you get started. This will show you where the challenges and opportunities lie with taking your business to the next level.

Catherine is the Head of Digital Transformation at Enlight Strategic. She has over 13 years digital experience and specialises in customer experience (CX), digital disruption, platform and digital maturity analyses, research, and cutting though the noise, to find simple, pragmatic solutions to complex challenges.

4 important digital transformation questions answered

Companies across an increasingly wide range of industries are waking up to the need for digital transformation. Rightly so too. Digital transformation doesn’t just allow organisations to keep up with the changing world around them, it also gives them a distinct business advantage, especially when it comes to factors such as customer experience.

By Tanja Lategan, CEO, Enlight Strategic 

In fact, 56% of CEOs say that digital improvements have led to revenue growth. Research from Accenture shows that 75% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a company that knows their name and purchase history and recommends products based on their preferences.  

Digital transformation is, in other words, imperative. But knowing that you need to do something and knowing how to do it are two different things.

With that in mind, I’ve outlined some of the questions I’m most frequently asked around digital transformation as well as the answers to them. 

1. What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation is such a broad term and the definition can change depending on your context and focus area.

Digital transformation will therefore look different for each company, but essentially it is the process of using digital technologies to create new, or improve existing business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet the changing business and market requirements.

This could be driving efficiencies through robotic process automation, upgrading your IT infrastructure or improving sales through better customer experience and data analytics tools. 

Enlight Strategic believes in a holistic approach to digital transformation that covers five main areas of business:

  1. Leadership
  2. Customer
  3. Technology
  4. Operations
  5. Culture

In order to achieve true digital maturity, all these aspects need to be assessed and considered.


Is your business ready for transformation? Take our 5-minute Digital Maturity Assessment to find out and get a FREE report.


2. Why do companies need to embrace digital transformation?

The incentive is to remain relevant, survive and thrive. It’s basically do or die. If your company does not adapt, you may experience the same fate as some companies who had to close their doors in the retail and media sectors when they were disrupted by Google, Facebook and Amazon.

From a community and economic perspective, we might not be able to change government policy or end load-shedding, but I believe it is every organisation’s responsibility to embrace digital transformation.

Companies must position themselves to contribute positively to the economy and the employment rate.

3. What does digital transformation mean for job creation?

A recent survey published by the ManPower Group predicted a very gloomy outlook for employment. It’s acutely the weakest it’s been in 5 years and down 3 percentage points compared to this period last year.

It is, however, encouraging to see that industries experiencing major disruption and companies that have subsequently undergone digital transformation are showing an uptick in hiring.

This shows a positive correlation between digital transformation and job creation and means that the strongest opportunities for job seekers will be in the Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Business Services sectors where the net employment outlook is +9%.

Companies also need to place more focus on Augmented Humanity and consider how technology can support rather than replace their human capital.

4. How does a company go about getting digitally transformed? Where do they start?

You can start by knowing your digital maturity and understanding what it means on a practical level.  A digital maturity assessment can help businesses to not only understand their own digital maturity but also how it compares to that of their competitors and industry as a whole.

Companies can then work with a digital transformation consultancy to fast track their digital transformation journeys, improve their digital maturity and get recommendations on how to address problem areas.

Enlight Strategic offers a free online digital maturity assessment for example, so there is really is no reason not to do it.


Is your business ready for transformation? Take our 5-minute Digital Maturity Assessment to find out and get a FREE report.


Tanja is the CEO and co-founder of Enlight Strategic, a digital transformation consultancy. She has more than a decade’s worth of experience as a senior executive in the digital publishing and agency space and is passionate about the role technology can play in transforming businesses.

The 5 stages of digital maturity: How does your organisation rank?

One of the most common misconceptions about digital transformation is that it’s about the implementation of cutting-edge technologies and IT systems that optimise operational processes. While technology plays an important part in digital maturity, it doesn’t give us the full picture.

By Catherine Murray, Head of Digital Transformation, Enlight Strategic

Many companies implement new digital tools and platforms only to find that they remain unused or unable to deliver the intended transformative impact due to low digital maturity levels within the organisation.

In fact, research into challenges companies face adjusting to the faster pace of digital business, from MIT Sloane and Deloitte, indicates that digital transformation constitutes a culture and mindset change first. Rethinking technology happens further down the line.

Digital transformation is better defined as a process of adopting new or different business processes and ways of thinking that help an organisation adapt and compete effectively in an increasingly digital world.

This means that companies need to understand how digital affects and can transform all aspects of the business, including leadership, culture and customer experience in addition to technology and operations.

Understanding readiness to transform across these areas is also critical, as differing levels of digital maturity require different approaches – there is no one size fits all solution.

