Originally Appearing In
In the Business of Community:
“Where socioeconomic impact meets Business for the greater Good of Local, National, and International Community.” – Quanta D.
As the second Business quarter of 2017 is now upon us, and Business now being so close to third quarter, Business and the way to do Business has changed, with most now left at a loss in not knowing what to do and how to adapt to current and coming Digital Disruption changes. Most markets and industries are left in fear and disarray of the future to come.
Enter Mr. Simon Chan, a Corporate Digital Tech Savant and Consultant, Founder of DigiVue Digital Consulting.
Mr. Chan takes a seat with Quanta D. to answer some tough questions about the ravings of Digital Disruption that is catapulting Business anxiety for many years and now, even the Public now speaks of it.
Simon Chan offers some tips for what any Business type can do to properly adapt to Digital Disruptions that also extends into severe unpredictability of an up and down global Job Market in 2017. With a completely new era of disruptions that can easily prove detriment for the success of Business in all forms, Quanta D. sought the digitally-diverse and innovating Simon Chan, for his advice and guidance to assists all in best countering Digital Disruption. Mr. Chan contributes his extensive background in Business and Digital to help Business with the improvements that are necessary in such a disruptive Digital era and how to lay the right foundations to properly implement Digital Transformation into success.
Quanta D: And welcome to another episode of Quanta D. for Business Innovators Radio, with ‘In the Business of Community,’ where Business meets socioeconomic impact for the greater good of Local, National, and International Community. Today’s guest, a Mr. Simon Chan, coming out of DigiVue Consulting and the UK, bringing us news and solutions for not only the Recruitment Industry, Digital Transformation, Digital Strategy and the International Job Market.
Q: How are we doing today, Simon?
Simon Chan: Feeling great Ms. J.
Quanta D: Great to have you here, great topics. A lot of people are trying to figure out what’s going on with all of this stuff so, you’re the man that can give us great definitions, defining exactly what Digital Transformation is, what Digital Strategy is, and the difference, and whether or not we need to connect the two. There are plenty of people merging the both of the terms as the same. So, looking at your background, your great work, I know of a bit of it,
Q: Please share with us some of that 18 years of experience that you have in Digital and Information Technology, as well as Business?
Simon Chan: Yeah sure. I’ve always been involved in IT, Information Technology, in school. I picked up my first programming book at age 7, I studied at school and then I took a degree in Business Administration and Computer Science at University. I then spent a year at Her Majesty’s Treasury in London, working for the government, and then a year after that I went to start working for IT Consultancies. So I spent five years working for two major IT Consultancies, who both occupy the Digital Space today.
Initially, I started out implementing Enterprise Resources Planning Systems, such as SAP and also CRM Systems, such as Siebel. I did about 5 years with major Consultancies, and then moved on onto end-user companies, and that’s where I worked for names such as British American Tobacco GAM, which is a leading Swiss Asset Management firm. And also Regus , who are the world’s leading provider of global Workspace/Office Solutions. Through those jobs, I went through a number of different types of roles or – I have occupied Developer and Data Integration roles, I have occupied the Business Analyst role as well doing ten years of that.
Quanta D: My goodness.
Simon Chan: And also, got into the Technical and Solutions Architecture space. Now I’m a Program Manager and a Digital Strategist, so I’ve kind of moved from the back-end, so right out of the database level and the coding level all the way to the senior management level, so I’ve kind of got a lot of experience of what it takes to design and build systems, also to implement them and sell them. I think I’m kind of unique in that experience, in terms of t coverage, and I guess that’s how I’m trying to market myself at the moment,, I’ve got the coverage of pretty much the whole Digital Space and I understand it well.
Quanta D: Wow. Amazing. I didn’t even know about the ten years and the two projects and five and the CRM or Customer Relationship Management, and it’s pretty incredible so,
Q: You are really well-rounded, that’s an understatement, having such experience within the Digital space. And I believe that began in 1989, is that correct?
Simon Chan: No, I started out in 1996. I did a 1 year placement in London with HM Treasury and then I went back to the University for another year to finish off my Business and Computing Degree, and then after that I went to a Consultancy as a Graduate, a Management Consultancy which implemented enterprise-level systems. Enterprise Resource and Planning Systems and Customer Relationship Management Systems, so my work has always been around change, change-management and implementing large-scale IT projects into organizations. I’ve worked with anything from a team of five, , all the way through to rolling out a truly global project for eight-thousand people in 120 countries, which I did for Regus a couple of years ago.
Quanta D: Yeah, Regus is, I mean I’m not really that versed on everything that Regus is, but I’ve come across a great deal of Regus in advertisements.
Simon Chan: And in the Marketing space?
Quanta D: Yeah. And you know how you can look at certain advertisements and tell how much money has gone into that campaign or how much goes into that campaign or how much else has gone into it so, Regus is big business when it comes to just Technical space period. Wow.
