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The Clientside Podcast

Digital transformation with Richard Godfrey

The Clientside Podcast

40 min Richard Godfrey

Andrew Armitage talks to digital transformation expert Richard Godfrey about what the phrase really means, and how starting off with the right mindset can enhance the digital transformation experience.

In this episode we discuss Richard’s experiences of working with clients in both the public and private sector, the challenges businesses often come up against and how you can use his methodology (the 5 D’s) to take the first steps in your own digital transformation.

Richard highlights where companies often struggle and why, by approaching it in the right way, a digital transformation isn’t something to shy away from.

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Andrew:
Hi, everyone, and welcome to another episode of the Clientside podcast. I'm your host Andrew Armitage and on this podcast, we speak to guests who are experts in their fields who join me to talk about their experiences, giving you actionable tips to take back into your business and apply them to support your brand, your marketing and ultimately your growth. I hope you've had a good week and have been able to get out and about a bit more now the lockdown restrictions are being lifted. There certainly seems to be a bit of a drift back to work with a number of our clients heading back to their workplaces all be it under quite different circumstances. In fact, even being back in the office probably means you won't yet be able to escape the curse of Zoom meetings. But wherever you are, wherever you're working, I hope you and your families are safe and well. Now, since the pandemic took hold earlier in the year, many companies and brands have been reining in their marketing budgets in an effort to reduce costs. It will probably come as little surprise, though, that my own view is that now is not the time to suddenly reel back and shelter from the storm. But if anything, to face it head on, increase your visibility and presence as we ride it out.

Andrew:
So while marketing budgets have fallen, there's a growing indication that budgets for projects revolving around digital transformation are actually on the up. You can't fail to have noticed during the lockdown period that those companies that have performed well have in most cases had a well-established digital framework. Not just a presence, but a well integrated approach to digital, that has meant they fared better than many. By being able to go remote or sell online or adapt their products to a digital solution. But what is digital transformation? And why suddenly so much talk about it? Well, I'm joined by my guest today to talk about what it is, why it's important and crucially, how to go about it, because there's an awful lot more involved with digital transformation than going from paper to digital or building a new e-commerce website. So welcome to my guest, Richard Godfrey, who is the managing director of Syn City. Richard has worked with a number of world leading technology companies such as Salesforce, AWS, Google and Box and now works with CEOs and senior management teams to enable them to achieve digital success. So welcome to the show Richard.

Richard:
Thank you very much. Thank you for having me.

Andrew:
Oh, you're welcome. Thanks for joining us. So you are obviously involved in this space of digital transformation. You're working with senior people. What what is digital transformation mean to you?

Richard:
To me, it means it's a marketing ploy. It's not a phrase I like or not one I use. And to be honest, it's because it generally has been something that's been pushed by the technology companies. So you must transform. You must do this. And the reason I don't like it is because they also then conjures up images of large scale, across an entire company kind of transformation programs. And actually, what people should be doing with digital is looking at how they can become more efficient in using it. So, I focus very much on digital efficiency, and that could be anything from a small two man accounts team, just being better at what they do having better access to the data, all the way through up to an entire company. So it looks at a range of kind of sizes of projects and doesn't say, right, we're going to transform from one to another, it just says we're going to carry on doing what we're doing we're just going to do it better and more efficiently with the digital tools that are kind of available to us. So that's kind of the starting point, just to get the language right and the frame of mind right. With people when we start on these projects.

Andrew:
So it's not so much the process that you disagree with. You're accepting that there is a process for people and companies to follow. It's just the terminology that you think needs a little bit of clarification and perhaps a little less marketing emphasis.

