Louise O’Conor is a strategic and innovative leader with over 20 years international experience digitally transforming and scaling businesses (startups, SMEs, multinationals) across global markets and multiple industries.
Louise is partner and company director at Beta Digital – a specialised Digital Transformation consulting firm, delivering winning transformation and business strategies for companies of all sizes looking to adapt, grow and compete, through strategy, digital and transformation. Louise is also a mentor for Enterprise Ireland and Co-Founder of Ireland Together.
For anyone who knows me, they’ll know I’m passionate about making a difference, supporting others, connecting people and turning ideas into business reality to disrupt and transform industries and societies.
During these strange and uncertain times with so many unknowns, it is heartwarming and humbling to witness the strength and solidarity of people coming together to support each other. The Irish business community is just one of these groups.
Businesses across the country now need to adapt and innovate faster than ever to survive. But many companies don’t have the knowledge or expertise to transform their strategies, business models, finances or workforces to embrace the digital landscape in which they now operate.
Ten days ago, I joined a few like minded business professionals online – from across sectors and industries – with a shared passion for innovation and making a difference, to see how we could collectively support Irish businesses and the economy through these uncertain times.
IrelandTogether.ie – a non-profit organisation, whose vision is to connect, collaborate and innovate with members and industry advisors across the country through free consulting, advice, support, resources and services across all areas of business – including Digital Transformation, Financial Planning, Accounting, Sales, Marketing, Remote Working, Cybersecurity, Recruitment, HR, Executive Coaching, PR, Communications, Technology, Business Models, Design and much more.
Since our launch on 1st April the demand, response and support has been incredible. I believe that by bringing people, skills and compassion together, Ireland’s business community will show its resilience, strength and solidarity to not only survive these challenging times but to thrive and help build a prosperous future together. #JointheConversation #IrelandTogether
Some Advice for Businesses Going Through Change
We are witnessing the largest remote working experiment the world will ever experience. While most companies are now implementing some form of remote working, this does not mean their teams are aligned and connected. Implementing random tools, technologies and processes without an aligned strategy can be financially crippling in the long term.
Having transformed companies, workforces, teams and ideas from offline to online, and from initial concept to implementation, for almost two decades, here are a few pieces of advice for companies embracing this new world of work.
Moving from a Digitally Enabled Workforce, to a Digitally Connected Workforce.
Moving to new ways of working – changing business models, strategies, processes and workforce – is known as digital transformation. Simply put, it’s a business strategy to adapt, align and innovate an existing business, to meet changing business, digital, customer, social and market requirements.
It requires business leaders to stop, understand where their business currently is, decide where they want it to be, and then formulate a plan on how to get there.
It is a journey but an exciting one if implemented correctly and can be started immediately.
A Few Essential Requirements:
- Leadership and Commitment
Change doesn’t develop accidentally, nor is it the result of a quick fix. It is a continuous and ongoing process of adaptation to a changing digital landscape, and requires long-term vision, commitment and leadership.
Strategy is the strongest differentiator of digitally successful companies. Digital should not simply be an add-on to existing processes and practices; it needs to be embedded in the foundations of everything you do.
- A Change of Mindset
It requires looking at old problems and processes through new eyes and approaching them in new ways. Leaders must help to cultivate a digital mindset by encouraging a culture of experimentation and enabling people throughout the organisation to both challenge and improve upon best practices.
- Stronger Culture
Many people fear change. But with change, comes the opportunity for unity and alignment. Digital Transformation develops a stronger company culture, allowing for a successful and confident transition, provided there’s strong communication and leadership.
- Consolidation of Operating Models and Processes
Companies undergoing digital transformation often find that their operating models and processes, that served them well in the past, have now become a barrier. Consolidating and improving company processes and operations enables a business to become more agile and ready to respond to their target audience faster and more efficiently.
- Organisational Structure and Skills
Digitally minded companies are less likely to rely on hierarchical management structures to make decisions. However, many companies struggle to develop talent with the necessary skills to enable their digital ambitions. Using flexible talent models and third party insights can significantly help create an environment where employees are eager to continuously learn, gain digital experiences, and grow.
Business Benefits of Digital Transformation:
While all of the above can sound daunting, businesses that embrace the journey, will reap the benefits of:
- Financial and competitive growth
- Improved customer experience, engagement and retention
- Increased employee engagement and collaboration
- Updated skilled workforce
- Improved data-based insights and decisions
- Increased operational efficiency
- Greater strategic resilience to a rapidly changing world
It is never too late to start implementing new ways to solve traditional business problems. New business models open up the potential for new streams of income, new partnerships, and a broader reach for growth.
There will always be new challenges, competition, tools, and trends. Whatever the future holds a company’s vision must adapt and transform in order to survive and compete in this ever-changing digital and customer-driven world.
If you need advice or help, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. And don’t forget to join us on IrelandTogether.ie – let’s get Ireland innovating together. Keep safe everyone!