Well Mr. Chan, we’re seeing a lot, ok, online and I mean, it’s crazy how much discussion is taking place about this. Even outside of event spaces that I’ve had to circulate, even coming up randomly at cafes, ok? There’s a lot of talk of inquiry, borderline hype, confusion and anxiety around what Digital Strategy is, what the best strategies are, and also Digital Transformation. Now, it’s kind of freaky when you hear it coming up in cafes. I have no idea, with the Law of Attraction thing, because of my work with Quanta D, maybe I am hearing this as per the Law of Attraction? Maybe it’s gravitating towards me but I’m talking about cafes outside of work, I’m hearing this, people are talking about it. And it really does seem like it’s something that causes a lot of anxiety and confusion. Now, what I would like to ask you, being that you do have so much going on in your background for Digital period, and Business and Consulting. I just, are most of us defining this properly?
You know, Digital Strategy, Digital Transformation, because, I mean it just looks like we’re all confused because there are so many definitions by it. People that have nowhere near your years of experience, regarding Digital, are giving their own definitions and I mean, it just looks like there’s more anxiety and confusion. So,
Q: Would you please, please explain to us, well first of all, are we even defining this properly, overall, Digital Strategy, Digital Transformation, generally speaking?
Simon Chan: Sure, let me try to simplify this for you. On LinkedIn, someone published a post on “What do you think Digital Transformation is?” And, he was going to come up with a list of 300 different types of definitions for Digital Transformation, so that kind of gives you an idea of what we are dealing with, it could mean different things to different people.
Quanta D: Right.
Simon Chan: And you’ve got to break-down the three words themselves, Digital, Strategy, Transformation, to understand the reasons for this? The three words themselves aren’t very well-defined anyway, so that probably results in a lot of the confusion So I’m going to attempt to define them here for you right here
The first one is Digital, which is really about computing, the reason why it’s called Digital is because computers talk to each other using binary code, and binary means using ones and zeros, yeah? And that’s what Digital is of course, ones and zeros. So Digital means computing and this makes it a lot easier to understand, so it’s about Information Technology! The next thing is Strategy. Now strategy, I have lost count of the conversations we have had about this over the years.
Quanta D: Yes.
Simon Chan: I mean it could mean anything from a plan of action to a mission statement to a set of actions to a set of objectives, depending on who you are talking to, so, if you’re going to define strategy, you’ve got to come up with a standard definition for it, because nobody knows what they’re talking about when it comes to strategy, a lot of people just don’t understand it. Some people have one opinion of it, other people have another opinion, different things to different people, once again.
Quanta D: Right.
Simon Chan: So, I tend to take the definition that strategy is basically the accumulation of three things The first thing you’ve got to do, you’ve got to analyze the market, analyze what you are doing, analyze what the competitor is doing, and take a market view to take a stance to where you want to go. And then you’ve got to set some objectives, as to how you are going to progress and actually beat the competition, because ultimately, strategy is about winning so you need to take market-share from competition by increasing profit or increasing revenue So you need some objectives, and then you need some actions to back that up. So strategy, in summary is, is really a stance, a market-view, and taking that stance and backing up it up with some objectives and then some actions. And you need all three basically, otherwise it’s not a strategy.
Quanta D: I think that’s an excellent definition. I couldn’t agree with you more from what you just said, you need all three. Like you said, different things for different people but I mean, it just seems like the inter-web space, I mean it’s just thrown around so much so thank you so much for defining Digital and Strategy. Now what can we speak on about Digital Transformation?
Simon Chan: Transformation is needed for making the changes to implement your strategy, think about that and it could mean quite a few things. To implement change, you probably have to go through business model changes, which then can involve people, process and technology. So then it involves culture, involves changing and streamlining your business processes to make them more efficient. And obviously selecting and designing the Tech to fit-in with the people and the process. So it is quite a big journey and requires a lot of experience to actually push people through that journey, so you need to have people on the ground who know what they are talking about, who are experienced, and who are able to advise businesses in the best way possible. Now, we’ve got the tree definitions, Digital, Transformation, Digital Strategy. I would say Digital Strategy is to do with obviously IT, but actually using IT to actually advance a businesses’ strategy in terms of actually solving problems for customers.
Quanta D: Exactly.
Simon Chan: It’s really about solving business problems. And the Transformation is really about transforming to that new strategy so that these business problems can be solved in a different way, using technology.
Quanta D: Very interesting that you mention the business problems, it moves right into the next question that we have here. From what you are seeing, is there confusion in utilizing Digital Strategy and Digital Transformation that is also breeding corporate and/or industry problems?
Simon Chan: That is definitely a yes. It comes down to a lack of understanding, and if the terms mean different things to different people, then you’re going to be opening up yourself to potential bad practice if you’re going to purchase solutions that are not well-defined also, and actually solve the wrong problem. So I think, yes absolutely, you need to have the right level of expertise engaging with you on your business journey so that you actually develop your strategy, otherwise you end up with the wrong services. Implementing the wrong services, could ultimately mean losing market-share and customers so it had very serious consequences. I think it is very important, , to get a good understanding of what Technology can do for your particular business. This is the area where you need an expert. You need someone who understands change and transformation. To be able to actually analyze that market and craft some potential solutions and options for you that may align with the ideas that you have, going forward for competing with your competitors.