Richard:
Yeah, definitely. I think it's just been pushed and pushed and pushed. And the failure rates on digital projects and things is so high, that people are kind of getting wary of it, get slightly fatigued. Obviously, the pandemic recently has pushed people into the Zoom meetings, the team meetings. A lot of shops have now gotten online kind of presence. And that's good. But it's a starting point. It's not them what do we do following that? So, yeah, absolutely. There's a process. There's a lot of work that goes into it before you even buy technology or look at buying technology to understand what your needs are, what your outcomes are. To me, if we can just focus on how we become more efficient, and that could be we serve our customers more efficient, we're more efficient with the data we capture and how we use it. We give a more efficient service, customer service from sales and everything.

Richard:
So you kind of breaking down almost every process, so every action within a company and saying, are we doing this well? Is there something that can help us do it better? And what you're starting to do, especially with the way that I do, is start a communication kind of culture within the business. Start people talking about digital more. And if you can see small improvements in what you do, then that kind of overall impression of how do we move to bigger digital projects becomes much, much simpler. Because you've already brought people in. And I think you can talk about as if you said to your sales team. Right. We're going to move from office 2015 to Office 365. That's an I.T. project. The lack of engagement, everything else. If you kind of frame it as in. Right, we're going to move you to a few more systems because we believe you'll be able to sell 20 percent more than you do. And that means an extra 10 percent commission for you guys. Suddenly, the buy in is different to that project.

Andrew:
You get the engagement, can't you?

Richard:
Absolutely. So it is kind of around the terminology, but it's trying to make projects, not I.T. led or force I.T into places. It's what can we do for the business or the people in the business to help them make them better at what they do? And then you can kind of roll out more digital, quicker and easier in the future.

Andrew:
Now, just as we were talking off air before we started recording, you gave a stat that suggested 95 percent of projects add no value to the business. I mean, is that a result of the name and the convention that everyone's following? Digital transformation. Is it because transformation is pretty vague? It doesn't really suggest, it just suggests a change, but it doesn't really communicate any any form of change, does it? Whereas if you're talking about increasing efficiency and that approach of well actually it can help you to do your job better. And that might mean you make more money or you could spend less time doing work type tasks. Is that is it down to the name as to why it's failing or is it down to the people? Because you've suggested that people already are going to be a major factor in any sort of digital efficiency project.

Richard:
Yeah, definitely. I mean, it's multiple kind of reasons why one of them, the biggest ones is because people don't know what the outcomes of the project are anyway. So people do label a migration to Office 365 as a digital transformation project. But what are you trying to achieve in doing that? Is it more resiliency? Do you want your staff to be able to work remotely, work different hours, flexible sort of times and hours, locations but they've not measured that, because it's I.T saying we're just going to upgrade because Microsoft has said this goes end of life. It's an I.T. project that doesn't have an outcome to it. Whereas, again, where we're trying to focus is saying to them, if you've got a digital strategy, for example, around or a technology strategy, your a service to the company as I.T.

Richard:
You should be sitting with styles and saying, right. What tools can we give you to make you better at your jobs, go to marketing. What tools, what data or information do you need so that you can give sales better leads, more leads, more qualified leads, and then you can start to put together a plan that says, right, we know exactly what the outcomes are we need to deliver, and we can measure ourselves against them and then we can start to implement some of these projects. So, yeah terminology, outcomes based sort of measurement and not doing technology for the sake of doing technology. There's lots and lots of new toys and new gadgets that techies love to play with them.

Andrew:
Don't we just.

Richard:
Yes. And as you probably know, there's something like fifteen hundred different marketing bits of software out there. So how do you even know which one is the right one, unless you've spoken to people about what their needs are? So I see a lot of I.T. strategies that are very much focused on how we make an I.T. better or I.T. more efficient. And it's the wrong focus. It needs to be about how we're making the business better or more efficient. And in some cases, that means your I.T. budget might double. But because you can measure those outcomes and you know you're going to make sales more efficient, better, your marketing is going to be better. Your numbers that come through coming through in real time. You can see exactly what's happening. Then there should always be a payback to you as a company. There's too many projects I've said. I had a mini argument with someone on Twitter last year, actually, who said you shouldn't do a business case for digital. But of course you should. You have you keep exponentially going and going and going until.

