Positioning New Zealand for success in a more digitally connected world than ever before | Instant News


Partnership Content. Prosper joins New Zealand Trade and Enterprise to see how businesses can transform digitally for stronger.

OPINION: It’s fair to say that 2020 is a year like no other. There are so many reasons to use the word as never before.

Life as we know it changed dramatically in March when New Zealand first entered into lockdown, and since then we have continued to adapt to the evolving challenges of Covid-19.

It will always be a marathon, not a sprint, and because we are investing behind our recovery, it is critical for us to position New Zealand for success in a world that will be more digitally connected than ever before.

Covid-19 has accelerated many of the trends we have seen over the years – especially the transition from the physical to the digital world, and the pace of businesses undergoing digital transformation. We will not back down from here.

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For some businesses, this means it’s time to take a step on the digital plans they are already working on – for others it means considering how to operate in the digital world for the first time and how to build the skills within their teams to do this.

As you walk the path, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First explain Why you need to change

Every business’s journey of transformation is unique.

Maybe you need to introduce e-commerce and shift online for the first time because that’s how your customers want to buy from you now, or maybe you are already online but struggling to compete.

Maybe you need to embrace digital technology to modernize your applications and improve performance, scalability, and security, or make better business decisions by leveraging the power of the cloud to turn data into insights.

Spark’s digital transformation began in 2013 (as Telecom), with a clear need to improve financial performance, customer experience and people engagement.

We started by defining the markets and segments in which we wanted to compete and lifting our performance standards and pace of execution.

We were too clumsy and slow – operating the old closed system and not communicating easily with each other, which limited our ability to serve customers quickly and effectively and reduced the speed and flexibility of our employees.

For our customers, we are difficult to deal with.

Spark chief executive Jolie Hodson speaks at NZTE's Digitally Speaking series of events.

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Spark chief executive Jolie Hodson speaks at NZTE’s Digitally Speaking series of events.

Don’t just change technology – change the way you work

Whatever your reasons for changing, the answer is not as simple as upgrading equipment or implementing a new system. It usually takes a fundamental change in how you do business.

At Spark, changing our systems and processes is only one piece of the puzzle.

We have too many handovers between teams, we don’t connect with our customers the way we want to, we keep adding resources to get things done and are plagued by too many meetings and emails.

Sound familiar?

The problem is we don’t change How we work.

This is the driving force behind our shift to ‘Agile’, which has helped change our culture and the way we work.

At its core, Agile is a mindset – it’s about less hierarchy and more empowerment within clear parameters, it’s a performance culture with strong cadences and regular measurement of results, a culture where all voices are valued, not just leaders, and everything else. driven by team success versus individual success to achieve business results.

Change must start with understanding your customer’s needs

Go digital and change your business have to start with your customers. What customer problem are you trying to solve and how will this provide a better return or competitive advantage for your business?

It’s not about taking your existing business processes or directing them to the market and putting them into digital format – it’s about re-imagining what they would look like if you started from scratch, and worked from the needs of returning customers. If newcomers come to your market, how do they design the experience?

Putting the hard work into re-engineering our IT systems and processes over the years, and changing our culture, is ultimately about improving the experience for Spark customers.

Customer engagement scores have improved significantly, call center volumes and waiting times have drastically reduced as we have provided more digital self-service and simplified products, our employees are more engaged, and this ultimately increases business results and shareholder profits.

Be brave with ambition

All journeys of transformation, big or small, require courage.

It’s hard to hold onto a mirror – so you can see what other people see – and then lean into the need for change.

You must be prepared to take risks and move quickly, while balancing those steps with good governance.

And you need to take your team – communicate more than you ever can and involve everyone in the change process.

Learn from others and ask for support

We work with more than 3,500 business customers across Spark and through our multi-brand portfolio, including CCL, Digital Island and Qrious.

These include some of New Zealand’s largest companies, to small local businesses we partner with through Spark Business Hubs.

What they all have is that no one has all the answers, and the right solutions come from working together to test and learn.

So if you want to embrace the digital world, but don’t know how, the first steps can be as simple as chatting with someone who has walked before.

Jolie Hodson is Spark’s chief executive.

This article was commissioned in response to a commercial partnership. We have produced it independently, with the same standards our other journalism applies to. Read more about us partnership content right here.



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