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[ARTICLE] Taking a Look Back at the Amsterdam Digital Transformation Conference

Sam Button, Head of Growth, Roar Media

With the recent announcement of our Digital Transformation Conference in Europe on October 7-8, it is a great time to look back at some of the highlights from last years’ event in Amsterdam.

The event took place at The Amsterdam Marriott Hotel featuring 16 expert speakers. The conference commenced with The Chief Digital Officer for City of Rotterdam discussed innovation in Rotterdam Public Administration, driving innovation for the past 15 years from a single infrastructure to an enterprise platform with future proof digital strategy & new operating model. He discussed how they became a data driven organisation, created a digital city (an open data platform for co-creation, of Rotterdam in 3D), increased RPA to reduce the burden on administrative staff & improved their digital workplace to be mobile and provide functionality, the correct access to documents and allow for seamless collaboration.

Monkia Matuszewska then took us through the innovations within L’Oréal’s customer experience through the use of digital technologies. L’Oréal was founded in 1907 with a mission to provide the best cosmetics to men & women globally, they are currently the No.1 cosmetics organisation worldwide with a revenue of over £27 billion per year with 11% being eCommerce. As a company they have adapted to customer expectations & changing consumer behaviour, looking to be one step ahead of trends and providing new digital experiences to impress their loyal customers. An ambitious CEO was adamant to harness the power of technology, to control & manipulate data as well as utilising emerging technologies for the benefit of their customers. L’Oréal now use AR to provide a service to try on make-up & hair colouring without leaving the comfort of their own home, offering video tutorials & 1:1 consultations to advice the best products & skincare. Using digital services to analyse your skin and track progress to show customers the true benefit of their skincare range.

Our 3rd keynote of the day was a great presentation from Tighe Wall, Head of Digital Strategy at E.ON, who discussed how customers needs and expectations are changing. Their customer service had to become fully digital with digital native products, mobile first methods of communication with self-service options available.  He highlighted the importance of digital transformation to counteract marketing pressures from emerging new competitors. The digital strategy was built on 5 key areas: Leadership & Capabilities, Process Automation, Optimised Customer & Employee Experience, Re-Design of Existing Businesses & Creation of New Businesses. They found digitalisation profoundly impacted their organisation, triggering change on three major levels. Technology, using the power of data & digital technology to enable the workforce to increase productivity. Ways of working, leveraging the power of new methods & techniques to become faster, more agile and increase their customer-centricity. Organisation & culture, unleashing the potential of employees and empowering them to work in purpose-driven, self-organised and collaborative teams.

The keynote session concluded with Peter Van De Pol, Product Owner at OV-Fiets who discussed how innovation & digital technology enabled OV-Fiets to reach over 5 million rides in 2019. OV-Fiets public bicycles for rental was launched in 2007, with 330,000 rides taken in the first year. Growth has been rapid year on year and the demand was too high for their technology systems to maintain, they needed to evolve quickly to deal with the scale. A better core system was needed as they were stretched too far due to their success & there was growing pressures from other bike sharing services. Through a 3 year digital innovation journey with their digital services partner INFO, they were able to improve their internal systems, asset tracking, data collected, customer services, bike repair system and introduce easier to use lock & key systems.

A design thinking approach to user experience was introduced by Helen Arvanitopoulos, Head of UX at Aegon. Challenging us to understand our users and design products, services and experiences directly with the user in mind. The process of understanding involves identifying potential issues, empathising with your users and defining the main problems with the current offering. The design phase involved idea creation, developing a prototype for testing and then evolving this into a product ready for the market. She introduced the idea of design sprints working together as a small group in order to create a product perfect to solve the irritations of customers experiences. The process involved interviewing customers & analysing the findings before a 2 day design workshop with all members of the team collaborating to design and develop which was then released as a prototype for user testing with real customers. You can view Helen’s presentation in full here

Dr Ric van Westhreenen, Future Workplace Product Owner, discussed what T-Mobile had learned through their innovation within their digital workplace innovation. T-Mobile have 4 offices in The Netherlands with over 2,000 employees managing their 25% share in the Dutch mobile industry. They identified that the future of work is all about employee experience, with 3 main objectives: giving employees physical workspaces they want, having up-to-date technology & tools needed and creating a workplace culture they can celebrate. The workspace needed to be simple, encourage productivity and collaboration, be secure and increase employee satisfaction. Their goals by 2021 included becoming cloud first, increase agile mobility, protect their data, support device independence & BYOD and give employees the ability to do things independently utilising technology.

Employee experience was improved by updating technology with unlimited mobility and seamless collaboration & monitoring tools. The tooling landscape was simplified to reduce shadow IT, lower the risks of data leakage, increasing productivity and security. Through constant contact with their employees and testing, they are working to increase the satisfaction and productivity of their teams whilst limiting spend and increasing security.

We were also very fortunate to be joined by Varun Bhatia, Chief People & Culture officer for AirAsia, the 13th largest airline in the world, who have 1,600 flights per day and over one million human interactions everyday with their customers. For 11 consecutive years they have been the world’s best low-cost airline but continue to change and transform with a work environment which promotes transformation. Their mission values to enable a harmonious workplace culture and encourage individual service excellence & productivity includes broadcasting internal success stories to their workplace, increasing morale, self worth and desire to maintain high levels of customer service. The CEO regularly joins with these discussions and is easily accessible through the internal intranet, celebrating stories of customer service.

Varun also discussed how the company culture enabled them to work with their transformation acceleration scheme through providing their workforce with a high achieving mindset, support to develop their own skillset and a company-wide obsession with offering the best customer service and going above and beyond for their guests with every interaction.

Look out for further presentation videos from last years’ conference to be uploaded over the next few weeks as we build up to this years’ Online Digital Transformation Conference, Europe taking place on October 7-8 which is free to register to attend for the first 1,000 attendees.

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