Andrew:
Yeah. You've got to have some sort of outline to what you can do.

Richard:
So if you know the return is 100000 thousand pounds, then spending up to, say, 50, 60 thousand pound on it, that's fine. Just as far as your business case might need to be. But you should know what that measure is. And I think that's why you kind of find a lot of these failures and such high stats saying that they don't add any business value is because they don't really know what value they were going to add in the first place.

Andrew:
Right. And do you think some of that is because these projects get instigated by the techies, by the I.T. people, and they see that internal benefit first to themselves, to their own teams, their own budgets, rather than the wider business benefit? Is there a problem with them? Dare I say always coming after their box to engage with other parts of the business and and say, well, look, there's this technology that could have this positive impact over here, or is there more generally a lack of communication across senior teams when it comes to these sorts of projects?

Richard:
Yeah, definitely a lack of communication and engagement as well. A lot of us know techies speak their own language, talk in acronyms and all sorts that no one else understands. You've got TV shows like the I.T. crowd that show them as being the basement dwellers. With can you turn it off and on again, the geeks, the nerds, they live at their mum's house that don't leave the rooms. They don't like sunlight. We have all of those things. And actually then going into a business and saying, right, we're going to do something is quite difficult to have those conversations. So a lot of the time I kind of act as a intermediary. But I can say, okay, I understand your business outcomes. I understand the technical speak. Let's translate that into our views. Things like car engines I've used house foundations, I've used all sorts of analogies that just kind of get the picture and the message across. Yeah, it is about how can you get two very, very different types of people with different ideas or different outcomes that they both want to achieve on the same page to deliver better for the business.

Richard:
I.T will worry about security and locking the estate state down. We've all had the computer says no stories. I want to work from home, but I.T. won't let me. And it is understanding some of those more technical aspects where they do say no from a business perspective as well. So you do have to bring the two together. I just focus on bringing the business to I.T. rather than necessarily I.T. to the business.

Andrew:
Yeah. And I think that's that's a far better approach, because if you take the business need there first, then someone who is well versed in I.T. or the technology can can come up with lots of different approaches that might be suitable. Whereas if you look at it the other way round, you're almost you're only starting with the solution rather than looking at the problem, aren't you?

Richard:
Yeah, absolutely. And my background previous to this was in local authorities. So you will always have a social care strategy departmental document that says over the next five years in social care, we need to achieve X, there'll be some budget savings, there'll be some avoidance and cost avoidance, things like that. So I.T. is a strategy. Can't have a standalone strategy that says, well, we're going to roll out Office 365 and Chrome books and various other bits. It needs to be looking a balance and right, what does social care need from us? How can we help them? And how can we accelerate their ambitions? So we get them there quicker.

Richard:
And if we can kind of look at it from those aspects, the strategy starts to write itself, because you couldn't see, right. There's the business, the business needs to achieve that. What's my role? My role is to accelerate that as much as possible. Here's what we'll do and we'll go and talk to them. And then I think you can start to look at some of the bigger projects as well. So in some cases, you can start very small. Sometimes you just have to go the entire department, the entire company, we'll hit everything. But, yeah small steps, incremental. Lots of conversations. Lots of discussions. My methodology is the five Ds and it takes you through each of the processes, but the first two are to discuss and then discover. And it is around those conversations. What you find difficult with your job, what takes you longer than you think it should. How good are you with the current tools? Are we using the current tools well enough? And I use Excel as an example of that because the amount of Excel experts I meet is ridiculous. And by expert, it's because they can do a pivot table. You kind of go, okay, but that's on page two of the dummy's guide of Excel. Flick through to page 120. And then tell me if you can do that. And then I'll call you an expert. But actually they've just used it a lot and they're quite comfortable with it and they know what they're doing.

