Q&A with Infosys Knowledge Institutes VP, Jeff Kavanaugh on The tech driving successful leadership in 2023
What are the key takeaways from the Digital Radar report?
The Infosys Knowledge Institute surveyed 2,700 executives in financial services and 11 other industries on how successful firms overcome challenges in the areas of innovation, net zero, and digital experience. One primary finding is that companies must build a strong live data foundation, organize their business around products, and build a culture of responsible risk taking. The Digital Radar study also found these actions retain employees, deliver products faster, and increase profit.
What’s surprising to see is that nine-tenths of businesses currently have the wrong culture and organisational structure to accomplish these recommendations, and only 5% have the right data foundation to do so. The leaders we interviewed were concerned whether technology will continue to advance productivity in a time of slowing global demand.
What are the benefits of live data and what is the impact it can have to drive digital transformation?
Live data is transparent, readily available, and shared widely. It is a prerequisite for a human-friendly, sustainable, and innovative firm. In the emerging product-centric operating model, the most successful firms will employ live data accessible in real-time throughout the enterprise. To harness this potential, dashboards with live data will provide companies a big-picture view across business segments. Innovation hubs will rely upon data-driven insights to prioritize new product development and digital transformation initiatives.
The report shows digital innovation is best achieved by combining it with ESG goals, what actions must businesses and leaders take to ensure they prioritise these elements and work together to achieve success?
Our Digital Radar 2023 report found that digital innovation leads to business success. To achieve this digital innovation, we identified three themes and four recommendations. The three pillars are live data, product-centric operating models, and responsible risk taking. The four recommendations are prioritising culture, reducing digital friction, building tomorrow’s skills today, and delivering change in bite-sized chunks. Through implementing these pillars and tactics, businesses will have a deeper focus on innovation while also going green through market-differentiating net zero initiatives.
First, leaders should start with data – that’s the foundation. Build a dedicated data hub, with data product leaders for major business lines. Once the data foundation is in place, organise around value. This means examining each value stream and building teams around them with direct visibility to the customer. Once these two elements are in place, and customer insights flow through the organisation, use these insights to make bold decisions faster, yet lower in in risk. Our research showed that data also enables executives to make better decisions related to ESG, ensuring a healthy balance sheet and a healthy planet. In fact, ESG is a money maker, and those that do it well create positive financial returns and other practical results, including regulatory compliance and superior brand perception.
How can leaders ensure that employees not only put trust in technology but also focus on digital skills, and cultural growth?
While all businesses adopt technology, industry leaders create a data-driven culture and encourage leadership that takes responsible risks. To do this, firms need to pivot quickly in the face of geopolitical and operational challenges, reinforcing the importance of a rapid test-and-learn, agile culture. For example, employees should work across organisational boundaries, combining entrepreneurial small team with enterprise platforms that enable rapid scale. Life-long learning provides the cognitive agility to bring modern operating model to life.
What initiatives can companies undertake to improve their digital learning capabilities for their employees?
Personalized learning, industry use cases, and organizational design. Digital learning applies to each employee on a personalized, individual basis. This requires building systems and platforms that tailor content and learning to each individual, at their own pace.
Each company has distinct requirements for their industry. For example, for financial services firms with a high number of customer inquiries, artificial intelligence (and yes, generative AI) provides a way to augment and upskill junior workers by tapping into the firm’s knowledge base and algorithms.
Enterprises must be responsive to both customers and employees – employees provide the differentiation to harness processes and tech to serve those customers. Design the operating model to evolve rapidly based on learnings, and structure the organization for product-based teams. When employees work on cross-functional teams with direct customer visibility, they learn faster, drive stronger offering growth, and engage more deeply with the purpose and mission of the firm. That engagement matters more now than ever.