Previously head of IT strategy at MultiChoice for four years, Rani Bisal recently moved into a new role as head of business optimisation. She was one of the speakers at the recent AfricaCom conference and shared her thoughts on digital transformation leadership.
Digital transformation is not a programme or a project, as it is being treated in many organisations. “Digital transformation is transformation within in an organisation across people, process, technology, investment, business models, revenue models, etc,” says Bisal.
The key, she says, lies in the hands of the “people”, who can build, continue, change or remove a culture. “The traditional culture is of one stereotypically doing day-to-day activities without a specific goal or bigger picture focus. Digital transformation is about moving from a traditional culture to a disruptive-collaborative-agile-team culture with clear a vision and targets, Bisal believes.
Again, digital transformation as a belief has to be embedded in the roots of the organisation, across all the levels of the organisational structures, to ensure the whole organisation is working towards the same goal. “The key factor leaders need to keep in mind while implementing a digital transformation is to have a digital mindset that clearly cascades down through each and every crack and joint of the organisation to the tip of the roots,” Bisal says.
She believes that transformation is a journey and says MultiChoice is currently on that road, moving away from a traditional mindset to a digital mindset. “This transformation is driven by leadership and teamwork. Our leaders are extremely agile and collaborative and work as a team to ensure this transformation takes place vertically and horizontally throughout the organisation,” she says.
Broadcasters have had to wake up to the challenge of competition for audience attention; audiences are now consuming content on multiple platforms wherever they are, and not just in the home anymore. “It’s cheaper, it’s faster, and their devices are sitting in their pockets, so this is the paradigm shift that we are addressing,” says Bisal.
Transition and transform
Bisal adds that for any organisation undergoing a transformational journey, the core focus should be shifting from a traditional to a digital mindset with a two-pronged approach which allows them to transition and transform at the same time.
“We are a consumer service organisation and consumers have played a strong role in disrupting the organisation and driving it forward. MultiChoice is agile in aligning their transformation to consumer needs and behaviour,” she says.
Africa is an untapped market with huge opportunities and know challenges because the rest of the world had already found the solutions to these challenges, she says. So the future strictly depends on how fast and effectively Africa embraces these emerging trends to sharpen its sword to win the digital battle.
“Our key focus is on how quickly and effectively we can adopt the existing technologies that are already available and roll out across the continent. We are looking at how we can use these existing, untapped technologies to leverage them and this is where data plays a strong role throughout the organisation,” she adds.
Bisal says the company sits with vast amounts of data and this needs to be optimised and leveraged from an ad revenue point of view, to allow them to gain an in-depth knowledge of their consumers behaviours and preferences to serve them way beyond their expectations.,” she believes.
Content a priority
“Obviously content remains a priority for us, but the core to support this is data, and how we manage it. There is this one pillar in any organisation today that has accumulated strength over a period of time and has become the power hub of any organisation, and that’s data,” says Bisal. “It time to put all our energy in operationalising a data-information-insight driven strategy. This makes advertising more productive as there is virtually no margin for error at the moment of truth with our consumers.”
An ongoing challenge for advertising is that it cannot exist in today’s world unless it is specifically targeted. MultiChoice is streamlining their focus on targeted segments through rich analysis and personalisation, Bisal explains.
Why consu-tech is vital
Bisal believes the ever-green technology trend in any a customer-service oriented organisation is con-tech or consu-tech – consumer technology. “Technology never disrupts the enterprises or businesses, it’s the consumer behaviour around experience that drives and disrupts the business models/enterprises,” she says.
The technology developed decade after decade needs continuous application to the real world which is possible through consu-tech. “Leaders have to really focus in building and nurturing this skill within their organisations if they want to stay ahead of their consumers and the competition,” she says.
The core and essence of consu-tech is training your people to always keep the consumer as the end user in mind while doing their day-to-day tasks like writing a piece of code, or mapping a business process, or designing a technical solution or architecting a middleware and a gateway, she adds.
The core of consu-tech relies on a strong data-info-insight strategy. “The richer you make your data hub, the stronger your con-tech skills will be. This is the only technology or skill that will enable media organisations to follow their consumers to eventually lead their consumers.,” Bisal explains.
She says the focus has to be around one vertical with multiple layers; with the consumer sitting at the top layer and data sitting below that. Under that are the systems, applications and structures that enable the consumers.
Data is the power hub of any media organisation
“The focus on the data analytics that we can bring to the world of media is so strong. The accumulated data collected has become the power-hub of any media organisation and is key to innovation in the media world. Consumers share a large amount of their information with media organisations and there is a strong integration with online and offline advertising that we can leverage to enable them further,” she says.
Bisal points out that although there is an enormous amount of data available and sitting within todays organisations, it is how they are able to leverage it across platforms that will ensure successful innovation around consumer engagement and conversion revenue with retail partners.
She says the quality of the audience experience is key to engagement. Many media organisations are focusing on extending their viewership, but Bisal believes that it is the quality of the viewership that is important and forms a part of the ecosystem.
Bisal suggests three areas that broadcasters, advertisers and brand owners need to take into consideration when planning for digital transformation.
- A collaborative approach is essential and needs to be adopted to create a common ecosystem where broadcasters can walk the journey together with their agencies and content providers.
“What we are finding now is that agencies are semi-traditional and semi-digital, content providers are traditional and brands and advertisers have completely turned to digital, leaving consumers confused as to where and how they interact with brands,” she said.
- The importance of the consumer is key.
“We need to keep revalidating our model with our consumers and include them as a key part of our business-technology-innovation ecosystem,” she added.
- It’s not about the technology; it’s about the data and how you leverage it. The technologies already exist, and don’t need to be re-invented, but need to constantly be applied, validated and and improved.
“Consumer data is the source from which we can connect the entire ecosystem,” says Bisal. The crucial strategy needs to hinge on leveraging consumer data to ensure that consumers, technologies and brands are all connected.
“When we leverage this we can target our consumers at the right time, in the right place, with the right product, for the right reason,” she said.
Bisal believes that success for any broadcaster hinges on the marriage of the consumer with the brand: “As the broadcaster we are the intermediary that connects the right brands to the right audience. It’s that simple.”
Bettina Moss is an inspirational writer, motivational speaker, GlowCoach, intuitive counsellor, mentor and presenter in the field of personal growth and development. She founded GloWoman in 2010.