Richard:
You start asking them about V look ups or H look ups and they go blank. So it's it's kind of understanding just how people can use them, what they using and their own skill set. So when you are looking at implementing a project, you understand from the start the level you're coming at. If you've got five people who don't know how to open the Internet and you're coming at them with a cloud based system, you've got to start a long way before that. And that's where a lot of people kind of fall down. I still see it in councils and businesses today, actually. I think because some of us work in tech or in the industry, to us the fact that someone doesn't know how to get on the Internet is a bit alien, especially people who are in business or working and everything else.

Andrew:
It's a thing we do every single day isn't it? Sometimes several times an hour. It almost becomes something that we mock people for, doesn't it? But everyone has their own respective situations. And if they're not required to do that on a day to day basis, it's hardly surprising that their not familiar with it.

Richard:
And if you're going to go in and just say, right, we're going to use this brand new system, it's all cloud based. Isn't that great? Well, no, because the people who care that it's cloud based are I.T. because they're the ones who have to support and maintain that system and that access to it. The end user wants a system that turns on when they need to use it. So having great conversations about oh, we're going cloud first to anyone outside of I.T. is largely irrelevant. When I come to work on a Monday morning, I turned my computer on, will it open on the program I want it to. Will it work? Will it freeze? Will it die? Will it lose anything I've worked on? They're the things that the end user wants to focus on. Not oh, we've gone cloud or we're using APIs or we're doing all this clever techie stuff. So it's that conversation piece really that if you can get that right as a starting point, it does make things so much smoother for you further down the line.

Andrew:
So I think what you're basically saying there, that although we talk of, or the industry talks of digital transformation, you talk of digital efficiency. We're actually starting with people your first two steps there. It's all about people, isn't it, and what they need rather than what the technology can do.

Richard:
Yeah, absolutely. It's all about them really it's understanding people in your business, even your customers. So I advocate people get in and talking to their customers and say, okay, which other online services do you use? How do you get on with them? What do you like, what you don't like, what kind of goes, oh, we're going to do Amazon model and stuff? Well, is that what your customers want? Do they need that? Is that more to do? Say you've got a product that's aimed more at elderly people, having an online form for them to ask information is probably pointless. Have a telephone. That's the route they want to go down. The solution isn't always technology. And again, so I worked in a council once that were looking at food hygiene, and they explain their process of how they go into a kitchen. There's a form that they fill out and they've got the heads in fridges and in cupboards and they're obviously searching for rat droppings and everything else on their hands and knees. And they were trying to push them down the route of having it all on an iPad.

Richard:
And as they explained it all, it was like, you know what, your best solution is en and paper. Genuinely, that's the best thing, given what you're doing and you're clambering over things and everything else, do it on pen and paper. And then maybe once you come out and you sit in your car, we'll give you a tablet or something that you can type it up into.

Andrew:
Put your notes into, or even voice transcribe it.

Richard:
So it's almost like the sense of relief that came over their faces as they thought they were going to have to go through a 10 page document, scrolling on an iPad, trying to find the right sections fill in. We just went in and went, no papers your best bet. Keep it simple. But if that conversation hadn't happened, somebody would be able to form on an iPad for them that they didn't like, they probably wouldn't have used it, they'd have carried on using pen and paper anyway and then filled it in in the car in the way we said do it.

Andrew:
And that's your 95 percent then, isn't it? Because they've not taken into consideration that the end user just wants to be able to do what they need to do and get the job done.

Richard:
Absolutely. You've added no value to them at all by giving them an iPad with the form on, they're still working in the same way. And going back to the kind of transformation piece is I have this ongoing kind of imagery that I use a lot of a caterpillar and a butterfly. And for me, that kind of sums up transformation in that if you put the two side by side, you wouldn't know they were the same animal unless someone told you that before. You'd have no idea they were the same animal. So transformation is going from something that looks like one thing and changing it into something completely different. And I then advocate what you actually need is a faster caterpillar. You don't need to transform. If you're plumber, you will still be a plumber. You just might have Calendly or something for bookings and a better website and a form that captures emails into a CRM into your account system.