But what is digital maturity and why is it important?

Digital maturity is simply a measure of how ready an organisation is to both understand and adapt consistently to ongoing digital change.

Higher-maturity organisations are nearly three times more likely than lower-maturity organisations to report net profit margins and annual revenue growth that are significantly above the averages in their industry, according to research by Deloitte.

Digital maturity models evaluate how well companies have incorporated digital into their operating models, how effective they are at executing on digital initiatives and their ability to adapt to disruptive technology, events, market trends, competitors or other major factors – both culturally and operationally.

Performing an assessment of an organisation’s digital maturity levels across all aspects of the business is the best place to start a digital transformation journey. It allows you to determine where you’re at in the present, so that you can define where you want to go in the future and how to get there.


Ready to transform your business? Take our 5-minute Digital Maturity Assessment and get your FREE report.


What are the 5 stages of digital maturity?

In my experience, organisations fall into one of five broad stages of digital maturity:

1. Traditional: These are companies stuck with legacy systems, processes and outdated ways of thinking. They make little use of digital technologies and lack the ability to drive change across the business. Activities that support digital transformation are usually accidental and not a result of strategic intent. They are likely being disrupted by competition and must act quickly to build a strategic plan and organisation-wide awareness of why digital transformation is critical to save the business.

2. Emerging: These organisations embrace digital slowly and have modernised some aspects of their business but are largely reactive and only make changes when they have to. They are unable to outpace digital disruption. These companies must start addressing digital transformation seriously and avoid creating more legacy issues that will make it difficult to scale and compete in the future.

3. Engaged: These businesses experiment with some critical elements of a winning digital transformation strategy. Limited foundational activities and pockets of innovation are in place, but often siloed and lacking focus or leadership. These companies need a plan for driving adoption of a singular digital vision. Key stakeholders must be engaged to develop a structured and sustainable transformation roadmap that delivers measured business value.

4. Competitive: Companies in this category have a digital roadmap in place and are starting to combat disruption. They compete effectively in the current market but need a strategy for future growth. These companies should start optimising, and address any remaining blockers preventing them from launching and supporting new digital products or services that leapfrog competitors.

5. Maturing: These companies have a well-established transformation roadmap in place that effectively fends off disruption and evolves as needed. They use digital technologies to run their business and have the ability to drive continuous change across the company. These companies must develop a roadmap for continuous transformation and delivery, in order to realise their full potential and become leaders in their industry. Finding ways to remove friction enables them to react swiftly to market trends and speed up delivery of new digital experiences.

I prefer the term “maturing” to “mature”, as the nature of digital requires transformation to be an ever-evolving process without a finite end.

Digitally maturing businesses are always transforming, and never transformed. These organisations constantly move forward on the digital continuum by regularly assessing and adopting new technologies, processes, and strategies.

How do we rate an organisation’s digital maturity?

There are varying digital maturity assessment models, but broadly all involve scoring an organisation’s digital maturity performance across several pillars of the business, including but not limited to: Leadership, Customer, Technology, Operations and Culture.

Analytics and data should be included as a measure of performance within each of these categories as it is critical to the success of any digital transformation programme.

Comprehensive digital maturity assessments typically involve several months of stakeholder interviews, surveys, research and analysis by digital transformation experts immersed within the business.

That’s great, but where do I start?

Start by completing an initial short, high-level online digital maturity assessment. This will provide you with helpful indicators and an initial appraisal of where your organisation stands, which be used to motivate your company to undertake a full audit.

Keep in mind that digital transformation doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long-term game with gradual progression.

Starting small with one sector of your business or examining one system is also a great way to show proof of concept and test out new ideas.

The pillars of your business that score lowest for digital maturity could be an initial focus for your digital transformation programme, as they are still developing and may require immediate remedial action. Understanding exactly what this means for your organisation and developing a clear action plan is an important first move.


Ready to transform your business? Take our 5-minute Digital Maturity Assessment and get your FREE report.


Catherine is the Head of Digital Transformation at Enlight Strategic. She has over 13 years digital experience and specialises in customer experience (CX), digital disruption, platform and digital maturity analyses, research, and cutting though the noise, to find simple, pragmatic solutions to complex challenges.

Why 2020 should be the year we stop fearing ‘the robots’

As artificial intelligence (AI) become increasingly pervasive, so have headlines about robots taking people’s jobs. While there’s undoubtedly truth in that (in as much as new technologies have always rendered some jobs obsolete), the societal impact of these new technologies is frequently misunderstood.

By Tanja Lategan, CEO, Enlight Strategic

As such, I believe that 2020 should be the year we learn to stop fearing AI and robotics and rather focus our attention on how technology can augment humanity.

