Tag Archives: Digitalization Forum

May 2020 AmCham Digitalization Forum: Top Tasks & the Pandemic – Digital Customer Experience

May 2020 AmCham Digitalization Forum: Top Tasks & the Pandemic – Digital Customer Experience

In the virtual May installment of the AmCham Digitalization Forum, guest presenter Gerry McGovern, developer of the Top Task design framework and a board member of the US-based parent company of AmCham member Task Analytics, shared his experience working with companies such as Microsoft and Toyota to improve digital customer experience – work that has also seen McGovern work with the WHO and governments on their digital COVID-19 resources.

McGovern highlighted that it has never been more important to get back to digital customer experience basics by focusing on clarity and taking time to establish what truly matters to your target audience(s). For many organizations, that means dropping unnecessary design elements by embracing a back to basics, customer-centric approach.

One of the largest challenges McGovern has faced in his career is the growing tendency to measure the success of websites and digital platforms by appearance rather than functionality. Organizations, McGovern argued, need to get their ego out of the way and focus on giving users/customers what they want – the most pressing information or task they wish to accomplish. While this may lead to “aesthetically boring” design, McGovern statistically demonstrated that companies better engage target audiences when they cut out useless imagery, eliminate irrelevant “ego-stroking” icons, and employ simple, direct language. In other words, what you hide in an icon or hamburger menu will not be used, so it is critical to make visible what your customer will need to use the most.

“Great digitalization means organizations getting out of their own way and giving people what they need.”
Gerry Mcgovern
May 2020 AmCham Digitalization Forum

McGovern then discussed his evidence-based, test-driven approach to information architecture design. The approach, which often involves large global samples, allows designers to discern what matters most – and then translate those insights into highly functional design. A critical part of the process, McGovern added, is senior management. These managers must “bite the bullet” and facilitate the process of making their digital environments easier to navigate. The importance of this transition became even more clear in the wake of COVID-19. As companies, organizations, and governments scrambled to adapt to an even more digital working world, those who transitioned most successfully were those who managed to effectively communicate with target audiences and employees alike on digital platforms.

“The worst way to design a website is to put five smart people in a room with lattes. The longer you leave them in the room, the worse the website will become.”

Gerry McGovern

McGovern’s clear and concise presentation, described as “one of the best and most precisely communicated webinars I’ve heard in a long time,” by one participant, was followed by a Q&A session moderated by NextStep’s Jennifer Vessels. Leaders joined from across the Nordics, including AmCham Norway members Selmer, MSD, Crawford & Co., Fast Solutions, 24SevenOffice, Equinor, Tailormade Consulting, Janssen, Avollon, and Azets, amongst many others.

AmCham Digitalization Forum

AmCham Norway’s Digitalization Forum was initiated in 2016 in response to AmCham member company leaders’ need to better understand digital business environment challenges and opportunities. The series aims to foster confidence, inspire collaboration, and promote cross-industry dialogue.

Please contact us for interest in future forums.

AmCham Digitalization Forum: From Exascale Computing to Critical Considerations

AmCham Digitalization Forum: From Exascale Computing to Critical Considerations

“Any trivial problem can be solved with a pen and paper. Any interesting problem cannot.”

So began Professor Are Magnus Bruaset’s deeply enlightening presentation and roundtable discussion on Simula’s cutting-edge eX3 project. As the institution’s Research Director of Software Engineering and High-Performance Computing, Dr. Bruaset emphasized how improved and novel algorithms are at the epicenter of technological advancement – while demonstrating how limitations in traditional hardware are spawning new, innovative designs that require rethinking of methods and software.

Presenters

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Are Magnus Bruaset – Research Director for Software Engineering and High Performance Computing, Simula Research Laboratory

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Abraham Foss – Former CEO, Telia Norway

Digitalization Forum host Dr. Kyrre Lekve, Simula’s Deputy Managing Director, further explained how the burgeoning, state-owned enterprise collaborates with organizations including UC San Diego, Equinor, Cisco, and The Norwegian Research Council on:

  • Network & Communications Systems (mobile performance & reliability solutions)
  • Software Engineering (mission-critical applications)
  • Scientific Computing (process modeling)
  • Machine Learning (algorithms & health technology)
  • Cybersecurity (cryptography)

Simula’s commercialization efforts within these key areas are key, “with the goal being to build research projects into companies,” according to Dr. Lekve. Unloc, Imerso, Eyr, Facil , and LeadX are but some of the many companies currently or formerly engaged in Simula’s multiple innovation programs.