Andrew:
You've not fundamentally changed what you do into something different.

Richard:
Yes, you've not transformed as such. You've just become more efficient at some of that administrative tasks that sit behind you as a business. And I think that's where you can kind of get into people's heads a bit more. They're not trying to change my job completely, they're not pushing me out or they're not trying to do something else. They're actually trying to help me free up more time to do the more valuable tasks.

Andrew:
Yeah, that all makes sense. So you talk about this five step process and we discuss and discover in the first two what comes after that then.

Richard:
You're testing me now. So, the next step is then decide. And that is more around that strategy. So once you've had those conversations, you've discovered kind of what's out there, what you've got, what data you hold, what you don't hold, we can then go into decide. We can look at that strategy that says, okay, we know what the business outcomes are. What's the technology now we're going to put in place.

Richard:
Then you move on to design. But design will almost be must be your one year plan. So your strategy might be a five year, longer term strategy with lots of ambitions and aims, it might change within that period, but we'll keep it set as we can. You then have design, which is that one year piece that says, okay, this year, here's kind of the list of projects we need to do to get us there. You might have already started on some, or you might come in from the point of nothing at all so you need to do some of those kind of key infrastructure type projects first to give you that grounding. And then onto deliver, obviously, which is actually we're going out and buying software and delivering it. So you're at stage five of a five stage process before you touch the technology.

Richard:
And I think it's key in that when you get to kind of decide and design stage, which is where projects often fall foul, is because people don't understand the strategy. So it's an I.T. strategy. Now, I've talked about cloud, I've talked to API's I've talked about digital twins. I've talked about Smart City, I talk about all this stuff, infrastructure as a service, platform as a service. And I give it to my chief executive to sign off. And he looks and goes, I don't know what any of that means.

Andrew:
It's a different language.

Richard:
Where's block chain? And then you're kind of like, so that's been signed off, but not understood. So how do I then kind of go into the business and say, right, for the first year we need to do some fundamental reworking of our infrastructure? You don't get the buy into it. So it's very much around wording it around those business outcomes that everyone can see. They can get on the journey. They know they've been part of that conversation initially. So they know their concerns are being addressed. And it really is just building. We talk about digital culture. I talk about building a communication culture first. Having the right conversations with the right people. Getting everyone on board so they can see where you're trying to get to as a business. And then those I.T. projects that were probably done almost behind the scenes previously are now kind of visual. Everyone can see it, but they understand why we're doing them as well. And now will give you much better success than I.T trying to do it alone.

Andrew:
I'm glad you mentioned the word culture, because I think it is, there is a cultural shift there is a mindset shift of clearly and communication, what you're talking about. One thing that I'm wondering is how can that cultural change be measured? I mean, what do you how do you measure a digital culture? And culture is practically impossible to sort of put a scale on it. But there must be certain things that you can identify have progressed as part of that delivery stage. You know, what happens over the first six months versus the following six months and into that five year plan. But that culture and that acceptance, I suppose, of this ongoing not reinvention, but the ongoing drive from new efficiency and refining that to become more efficient. That must be a really difficult thing to measure and put a value on.

Richard:
Yeah, I think it's huge. It's I mean, traditionally, everyone talks about great digital cultures. And what they mean is there's a bowl of fruit at the front and a ping pong table at the back of the room. Look at us, we've got a great culture. But yeah, I think if you if you can start to just embed some of those conversations, one of the measures really is, is how often people are then thinking about the processes or the tasks they're doing and then coming to you to say, I'm doing this task and I think there might be a better way of doing it. And you generally don't see a lot of those conversations happening now. I've seen people who have just, you stand over their shoulder as you watch them type something and you just look at them and go why are you doing it like that? Oh, because Dave used to do it like that and he was here before me and Bob told Dave and kind of at no point if you'd gone to I.T. and said, is there a better or more efficient way?

