Meet Andrew Ford, Digital Strategy Expert

2017-10-03 7:10
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Welcome to our new Digital Strategy Expert, Andrew Ford (@AndrewFordUK). In this profile he talks about his background, the good and bad of digital strategy deployments and the best advice he received along the way

Tell us a little about yourself and your background

I have always been curious about new ways to drive human engagement and communication, which is why I worked for over 20 years in digital leadership roles with tech brands, including HP, BT, Dell and Symantec. I’ve helped innovate, transform and grow ecommerce, crm, marketing automation, data analytics, unified communications, and social-media. Taking new ideas and making them work for customers, employees and brands, in a diverse and multi-cultural world, is what I am passionate and curious about.

What do you understand by digital strategy and what does it mean for businesses?

Digital transformation started over 20 years ago with the advent of a functioning global internet in the 1990s. I was immediately hooked on the shift in business dynamics to the customer, which has continued and accelerated with recent data, analytics, mobile web and social technologies. This means that every business and public sector organisation must embrace digital at the core in order to deliver what customers want, and remain competitive in a rapidly changing environment.

What are the top three things to consider when implementing a digital strategy?

These three items are absolutely crucial for a defining and implementing a successful digital strategy:

  1. An organisation-wide outside-in customer culture. The catalyst for such a culture comes from the CEO and senior leadership team, but must pervade all aspects of the behaviour. This includes priority objectives, and metrics – both hard and soft – of the organisation. It’s always about the people!
  2. A one-truth, one-stop-shop, customer data and analytics architecture, with data accountability at the c-level leadership team. This raises a valuable foundational digital enabler to the board level. The data analytics architecture should now also be future-proofed with new AI machine-learning technology so that the competitive aspects of predictive and contextual customer engagement may be planned.
  3. All customer touchpoints / media, both physical and digital, mapped across customer journeys. This takes time to define, and is a key strategic investment. Such a ‘what’ investment, will define the ‘how’ of the digital technology stack.
What’s the most common mistake people make with digital strategy?

Trying to invest in the ‘how’ for the implementation without defining the ‘what’ of the customer experience and journey. I have seen too many organisations invest in ‘platinum bucket’ IT projects that are very expensive technology implementations. They provide no impact on the business productivity or growth, because they haven’t been thought-through sufficiently.

Who has been your biggest inspiration professionally?

There have been a few over the years, but I wouldn’t want to get in to an Oscars thank you speech!

A perennial influence throughout my professional life and studies (I included a University paper on him) is Richard Branson. Everything he does is with a focus on innovating for customers, and valuing employees.

What was the best single piece of advice given to you at work?

Slow down to speed-up. Only by doing so can you engage the right people and view all the opportunities for longer-term success.

Also, and related, ‘fail to plan, plan to fail!’

What does a successful day look like to you?

I’ve added value to whomever I have interacted with during the day.

What’s your secret super power?

Getting the balance in life by going out for a run or ride on my bike. It’s a good way to get some head-space to think things through in a different way.

Digital Leadership Associates: We are a Social Media Agency. We do three things: Social Media StrategySocial Selling and Social Media Management. Drop us an email and let’s talk about how we can make an impact on your organisation.

 

 

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Taking seamless key performance indicators offline to maximise the long tail.

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