Quanta D: Right, and for growing and expanding your business.
Simon Chan: Absolutely.
Quanta D: You know, I’m so happy that you are on today to be able to answer these questions, because we tend to look at a lot of different things, especially in the Marketing space because that’s where we ultimately come from, we come out of the Marketing space. And, I’m talking about from even 6, 7 years ago being a part of our Marketing Masterminds and having to analyze and assess different ways, this is something that we’ve seen from back then. It’s nowhere near the amount of time that you have happened to see these things taking place, but it’s so painful, because I mean, these businesses, again, it’s more prevalent in the Marketing space. We’re seeing so-called agencies that don’t really know what they’re doing, being contracted out by brands with huge hopes, very small budgets.
You know, and then they, they go in and act like they are experts and they end up messing things up, because they weren’t really clear and they are really not within expertise, properly, to even give anyone any proper consulting or advise on what they need to grow their business. So, I’m just happy to hear you’re speaking of this and hopefully there are some people that you can help even more. And I look forward to seeing more of that because it’s definitely needed, especially with all of this confusion about how to define what Strategy is, even what Digital is, what Transformation is, so thank you so much for that, because this is something that is so painful for us to see for a long time.
Simon Chan: Yeah sure. Ms. J, well are you there?
Quanta D: Yes.
Simon Chan: Yes, obviously, if you do get the strategy wrong then the costs could be astronomical.
Quanta D: Oh please. Sir, please excuse me? By all means, it goes beyond financial costs, I’ve seen great concepts and ideas, from you know, beautiful people with great hearts, and everything plummets, everything goes down all because of the one simple mistake of choosing the wrong individual to help them.
Simon Chan: Absolutely. So there’s one particular example that I wanted to point out. There was a big project up in Scotland for the Police, called the I6 project, the aim was to actually integrate one hundred and thirty systems together, to streamline the process to make it quicker. It started in 2013 and it was due to go live in 2015, but in July 2016 it was scrapped, After three years of hard work.
Quanta D: Oh, my God.
Simon Chan: 60 million pounds down the drain. Yeah so, it’s just an example of what can happen to your business if you engage with the wrong type of people.
Quanta D: 60 million pounds down the drain? Three years of hard work and 60 million pounds?
Simon Chan: Yes.
Quanta D: That’s kind of hard to come back from.
Simon Chan: It is. Absolutely. It can actually destroy an organization. So I think this is the reason that a lot of people are nervous about starting a, Digital Transformation. Change is tough anyway but to go through such big large changes can be very detrimental for an organization, in terms of people, in terms of the process and also the customers as well in that process. So it’s very important that you know you engage with the right people up front.
Quanta D: Of course.
Simon Chan: You need People who can simplify the area of IT and digital rather than make it more complicated. I think as a CEO, as a C-level, it’s important you actually understand it yourself. If you don’t understand some of the components yourself and you don’t understand some of the strategy yourself, you need to drill into that to understand it. And it’s part of your Consultant’s job to make it clear to you how the Technology is going to work and that you understand it. Because that is the most important thing in Consulting I think of Consulting as a Partnership, rather than a Consultant telling a Client what to do. I believe in it being a collaborative arrangement
Quanta D: That’s right. That is Quanta D’s angle as well.
Simon Chan: Giving knowledge to the organization from the Consultancy angle. So the Consultant obviously has the knowledge but they need to feed it into the organization so that the organization becomes submerged in that knowledge. And I think of the Consultant as an Advisor or a Mentor within a given area. With Digital Transformation where changes can be very big, it’s very important to get the right qualified people to apply that change.
Quanta D: Yeah, we like to call it “the win-win-win.” This is what we’re into, “the win- win-win,” and to quickly touch upon what you’ve made mention of, back to the corporate and industrial problems and the things that can take place like the example of the sixty-million pounds and the three years of hard work. You know, this is what a lot of brands come to PR for, not just to help with boosting and enhancing current campaigns anywhere from Advertising, Marketing, Publishing, whatever have you, and Branding of course, but also to try to clean up such mess, you know, like what we’re seeing with United Airlines and what not, right? So, but there’s but so much if something like that takes place, it’s even more difficult for PR to do something, especially if there is no bigger better improved plan, alright, from the side of the brand to fix this with the right strategies and the right Consultants and Advisory on board. There’s but so much PR can do and that’s a huge statement for me to be making because usually, again, especially within industry, PR is to clean up pretty much anything. You know, but to me, like when it comes to something like that example that you mentioned, it really takes a lot more work on the side of the brand to take care of what they need to take care of to clean things up, PR couldn’t even help that.