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Richard Raj of Frucor: Taking 'first mover' advantage in digital transformation

Divina Paredes | June 29, 2016
How ICT executives can apply their lessons learned in leading digital transformation programmes, to their respective roles.

"You may have three of five executives agreeing, but two other executives can derail it for you.''

He cites his model that illustrates this. In order to achieve a successful and sustainable digital transformation, both digital natives and digital migrants have to work together, he states.

The digital natives - or those who have grown up with internet - have already made it to the workforce, he says. "They are young, hip and know digital technology like the back of their hand. They also know how to utilise it, they adopt it at a faster rate.

''They are becoming the main consumer force. 'If you don't to sell me the way I like something and it is in the space I like to live in, in the digital world, I don't want to buy it'.

''They actually know it enough to apply it to the business, and create startups.

"You get almost a triple hit."

The fact is, they are the digital natives.

Whereas, he says, a lot of CIOs and IT management are digital migrants.

"You have had experience in Lean Six-Sigma and efficiency improvements. Those are good and provided incremental changes. But digitalisation is a step change."

He pushes forward the thesis of the need for digital migrants holding senior ICT leadership posts today, to "get citizenship into the digital world."

The same advice applies to their teams:"You need to immerse yourself in the digital world, because you are a migrant and you can not be a migrant all the time.

"You have to really immerse yourself in the digital technology, really understand what are the key dynamics around it. What is ahead of us? What is being innovated now?

"We must really understand the innovation and disruption cycle."

Concurrent with this is that they also need to understand some of the more industrial scale systems.

"You can run the business with really cheap and nasty stuff, but only for so long," he stresses.

"You can do something simple using Wordpress. But if you want to be a company like Frucor and sell your portfolio of products on the website, you can not do that with a cheap and simple $5000 website."

But this is only halfway to the goal. "You still have to really understand the big, heavyweight technology and where they are going," he says. "Not every big player is a sure bet.

"Observe them, because not making the right decision would be costly.

"If you say, let us digitise, buy a new platform and you choose the wrong one, a year down the track, you will be stuck again."

He is not proposing competing with digital natives, but working with them.


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