A new report shows that Australian CEOs are ahead of the partnership game: businesses facing digital transformation are no longer ‘going it alone’. Nick Spooner explains why finding the right digital partner is mission critical when it comes to delivering an exemplary customer experience.

It’s common knowledge that committing to digital transformation means investing in the right resources and expertise. The ability to accelerate productive working relationships as well as draw on third-party products and innovation are important catalysts for success, as shown by the 2015 Global Digital IQ Survey, a PwC report that takes a critical look at business leaders’ digital readiness.

The Global CEO Survey, released more recently at the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, revealed that Australian CEOs are ahead of their peers when it comes to focusing on strategic partnerships. Almost half of respondents here said that they’re addressing how they partner and who they partner with – a much higher figure than many of their global peers.

With another recent study revealing that 44% of executives now believe that companies ‘going it alone’ will become a thing of the past, the evidence is certainly stacking up in favour of considering a business alliance.

Here I look at some of the reasons why finding the right digital partner is mission-critical when it comes to delivering an exemplary customer experience.

Digital transformation
calls for complex skills

Creating a seamless customer journey across online and offline touchpoints might sound uncomplicated in theory but it involves substantial experience and complex skills.

In May 2015, a report by the Harvard Business Review found that although 69% of businesses understand the importance of unlocking digital opportunities, 75% are not at all confident that their organisation possesses the digital acumen required to excel in the space.

Whether it’s the ability to come up with practical solutions for business silos, understand how your information architecture fosters usability or implement technology platforms to capture real-time insights, identifying gaps in your learning and working with skilled partners to achieve this is central to digital transformation.

Savvy partnerships drive
powerful new capabilities

It’s no secret that organisations that invest wisely in digital transformation and forge strategic partnerships are poised to blitz the online age.

One example of many emerging strategic partnerships is the Queensland Health Service, which joined forces with electronics giant Philips in late 2015 to provide connected home care services to patients suffering from chronic illness in South West Queensland. The partnership combines Philips’ technology and resources with the health service’s clinical expertise to improve home care delivery, a move that reduces emergency visits and re-admissions – and ultimately accelerates the health organisation’s transformation.

Collaborating with the right partners and suppliers allows you to tap into market-specific insights rather than speculating about what your customer wants. Capitalising on tried-and-tested wisdom and real-world experience can seriously bolster your capabilities and expand your reach.

Partnerships can extend in multiple directions, so it’s important to remain conscious of your existing collaborators, too. The trick will be to navigate existing relationships as well as new ones.

Digital change demands
an agile approach

The capacity to line up your business goals with the needs of your customers, take an agile approach to decision-making and execute quickly and effectively can make or break your attempts at digital change. That’s why collaborating with a partner that can react swiftly to shifts in the market, that can scale up and down depending on your ambitions and experiment with new platforms when necessary, can set the stage for success.

Organisations are often lumbered with internal structures and processes that can prevent them from arriving at insights on their own. It’s important to remember that customers are moving targets and partnering with the right collaborators can help you achieve a competitive edge.

From leveraging market insights to gaining the skillset to seize digital opportunities, a digital partner can play a starring role in your transformation efforts and help you build customer relationships that last. How did you go about finding the right digital partner and how has this seen your organisation grow?



Nick Spooner

Nick Spooner is a partner at PwC and the leader of PwC Digital Services Experience Centre across South East Asia and Australia.

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