Artificial intelligence to create more jobs

Certain jobs are being, and will continue to be, replaced. But on the whole, new jobs will also be created and humans are likely to remain central to the workplace for a long time to come. In fact, it is predicted that by 2020, artificial intelligence will be a positive net job motivator, creating 2.3 million jobs worldwide while only eliminating 1.8 million jobs.

While there have been plenty of predictions about the industries that’ll be most affected by these new technologies, it is a more complex task than many believe.

Industries likely to be affected by AI and robots include agriculturecall centresbanking and retail. Within these industries, some companies will thrive and others will fail. Which one any given company falls into will largely depend on their attitude to technology.

The companies that will be most resilient are those which embrace digital transformation, adapt to the changing world, and take advantage of the opportunities offered by new technology.

Technology can also enhance the abilities of humans

It’s also important to reiterate that in most industries, technology could enhance the abilities of human employees rather than replacing them. But in order for that to happen, human workers will have to develop skills outside of their traditional remit.

But what do these skills look like?

The simplest answer is to be better at being human. Robots and automation typically take on repetitive work. What they struggle with is creative and abstract thinking.

A look at the World Economic Forum’s top 10 skills for 2020 — which includes complex problem solving, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence — shows exactly how important “human” skills are.

The reality is that AI is much less of a threat to human employees than is sometimes presented. But companies and industries need to take a long-term view and understand that AI is most effective when combined with human talent and not when it’s just used as a replacement.

Tanja is the CEO and co-founder of Enlight Strategic. She has more than a decade’s worth of experience as a senior executive in the digital publishing and agency space and is passionate about the role technology can play in transforming businesses.

SA jobs outlook underlines need to embrace digital transformation

Given the state of the economy, today’s announcement by the ManpowerGroup that South Africa’s employment outlook is at its weakest in five years should hardly be surprising. Buried in the numbers, however, are indicators of how beneficial digital transformation can be.

According to the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey, opportunities for job seekers are expected to be strongest in the Finance, Insurance, Real Estate & Business Services sectors, where the net employment outlook is +9%.

“These are all industries that have faced massive digital disruption over the past decade,” Tanja Lategan, CEO of digital transformation consultancy Enlight Strategic, points out. “That they’ve come through that period and are experiencing job growth is an encouraging sign.”

“It shows that, far from destroying industries, technology can aid in their overall growth resulting in increased job opportunities,” she adds.

This is supported by research from Gartner, which shows that by 2020, artificial intelligence will be a positive net job motivator, creating 2.3-million jobs worldwide while only eliminating 1.8-million jobs.

While sluggish economic growth, spurred by the ongoing energy crisis and policy uncertainty, will have an ongoing impact on the employment outlook, Lategan believes that other sectors can learn from those experiencing an uptick in hiring.

“By embracing digital transformation, organisations can improve their overall efficiency, thereby reducing costs and creating a buffer against some of the worst external economic factors,” she says.

“Whatever issues a specific industry faces, the companies that will be most resilient are those which adapt to the changing world and embrace the opportunities offered by technology to better utilise and support their employees.”

“While organisations might not be able to change government policy or end load-shedding, they can embrace digital transformation and position themselves to contribute positively to the economy and the employment rate,” she concludes.

What digital transformation means for customer experience in 2020

By Tanja Lategan, CEO, Enlight Strategic 

By now, most companies have at some level realised that they need to embrace digital transformation. For the most part, however, these efforts are still limited to upgrading IT infrastructure, with very little thought given to the rest of the organisation. 

A more holistic approach to digital needs to be adopted and “the customer” should be given more focus in an organisation’s digital transformation efforts. It is, after all, customer experience (CX), more than any other factor, that sets an organisation apart from its competitors. 

Marketing, CX, and digital transformation

In fact, research from Gartner shows that more than 81% of companies are competing mostly or completely on the basis of CX. The same Gartner research also found that marketing departments own the budget for and drive the execution of CX in most companies. 

That should hardly be surprising. Marketing departments typically possess customer data and the platforms needed to analyse and understand customer wants and needs. And, increasingly, what customers want is hyper-personalised, hyper-relevant, interactions on the digital channels of their choice.  

Any marketing department that understands this and has the backing of senior leadership within the organisation is ideally poised to play a leading role in its digital transformation. 

With a wider array of digital channels, and higher levels of customer expectation than have ever existed before, Digital Customer Experience will only become more critical in 2020 and beyond.  

Breaking down silos

That’s not to say that digital transformation should be left to the marketing department. Far from it. Instead, the customer-centric approach to digital transformation should be adopted across the entire organisation. That means breaking down the silos between Marketing, IT, Finance, and various other departments that make up a business. 