Every Company Has to Have a Digital Strategy!

Deftly switching gears, Abraham Foss’ deep, real-world understanding of the pitfalls and opportunities in digital transformation processes was echoed by enthusiastic comments from senior forum participants. As the former CEO of Telia Norway, Foss explained that “digitalization is not only about apps, the hard part is producing excellent customer journeys.” The ability of a company to understand who their customers really are, build and transfer competence, determine which processes should be automated, and set acceptable risk tolerances will ultimately determine the success of their digital transformation activities.

“Going forward, regulatory issues will represent the biggest challenges to digitalization initiatives, not technological,” according to Foss. Participants agreed, sharing associated GDPR experiences and deliberating many of Foss’ “critical considerations,” including:

 

  • Think strategically, and sacrifice today
  • Chop up the elephant – one program for everything is impossible
  • Crossover competence is increasingly more important
  • Do not define digitalization as a technical activity – and do not remain on a stratospheric level as a leader
  • Link to partner networks

Presentation Slides (selected)

The AmCham Digitalization Forum

The AmCham Digitalization Forum was initiated in 2016 in response to wide interest from AmCham member company leaders in better understanding the challenges and opportunities of today’s digital business environment. From sharing best practices to exploring how different member companies have implemented digital transformations, the series aims to foster confidence, inspire collaboration, and promote cross-industry dialogue across the Norwegian-American business community.

Read more about our Digitalization forum HERE, and please contact us for interest in future forums.

Forum Summary: AmCham Digitalization Forum – November 2019

Forum Summary: AmCham Digitalization Forum - November 2019

Digitalization and Cloud(s) – Are we Solving Problems or Creating New Ones?

Hewlett Packard Enterprise hosted the latest edition of the AmCham Digitalization Forum at Technopolis in Fornebu. HPE Managing Director Thomas L. Kraft kicked off the session with an engaging presentation on cloud-based opportunities and challenges, which led to an inspiring discussion on digitalization culture in Norway and abroad.

Functionality x Security x Location

Kraft started his presentation by noting that despite the fact that there has been a fair amount consumer criticism about the quality and complexity of digital solutions, it is important to remember that Norway is playing a pioneering role in developing digital solutions in areas such as mobile banking and healthcare – putting Norway ahead of tech centric nations such as Japan.

But when it comes to digital solutions for businesses, Kraft noted that Norway can do better. “Norway means serious business when it comes to digitalization and has made significant progress for its citizens, but what about its businesses?”

Kraft then expanded upon this theme, highlighting how corporate customers in Norway are looking for user friendly cloud-based and data solutions that combine functionality, security, and local, Norway-based service.

Going forward Kraft predicted that more companies will enter the cloud and data space in an effort to help businesses harness and refine data to help operations run seamlessly, inform strategic decision-making processes, and tackle tomorrow’s challenges.

“Norway means serious business when it comes to digitalization and has made significant progress for its citizens, but what about its businesses?”
Thomas Kraft
Managing Director, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Norway's Digital Culture

While Norway is still very much a digital pioneer, Kraft estimated that approximately 90% of business in Norway is done the old way, using non-cloud based legacy systems – something that is creating headaches for Norway’s growing startup scene when innovative statups must integrate with the larger, more traditional companies that they work with.

“It’s often the case that startups run on serverless platforms, and when these companies are purchased by larger companies, well, that’s where the fun begins. These dynamic young companies can get bogged down integrating their operations into the older systems often employed by more established companies,” he concluded.

It was a sentiment that resonated strongly with other forum participants, who discussed Norwegian digitalization culture more broadly in a flowing roundtable discussion. Next Step CEO and Silicon Valley veteran Jennifer Vessels noted that Norwegian companies and Norwegian affiliates of multinational companies could do a better job of integrating IT across the entirety of their operations, whereas other participants pointed out that digitalization must be better integrated in the Norwegian education system through competent teachers with an understanding of how to “digitalize” their subject so that their students stay ahead of the curve.

