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Expert Exchange

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Digital transformation: is the hype ahead of the reality?

by James Wilson and Matt Whipp on 06 Jun 2019

We could write endlessly on the fact that many businesses are now digitising, rare is there a business that doesn’t have a digital implementation plan underway.

Yet, while “digital transformation” has become the buzzword of choice, we are still waiting for a universal acknowledgement of what the term is. It’s this ambiguity that potentially leads many to view digital transformation as merely “hype” and for the topic to become divisive. However, the focus on becoming digital – or being seen to be digital – is arguably not what matters.

BIE hosted a breakfast with senior leaders exploring the role of digital, predominantly within the finance function, and what became clear is the world is now shifting, along with consumer expectations, and businesses must respond to the change.

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Are working from home days the new normal for senior executives?

by BIE on 17 May 2019

The working from home discussion has long been a heavily debated one. There are those who think people will get nothing done, and it doesn't work for every business. But there are many who believe employees will be happier and more productive if they have the option to work from home. And the latest statistics show that organisations have become more open to it. Ultimately, there needs to be a balance between the needs of the business versus the needs of the individual.

But what does the debate look like at the senior executive level? Is there an appetite and an expectation amongst senior-level talent to work from home? How receptive are organisations to it? And what are the benefits - and potential downsides - at both an individual and organisational level?

Drawing on the perspectives of BIE consultants Catherine Osaigbovo, Emma-Claire Kavanagh and Gordon Whyte from their experience of working with both candidates and clients, we seek to answer these questions.

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What should you look for in an interim manager?

by Emma-Claire Kavanagh on 07 May 2019

If you’ve decided that your business could benefit from hiring an interim manager, whether it’s to help with a transformation project, implement a new system, or rescue a failing project, you’ll now be focused on identifying the right person for the task.

You know that interims will be used to dealing with tight deadlines, high-pressure circumstances and adapting into established teams, so you’ll expect to see evidence of this in their CV.

But what exactly should you be looking for in an interim? And how do you know when someone is a good fit for your business?

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Highlights from BIE's Senior Leaders dinner

by Simon Moore on 29 Apr 2019

Earlier this month, myself, James Gherardi, and Gordon Whyte hosted a Senior Leaders Dinner at the Manor House, near Bristol. The event was attended by people from a diverse range of sectors, including high-tech engineering, product retail, high-end fashion retail, aviation, and professional services. We also had a great cross-section of people from CxOs, HRDs, MDs, and CPOs, to others in supply chain procurement, technology, and management consulting.

The biggest topic of conversation for the evening was mental health. It was a really emotive and open conversation, and one that probably wouldn’t have flowed so easily a few years ago. We also discussed the demands of the workforce today and what companies are doing to build their brand and improve retention, as well as what digital means to different sectors and the importance of making sure your business is prepared for the next piece of technology.

Here’s a more detailed rundown of the key takeaways.

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THE 4 VITAL STEPS IN BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION

by Simon Cordrey on 23 Apr 2019

Editors note: This blog post was originally published in June 2016 and has since been updated with additional information.

BIE research found that 80% of organisations are going through a business transformation of some nature, with systems implementations, cost out operations, and standardisation of processes being most common.

Despite the immeasurable benefits it can offer, enacting a fundamental change in the way your business operates can be a long and arduous journey, with no guarantee of success. So how do you ensure yours does succeed?

No business transformation is the same. However, there are four vital steps that every organisation should take.

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How to survive a mid-life career crisis

by Celine Clark on 15 Apr 2019

If someone in their mid-late 40s or 50s buys a sports car, takes up a new and unexpected hobby, or becomes suddenly more impulsive in their decision making, we assume they must be having a mid-life crisis.

As people transition from younger to older adults, they tend to evaluate where they are in their lives, what they’ve achieved, and how this matches up against the hopes they had wished for in the past. And sometimes, this can result in a loss of self-confidence or feelings of anxiety or disappointment - hence the sudden need for change.

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3 key ingredients of successful business transformation

by Simon Cordrey on 08 Apr 2019

Editors note: This blog post was originally published in May 2016 and has since been updated with additional information.

Achieving successful business transformation is not easy.  Not all transformations are successful at improving performance and equipping the organisation to sustain improvements over time.

This being true, the risk for senior leaders is high. However, business transformation and continual evolution are unavoidable in today’s global marketplace. Changes in customer expectations, the market environment, and the competitive landscape happen more frequently - and faster than ever.

In research by BIE, an overwhelming 80% of senior executives said their company was going through a business transformation of some nature, driven by a need to reduce costs and become more efficient in this more competitive market.

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A new paradigm in software adoption

by Niraj Varia on 01 Apr 2019

New technologies have great potential and promise for transforming and digitising HR. However, many programmes are failing to deliver their return on investment. You can buy and build a bright shiny box, but if it is not being fully utilised, the benefits diminish rapidly, hence why adoption is a hot topic in this space.

There are three common reasons why adoption is a problem. First, when coping with constant disruption, how do you get your organisation to focus on adopting this new piece of technology? Second, the speed and scale of technology change is now much greater than the individual speed of behavioural change. Finally, there is relentless pressure to deliver results, meaning programmes tend to focus on the technology and not on adoption. The net result is failure of programmes to deliver the SaaS promise.

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Developing your career identity in the modern world

by Fran Cardells on 25 Mar 2019

Our relationship with work has significantly changed over the past century. What started as a series of gigs to provide for the family, became related work experiences with meaning and consistency. With the rise of the corporate ladder in the 1970s and 1980s, we started to think about ‘careers’ and people became focused on climbing to the top of their chosen area of expertise.

Today, the climate is again very different. We have created new professions based around the same skill sets that already exist, and the lines between business and finance, HR and IT, for example, are more blurred. As a consequence, fewer of us are treading the linear career path. People are more open to moving around, and not just between organisations or even sectors, but between different kinds of roles too.

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What’s on the CFO’s mind: Dealing with the uncertainty around Brexit

by Eoin Canty on 18 Mar 2019

We held a breakfast discussion focusing on how businesses are dealing with the uncertainty caused by Brexit. The feeling around the room was that UK businesses are tired of working through uncertainty.

The political agenda is a continuation of the Brexit campaign, focused on borders not businesses, which is impacting on contingency planning and decision-making. But the room agreed there was a real opportunity to create a positive tone and grow ‘Brand Britain’, through promoting the assets the UK has to offer.

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