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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.

"The advantage if you are a digital migrant and you have gained citizenship, is you have all this heritage of how business is run and what really works. You have experience negotiating big platforms, knowing not everybody [technology providers] will tell you the truth."

"You have your battle scars of making change, because whether it is traditional or internet technology, it still requires all that experience," says Raj.

"And by gaining the citizenship then you are able to compete and really work with the digital natives who are building startups that are competing with your business.''

''The next phase is how you as a digital migrant, who has gained digital citizenship, can collaborate and utilise the untapped eagerness, energy and ideas for your business.

"It is not, 'I have a website and I am done'. It is really looking at reimagining the business and how the business model will change."

The passport to digital citizenship

He says there is no training or specific course to fast track the process of moving from digital migrant to digital citizen.

"You have to commit yourself to it," says Raj.

In his case, he read everything around innovation he could get his hands on.

"How were people applying digitalisation to their organisations? Who were successful, who were failing?

''I needed to learn the technology for business to business, business to consumer.

"Surround yourself as much as you can with the digital natives,'' he advises.

These could be developers in the team and people in the company who have a lot of innovative ideas.

He says applying bimodal thinking works not only with IT services, but in one's career.

"I observed the differences between the emerging fast way and the very surefire tried and tested way of doing things.''

Since he heads the project office, the group works on large initiatives that deliver million-dollar projects very effectively.

"If you are too slow, you lose the attention of the digital natives, the momentum in the business."

"If you have an innovative idea and you are looking at implementing it after six months, once the business case is written, these digital natives will leave you.

"You won't capture their attention if you wait too long."

He applied this concept of bimodal operations to his role and to his team.

"We have to be comfortable in the fast pace, take some risk, managed risk nonetheless, and still do the million dollar projects.

They did this by utilising agile methodology, DevOps, working on prototypes, and applying design thinking to their projects and utilising MVP (minimal viable product) mind-set.

"Get your end customer or consumer perspective first and really challenge yourself, why am I doing it this way?"


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