Richard:
I changed an H.R. system in a company once. And the H.R. guys came to me and said, oh, you're changing our system. I was like, oh, here we go. We're gonna have a fight. So, yes, I'm changing your office system because it fits the overall architecture we're going for. And the guy looks me went oh thank God for that it's crap.

Richard:
But you've had it for 10 years. He's like yeah I know, we can't use it. And the data's wrong. They can't even tell you how many people were employed by the company, because it just didn't have that information recorded or recorded well enough. And I said, well, why don't you come to me before this and they just went oh, well, we thought we'd just you'd leave so you wouldn't talk to us or you would you'd say no. And so for me, it is just that the way to measure is, is how often those conversations are now starting to happen. How engaged I.T. and the business actually are. And when you're having a conversation about right in social care, we want to do this or in sales, we want to achieve this. There's a, an I.T. guy at the table going. Right. Not from technology perspective, but they need to achieve this. They need to achieve that. What have we got, what have we done? Where can we aid them? And actually being that, being like the business partner, much more of a business partner to the business. Remembering that your service to it and you should be helping them to deliver.

Andrew:
Yeah. I mean, the overwhelming message I'm getting from you is it's it's communication is at the core of all of this and not just one way. It's going to go both ways. You've got to have that feedback loop to to understand how how something has then been used. And I guess in many cases, certainly we see this with web sites, sometimes you don't know how something is going to be used until actually you've got a bit of the benefit of time under your belt. It might take three months to be able to look at sort of your more statistical data analytics or experience analytics, where you might actually be able to see more about what people do, how they use things. It can be difficult to get right first time can't it? I think sometimes and that's where you've got to engage this sort of continual evolution of communication, both ways to understand what's working, what's not working, where can we improve it, actually, what's working really well for you? What can we take away? What can we add that ultimately funnels you down to this point where you get to the optimum situation that works for people, it works for cost, it works and the technology, the infrastructure and so on.

Richard:
Yes. And and if you don't understand that kind of as a senior manager or a chief executive, you're just looking at it as a website project that kind of failed. They want immediate return and immediate results. And you and I know it's not immediate sometimes, it does take time. You have to refine it. And coming back to that kind of business case of, okay, you're going to spend sixty thousand pound on it. We've spent 30. We've got to a point. We've got some good information. We know how to spend the next 10. We know where we're going with it. We'll iterate again. We'll go through that process. And then when you get to 60 and you've spent everything you said you're going to spend. So you can kind of sit down and evaluate where you're at and you can have a sensible conversation that says, right. Actually, we think five more grand will actually increase what we're doing 10 times or actually we think we've probably hit peak. Let's stop. And it might be let's stop because actually we need to run for six months. We need people to use it, see how they're operating with it. And then in six months time we'll come back and we'll have another conversation about it. And we've got some information and some data to base that on. But a lot of it, as well as is actually having the kind of those senior managers that don't understand actually put their hand up and admit we don't understand. We've heard you talk about SEO, but we don't know what that is or how it works. You don't just become number one the next day.

Andrew:
No quite. I was going to say who who needs to up the game? Is it the I.T. and the technical people that need to have a greater business focus and people focus? Or is it the senior management that need to wise up on the digital awareness?

Andrew:
Probably a combination of the two.