Participants noted that a better integration of digitalization in a diversity of academic subjects could also help increase diversity in the IT sector, breaking the mold of the “male tech nerd” and creating a digitally savvy workforce necessary for Norway to remain competitive in an ever more digital global economy.

Cross-industry forum participants included leaders from Verizon, Microsoft, Equinor, Tailormade Consulting, KPMG, Badenoch & Clark, Next Step, Schjødt, Simula, Fast Solutions, Selmer, Isco Group, SAS Institute, Cisco, and the US Embassy.j

Norway performs well, but still ranks behind the Netherlands and Nordic peers Finland, Sweden, and Denmark in the 2019 Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2019 Ranking. Source: European Comission, Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2019 Country Report Norway

Forum Summary: AmCham Digitalization Forum – May 2019

Driving Digital Strategy with Harvard's Sunil Gupta

AmCham held a special edition of our quarterly Digitalization Forum at DNB on May 29th. Headlining the forum was Harvard Business School’s Sunil Gupta, author of Driving Digital Strategy: A Guide to Reimagining Your Business, who took attendees through how businesses must adjust, adapt, and evolve to thrive in today’s fast-paced digital business climate.

Following his presentation, Gupta joined Cisco’s Trine Strømsnes, Microsoft’s Christopher Frenning, and DNB’s Rasmus Aage Figenschou for a highly engaging panel discussion moderated by Next Step’s Jennifer Vessels.

Positioning Your Business For Success

Addressing a capacity assembly of AmCham company leaders, Professor Gupta took the stage at DNB’s Bjørvika headquarters to discuss a wide range of digitalization topics, putting to use his academic experience to engage, challenge, and inspire the audience.

Based upon in-depth digital impact research, his presentation first focused on breaking down the technological revolution. Gupta discussed shifting consumer behavior, noting how the accelerating pace of consumer adaption is changing how businesses interact with consumers and develop technology.

He then took up a topic relevant to most corporate leaders present – how can legacy companies develop an effective digital strategy?

Gupta began by noting two issues companies often employ to tackle the challenge of innovating at scale. The first was the challenge of putting together all of the different innovation and digitalization projects at corporate branches around the world. “In large global companies, every country branch starts doing their own experiments. It is often the case, however, that all these digital experiments add up to nothing,” he noted, before going on the emphasize the importance of a cohesive company strategy.

“The best learning comes from looking across industries. If you just look in your industry, it’s easy to stay second best as you’re simply following the leader.”

Sunil Gupta

Harvard Business School

The second phenomenon Gupta described was the speedboat problem, where companies send promising young talent to corporate outposts in digitalization hotspots like Silicon Valley, concluding that such measures were equivalent to a large cruise ship sending out speed boats to pull it in a different direction.

“The results are mixed,” he noted. “Unless you change the core, that little speedboat you send out is not helpful.”

Gupta then took attendees through cases from Amazon, Best Buy, and US Foods, highlighting how these companies adopted digitally to meet shifting consumer demands, noting key takeaways along the way.

To conclude, Gupta highlighted the importance of cross-industry collaboration, a point showcasing the value of arenas such as AmCham’s cross-industry forums.

“The best learning comes from looking across industries. If you just look in your industry, it’s easy to stay second best as you’re simply following the leader.”

Key Takeaways

Industry boundaries are getting blurred

The rules of strategy development are changing, shifting from the one product – one customer model to the multiple products / multiple customer model

Think about how you can leverage your core strengths to expand into new industries

Start with customer pain points and work backwards

Panel Discussion: Digital Strategy from the Norwegian Perspective

Gupta was then joined by Cisco’s Trine Strømsnes, Microsoft’s Christopher Frenning, and DNB’s Rasmus Aage Figenschou for a panel discussion moderated by Next Step’s Jennifer Vessels.

Panelists first focused on the importance of management in adapting to digitalization trends, with Strømsnes noting, “Technology is not a bolt on. It’s an integrated part of any business, and it’s critical management teams see it as a core focus area – not just something for the CTO or IT department.

The scope of the discussion then expanded to broader digitalization trends, including what Microsoft’s Frenning termed the “democratization of technology.”