After all, a customer will likely interact with several departments during their relationship with an organisation. Using the right data in the right way, organisations can ensure that every customer gets a consistent experience with relevant, personalised messaging.  

Digital maturity 

But before any organisation embarks on a digital transformation journey, it is crucial that they understand their digital maturity level in the area of customer experience. 

While many companies will say that customer experience is their primary motivation for enhancing their digital communication, the truth is that they see cost efficiency as the goal and customer experience as the nirvana. Trouble is, starting with cost efficiency as the main business driver seldom results in a good customer experience. 

It’s also vital that companies regularly assess how digitally transformed their marketing efforts are and how effectively they’re helping the organisation meet its wider business goals. With digital tools becoming increasingly democratised, what was cutting edge in 2019 may be old hat in 2020.


Contact Enlight Strategic at info@enlightstrategic.com for a free digital maturity assessment to see where your company stands.


21 online digital transformation courses your employees should take in 2020

By Catherine Murray, Head of Digital Transformation, Enlight Strategic

No business hoping to thrive in the future can avoid digital transformation. To do so is to risk being left behind by an ever-growing field of competitors who have embraced it as a strategy.

In fact, in some markets, more than a third of companies have already undergone a digital transformation. And, by the end of 2019, two-thirds of global CEOs were set to focus on digital strategies to improve customer experience.

There are a number of initiatives a company looking to digitally transform itself can undertake. One of the most important, however, is to ensure that its employees have the requisite skills to embrace this shift.

Fortunately, the education space itself is digitally transforming and there are a number of online courses that allow businesses to give their employees the skills they need to embrace digital transformation.

Here are 21 of the best of them available in South Africa: 

Digital transformation and business strategy

South African business executives have traditionally understood digital transformation as a function of the IT department, focused on technology and infrastructure.

In reality, digital transformation affects every aspect of the business and should be baked into its strategy.

When it comes to helping executives understand how to effect this integration, Singularity University has a number of online courses aimed at the transformative role of technology in the workplace.

The institute is a leader in exponential thinking, making it the go-to destination for cultivating the right mindset for digital transformation.  For those looking for something a little more offline, SingularityU South Africa offers a three-day executive programme.   

Several other institutions offer highly rated digital transformation courses:

 MIT, for example, has Digital Business Strategy and Organizational Design for Digital Transformation courses. 

The Gordon Institute of Business Science, meanwhile, offers a Leading in a Digital Economy programme. 

Wits offers a Core Concepts in Digital Business course, while its business school offers an Executive Education Programme.

Finally, the University of Johannesburg offers its own Business Innovation course. 

Customer experience

Customer experience (CX), should always be at the heart of any digital transformation effort. A business’ primary goal should, after all, be to meet the wants and needs of its customers.

While most people in most businesses understand this intuitively, few wouldn’t benefit from a dive into the practicalities of CX.

Here, the UCT Graduate School of Business’ Customer Centricity in Practice course and the University of Stellenbosch’s Customer Centric Management Strategy: Principles and Practices course are both incredibly useful.

AI and machine learning

Over the past few years, there have been plenty of fearful headlines predicting that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will result in massive job losses.

While it’s true that these emerging technologies may see some job categories fall by the wayside, they’re actually predicted to be net job creators. New jobs will arise, and this is why there is a need for growth in particular skills.

As AI and ML become increasingly ubiquitous, businesses will have to ensure that their employees understand, and have skills related to, the role of these technologies in the workplace.

In the AI field, GetSmarter offers courses from MIT, Oxford, and Berkley. MIT and Berkely also offer courses in machine learning, while anyone interested in the related field of the internet of things (IoT) can also take a course from MIT.

Big Data and data science

We live in an age of massive data, producing around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day. By 2020, there will be around 40 trillion gigabytes of data (40 zettabytes). No matter how big or small a company, it will deal with increasingly large amounts of data.

Any business looking to thrive in the coming years must be able to mine this data and apply insights from it to its overall operations and customer experience.

While a business may eventually need to bring in new talent, it can also upskill its existing staff with the likes of Berkley’s Data Science Essentials and Rice’s Data Science for Business and Data Analysis and Visualisation courses, all available from GetSmarter. 

Ongoing learning

Ultimately, what all these courses underline is that digital transformation is not a static “one-and-done” process. It requires ongoing practice and learning.

Any business set on thriving into the future needs to embrace that mindset and equip its staff to adapt to the evolving demands of digital transformation.

Catherine is the Head of Digital Transformation at Enlight Strategic. She has over 13 years digital experience and specialises in customer experience (CX), digital disruption, platform and digital maturity analyses and research, and cutting though the noise, to find simple, pragmatic solutions to complex challenges.