Richard:
I think it's definitely both but I think there is massive improvements that I.T. can do to be more engaged in the business and understand the business more. But you also have to look at the fact it's 2020. Every company has digital of some sort in it, whether it's social media, whether it's marketing, whether it's sales, whether it's CRM, it's whether it's Internet of Things. All these tools are out there. And actually in another five years time, I think the market they've said is going to be something like one point three trillion dollars of spend, huge, huge amounts of money. So we talk a little bit about your becoming a technology company with your service on top of it. And if you don't understand the technology that's powering your company, you're not going to survive. So you do need to learn, I mean, it's not you know, you don't need to learn how to code or any of that task. You just need to understand what it is, what it can do for your business, and then have your I.T. department as your as your crutch or your support to say we want to achieve this. How do you guys think we can get there? I mean, I was talking to years ago, I was quite good friends with the CIO at Gatwick Airport. We spoke at number of conferences and he moved to Dubai Airport. And it was all about how many more passengers they could get through the airport. And we were talking about IATA sensors and various best measuring where people would go in, how they were moving. And it's that kind of if you can get into that headspace of looking at what other people are doing and why they're doing it and understanding that, relaying it back to your company. Somethings are absolutely not for you. But some things are. And you're not exploiting them.

Andrew:
And I guess if you're in a position to start and measure all of these things, then at least you've got the data. You can start and pick and choose what's going to be relevant in terms of how your strategy takes shape.

Richard:
Yeah absolutely, I mean, data is is the lifeblood of everything. And I talk about it in I mentioned the book I talk about in the book I've written at the moment, and I describe data as the wine and the software as the vessel that is poured into. So you don't necessarily go and buy the cup first. You find the nice wine and if you've got a nice cup, crystal glass, brilliant. But if it's in a paper cup, still wine.

Andrew:
It would probably work. It serves a purpose of getting it down your throat.

Richard:
What you're trying to do is keep the wine. It's not meant to be spoiled or anything like that. Yeah, really if if you can take a bit more data first concept into when you're looking at software, what am I collecting, what am I doing with it? What information is that data giving me? Too many people focus on the flashy, nice sites of the software companies. Look at what we do. If you can just take kind of a step back and go as a sales team, we would like more information on X or more data on this. And actually, what we'd like to do is have enough information so that when we pass that customer either to implementation or through to customer services, it's kind of a complete journey that they're going on. It doesn't feel like we're talking to three different departments. And I liken that to a utility company. You talk to whoever it is, you talk to the first person and then they put you on hold, they pass you through to another department and you have to start again. And then you get passed through to someone else. You have to start again. Yeah. And that's not the experience you you want to be given.

Andrew:
No, that's arguably why they get such a bad name, isn't it? But I'm sure there's plenty of other reasons for the utilities companies. But yeah, I think that that process of of being joined up now is is so important. The technologies there to do it, there should be the business will to put it in place. Obviously the reasons and the finance has to be able to justify that. But I think for the loyalty these days is digital experience, isn't it? That's that's where a lot of loyalty comes from with customers. If something looks good and and you, it meets you on your terms at the various different points, you interact with it, whether it's on that buying journey or whether you're looking for support, you're in that utilities example. If, if it's clear that the system one hand is talking to the other, then you feel that you've been a lot more looked after and you're far more likely to think, well, well, this is a company that is actually helping me to get to the root cause of my problem or help me out with a particular solution.

Richard:
Absolutely. And if and if some of that is proactive as well, is then feeding information without you even asking for it, it just makes you feel so much better about using them as well. I mean I talked a little bit on the podcast the other week about Smart Cities and we talked about bin lorries, now one of the biggest things is remembering which bin you have to put out, what day, what time, if it's not being collected, why it's not. The amount of times you hear the bin lorry come in suddenly panic, dash out the door. But then you look at Uber and, yes, they're a taxi firm. But when I call a taxi, I know where my car is. I know which street it's going down. I know how long it will be before gets to me. All it is is a geo location on a car. Why can't they do that on the bin lorries and give you a app? It's a slightly better experience where a message gets pushed you to says you're bin will be collected tomorrow. It's the grey bin. We think we'll be with you by ten o'clock and then you get up in the morning. You might have another alert, but you can open the map up and you can see where the bin lorry is. It might even help traffic because when they go down one way streets, you might want to wait at home an extra five minutes till they've cleared the street. And it's just. Yeah, thinking about how you can use some of these tools differently to deliver a better service to customers.

