This content is produced by The Australian Financial Review in commercial partnership with DXC Technology. It was first published on AFR.com on 30 April 2019.
Every organisation faces similar business challenges today, with digital disruption happening across all industries and customer demands driving exponential technology development. To maintain pace and lead, organisations must work towards truly embracing and applying innovation to produce better business outcomes.
Business leaders I speak with, in Australia and New Zealand as well as in other regions, are having the same conversation.
Whether it’s in banking, insurance, retail or the public sector, organisations are being asked to keep up with the demands of the customer, improve productivity and, on top of all this, reduce costs.
These organisations are looking at technological innovation to solve their business challenges by scaling their digital efforts and drawing strength from new service platforms to create differentiation.
But technology in the business sense is really a means to an end. And to be meaningful, the innovation conversation needs to translate into tangible benefits across the enterprise.
With a recent survey from McKinsey indicating that just 6 per cent of chief information officers are satisfied with innovation performance, there is clearly much work to be done delivering on this promise in the market.
As chief technology officer for DXC Technology in Australia and New Zealand, I focus on establishing the right business models to help our customers “reimagine the art of the possible”. It’s all about pushing the boundaries and translating the innovation conversation we’ve heard over the past several years into applied innovation. We deliver this via three channels: Digital Transformation Centres, Applied Innovation Hubs and Customer Experience Centres.
To bring this ecosystem to life, our model focuses on four key elements. It starts with understanding the actual business problems our customers are facing and finding ways to turn these into opportunities.
Next is getting the right people to the table with the right mindset to work together on the solution. We believe you cannot innovate in isolation, so for us developing and working with a rich, diverse partner ecosystem is crucial to achieving this success – this is what we refer to as outside-in innovation.
We do this by tapping into fresh knowledge and talent from small start-ups to large businesses, technology partners to universities and everything in between.
When it comes to applying innovation, timing is everything. We implement our potential solutions in short, iterative sprints and minimal viable product (MVP) approaches. In this way, we can develop a functional idea to solve a business challenge in a matter of days rather than months.
We then continue to test the product while building out a solution, making sure we course correct in a collaborative way.
The final element of our model is delivering tangible outcomes to advance today’s business for our customers. This may be creating a better customer experience, improved profitability or product differentiation.
One example of innovation fast-tracking is an insurtech challenge we have run with incubator Stone & Chalk. This programme has helped to bring applied innovation to the insurance industry by linking start-ups with business executives to solve real business problems in prevention and remediation.
To be successful, whatever model you choose must factor in the future. This means identifying trends in the next three to five years and new business models, solutions and technologies. The innovation plan must incorporate today’s business strategy whilst considering future market demands.
To ensure this on an ongoing basis, we do extensive research to identify emerging trends. While we can talk about artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, drones and other developments, we also understand businesses do not have endless funding. It comes back to the first step in our model of understanding business problems and prioritising the right investments that influence the technology roadmap.
By bringing all of this together – the investment, the people, the partners and the strategy – we can harvest, consume and exploit innovation opportunities across this rich ecosystem. And taking this up a level, we can work with our customers to create and influence new markets and even transform industries.
An innovative future is here. It’s up to all of us to make it happen.