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AmCham Digitalization Forum — June 2018

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“For DNB, partnerships are key to growth. Partnerships with other banks, fintech companies, governing bodies and industry associations. Along with other Nordic banks, we have gone from one Norwegian solution to thinking of the Nordics as a whole. We are learning and developing across industries to strengthen Norwegian competence to meet digital transformation,” explained DNB Executive VP Anders Grevstad, as they hosted AmCham’s latest quarterly, cross-industry digitalization forum.

Digitalization

“It is a big culture change for companies to suddenly have to open up and share information with customers and frenemies, but CEO-driven collaboration is key to provide the best solutions for our customers. If we don’t develop the solutions, someone else will,” Grevstad continued, before demonstrating how DNB’s latest facial recognition app, combined with passport compatibility, will transform the electronic identification processes.

Digitalization and Transformation

Speaking about Schibsted’s transformation strategies, Executive VP Tina Stiegler highlighted some of the internal challenges faced when transforming from a newspaper print company to an international multimedia platform.

Digitalization

“We had to drastically change our corporate culture and that cannot be done by just showing people PowerPoint slides. We learned that the hard way! When changing a company that drastically, it is important that everyone is onboard and that leaders are showing that they mean it. It gets expensive and complicated when introducing a new role or strategy if you only commit halfheartedly, while simultaneously keeping the old roles. It is better to disrupt than to be disrupted,” Stiegler said.

Corporate HR functions, she also noted, will become much more prominent as companies compete to recruit top digital talent.

Disruptive

“There is a notable difference between the US and Norway,” session moderator and Next Step CEO Jennifer Vessels noted during the discussion.

Digitalization

“In Norway, there is a higher change fear factor. Generally, Norwegian companies are accustomed to change driven by research, rather than moving to follow the changes around us. There is an increasing demand for change and technology is enabling it to happen. Amazon is not coming to take us over – they are meeting client demands. As a result, companies need to improve customer experience to meet – and even exceed – their expectations. Talk to your customers!”

One roundtable participant, referring to both Schibsted and DNB innovations, supported the notion.

“It is very forward thinking and shows courage when these companies make such radical changes in their philosophies and business models. They are basically disrupting themselves in order to compete,” he noted.

“Data Wins Arguments”

Also addressing the group, Country Manager Rune Paulseth emphasized how Facebook’s self-perpetuating model is under continuous development to improve data analytics and user experience. Though Facebook doesn’t have all the answers to today’s political and social challenges as communicated via its platform, the company is learning and adapting along with partners and regulators.

Digitalization

“It is essential to use data in a relevant way, not misuse it. We, as a company, are nothing without people, so for us, it is not about how we build the company, but how we connect to people. We have been talking about data and how to utilize it for over a decade and now that we have found a way, people want to stop it. Data wins arguments and attracts clients, which is also why Facebook is constantly working to develop our model and to improve user experience. We are collaborating with Telenor, DNB and Rema 1000 in Norway, among others, to improve their customers’ experience. That is what data enables us to do,” Paulseth said.

From Silicon Valley to Oslo

Eloquently summarizing the fully-subscribed session, Jennifer Vessels noted the group’s common digitalization process themes of understanding customers, adaptability and leaders’ propensity to take on change.  She elaborated that, from Silicon Valley to Oslo, the keys to successful business transformation for the digital future include:

  • Recognition of the urgency and need to adapt – at the executive leadership level
  • Understanding of pain points and inefficiencies in the value chain from a customer perspective
  • Starting small, learning, failing and using knowledge from failure to try again
  • Education, incentives and encouragement for managers across all departments and areas of the organization think differently and see benefits of digital business transformation
  • Adaptability – recognizing there is no ‘perfect recipe’ for digital success

Ultimately, success in the digital business world starts with commitment and is gained through experimentation and collaboration – a point of departure for AmCham’s next Digitalization Forum in September.

Source: AmCham

Published: August 16, 2018

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