Andrew:
Yeah. Once again, in that example, you you've started a human problem haven't you? You know the technology is no where to be seen. The solution potentially is the enabler. But actually you've gone right back to basics in terms of what is that person waking up and what are they thinking? What are their thought process? What are the problems they've got to overcome that day.

Richard:
Yeah, and it's, we all know that if you if you bin is missed, it's a pain because you're then going two weeks until the next bin collection. You're cramming it in, but then you're starting to push people into fly tipping and various other bits. So you kind of think, you know, how do we make this as simple as possible? We go back to kind of the root cause of the issue. Is there any technology that can help us with this? Give them a better experience and then move on. And I won't labor on smart cities. But there's a there's kind of a concept where you can build a smart city from scratch. What they're trying to do is build, I'd call it a digital city or something that's just got lots of technology.

Richard:
It's not smart because it's not solving any problems because you don't know what the problems are until you put people in it. There's a very well known design gif or meme that goes round that's a crossroads and someones walked across the path, across the grass and there's someone else have walked across the corner. Yeah. And there's we've designed it like this, but the users are doing something very different. And that's the same with the city and people in a city. So you've got to be looking at the problems and the individuals and how you helping them. And that comes from. But again, that's your sales team market and team support team. And the only way you'll understand that is to take it all the way back and have a conversation with them.

Andrew:
Yeah. Great, Richard. Well, we're out of time, I'm afraid. I really enjoyed that conversation on a number of levels, I think reinforcing the human core around all of these digital projects is fundamental and it has some really good nuggets there that you shared with us. So you mentioned a book. Where can people follow up with you online as well?

Richard:
Yes. So there's my website, company Web site is Syn City it's www.syn-city.co.uk and my email is Richard@syn-city.co.uk. And hopefully yeah, the book should be out in about 11 weeks. It's called Be The Five, which is the name of the course. It's about being in that five percent of projects that do add value to the business. And I'm looking forward to pushing it out there and seeing what people think.

Andrew:
Excellent. Well, I wish you all the best with the book and obviously you've got those courses. So to head across to Richard's website and find out more about those. Thanks very much for joining us today, Richard. On the clientside.

Richard:
Thank you. It's been a pleasure.

Andrew:
Thank you, Richard, for joining me on the Clientside podcast today. Main take away, I guess, that disdain for the phrase digital transformation. And I never really thought about it that way. But it is really just a drive to find digital efficiency. It's something that isn't necessarily done. It's an ongoing process. And yeah, what is transformation? And I really liked his example of comparing a caterpillar and a butterfly. You don't necessarily want to change from one to the other. You do really just want to be using digital in a way that makes you more efficient. So a really good conversation do look up Richard. His details will be in the show notes, which you will find at adigital.agency/podcast.

Andrew:
Thank you again for checking out today's episode of the Clientside podcast. I really hope you found it a useful conversation with some actionable steps that you can apply in your business, if you can spare just a few minutes of your time then please do look us up on Apple podcast. Search for the Clientside podcast by a digital and leaves a five star rating. And if you can, leave us a quick review. I'd love to hear your feedback and would really appreciate your support, if you're interested in learning more about a digital and how we might be able to work together. Head across to our website at adigital.agency and complete our online scorecard so you can benchmark your own digital performance. You'll get a free personalized report sent you by email. And I can learn more about you and your business and the particular challenges you're facing. We can then follow this up with a free call to map out your priorities, either on the phone or over Zoom with absolutely no obligation. Thank you so much, everybody. I'm really grateful for you tuning in. If you have any comments about this episode or any previous episodes of the Clientside podcast, then drop me a line to Andrew@adigital.co.uk or head across to our website to adigital.agency/clientside.

Andrew:
See on the next show, cheers.

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When you are looking at implementing a project, you understand from the start the level you're coming at. If you've got five people who don't know how to open the Internet and you're coming at them with a cloud based system, you've got to start a long way before that.

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