Talking Digital: Is your business ready for the Transformative Age?

We are living in the Transformative Age. Innovation thrusting us forward and fundamentally shifting tradition and routine.  

Surely, conversations in the news, throughout your social media feed, and even around the dinner table swarm with the buzz of articles, tweets, posts, and pins all referring to disruption– its power and the inevitability of its impact. Like the information age before it, and the industrial age before that, the Transformative Age is changing how we live, work and play.

To remain relevant, businesses are turning to digital strategies in the hopes of keeping with up with the speed of change.

We sat down with Warren Tomlin, Digital and Innovation Leader at EY Canada to discuss digital and what it means in the Transformative Age.  

Why is digital so important?

Never has there been a time like this before – where there is some much data being created.  And its human insight that’s needed to navigate the extraordinary choices and actually leverage this data that digital presents us.

To be successful, human ingenuity, judgement and creativity will need to drive innovation. The right combination of people and their experiences will allow businesses to realize the future potential of technology – and to plan for that future from every perspective.

How can companies keep up with the potential of digital?

When we’re talking about digital reinvention, what we’re really referring to is business transformation. Digital should be viewed as a collaborative and coordinated effort and it needs to be embedded across the entire business, from strategy and design through to execution and risk management.

My favourite analogy is a campground at night. If you look around, you’ll see a bunch of campfires. These individual blazes give warmth and light to each separate group of campers — comforting, but never leaving their respective fire pits.

When I think about the digital strategies of many companies, I think of pockets of digital initiatives, innovations or new experiences all in different departments. Yet these isolated initiatives (or campfires) are not enough to illuminate a whole company. They haven’t been properly orchestrated or strategically driven, so they’re too scattered to produce long-term growth, and people are too afraid to wander far from their individual “campfires.”

Digital demands the integration of disparate parts of a company to be closer than ever before. And the faster your company is able to harness the power of these various departments and work together to uncover business issues and the potential of a digital solution, the more successful you’ll be.

How should businesses compete in a digital world?

In order to drive growth and competitive advantage in a digital world, businesses should BE digital and not just DO digital. It’s a way of thinking and behaving that needs to be embedded across the entire value chain. Being digital is not just about the front, or back end, of the company, but an end to end transformation of the whole enterprise.

About Warren Tomlin

Based in Ottawa, Warren Tomlin joined EY Canada in 2017 as Digital Leader. Tomlin has over 20 years’ experience consulting businesses from all industries on digital strategy, transformation and reinvention. Tomlin was formerly IBM’s Chief Innovation Officer and has been recognized as one of Marketing Magazine’s 100 Thought Leaders.  

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