“We have watched as technology has become truly democratized over the past 20 years,” he began, concluding by noting, “Tech that used to only be available to the largest companies are now being used by three-person startups. And now it is going beyond that – the next level of innovation will come from users themselves.”

The discussion then shifted to the challenge of adapting regulatory frameworks to the quickening pace of technological innovation. A core issue in that debate, according to DNB’s Figenschou, is a lack of consumer knowledge regarding the platforms they interact with, “We as users have not quite understood that tech is moving faster than ever, faster than the ability of consumers to understand who the relationships with, both in terms of data and money.”

“The Norwegian ‘dugnad spirit’ translates to companies, too. We know we can be vulnerable. We can ask for help. We can say we don’t know the answer. That allows us to take leaps and fail fast, learning from our mistakes in ways that really propel the innovation ecosystem here in Norway forward.”

Christopher Frenning

Microsoft

About the AmCham Digitalization Forum

The AmCham Digitalization Forum Series was initiated in 2016 in response to wide interest from AmCham member company leaders in better understanding the challenges and opportunities of today’s digital business environment. From sharing best practices to exploring how different member companies have implemented digital transformations, the series aims to foster confidence, inspire collaboration, and promote cross-industry dialogue across the Norwegian-American business community.

Forum Summary: AmCham Digitalization Forum – March 2019

Digitalization forum

Event summary

Transformation to a Digital Future

AmCham Managing Director Jason Turflinger warmly welcomed representatives from invited AmCham member companies at Discovery Network Norway’s Nydalen headquarters for the Q1 edition of AmCham’s long running quarterly Digitalization Forum.

Participants first heard from Discovery Networks Norway CEO Tine Jensen and Senior HR Manager Winta Negassi, with the two discussing the strategic and human resource aspects of guiding a media company through a period of disruption and increased competition.

Attendees then participated in a highly engaging roundtable debate, moderated by Next Step’s Jennifer Vessels, with topics including future preparedness, the role of management in facilitating companywide adaptation, and the importance of local content in a globalized world.

Perspectives from the Television Industry – Tine Jensen

In her opening presentation to the forum, Discovery Network Norway CEO Tine Jensen touched upon some of the challenges television companies have faced due to increased industry disruption.

She noted that traditional television companies increasingly found themselves in competition with digital disruptors beginning in 2015. From that point, she noted, the key question for survival quickly became, “Are you able to bring in new business models?”

For Discovery, that came down to investing in the right competencies to turn out the best content at the quickest pace possible – a reflection of today’s high paced digital media environment. She explored the complexities of competing against subscription-based digital newcomers, the advantages and disadvantages of traditional business models in the television industry, and the role of localized content in maintaining a domestic edge.

The Importance of HR in Adapting to Digital Disruption

Winta Negassi, Senior HR Manager for Discovery, then underlined the importance of focusing on human capital in guiding a company through periods of change due to the emergence of new, non-traditional competitors.

Negassi suggested that, instead of getting swept up in a rush to improve technology, increase efficiency and generate quick returns on investment, “The key to managing digital transformation is to understand that regardless of technological advancements, people are still your competitive advantage.”

She then explained how Discovery utilized a four-tiered approach, from instituting digital sales seminars to bringing in guest speakers, to inspire employee confidence as they adapted to the growing role of digital in the television space.

“The key to managing digital transformation is to understand that regardless of technological advancements, people are still your competitive advantage.”

Winta negassi

Senior HR Manager - Discovery Networks Norway

The Role of Management in Adapting to Change

After the conclusion of Negassi’s presentation, participants launched into a lively discussion about the role of management in adapting to change.

A sentiment that resonated with all present, regardless of whether they worked in an industry currently experiencing market disruption, was the importance of corporate foresight – the ability to anticipate change and implement strategies proactively. As one participant reasoned, “If you are vigilantly monitoring changes in your industry and implementing proactive strategies, then you have already planted the seeds necessary to thrive when disruption comes.”

Vessels noted that management does not need to have all the answers, but they do need to give employees the tools necessary to explore new trends and technology – a sentiment built upon by AmCham Managing Director Jason Turflinger who added, “It is not just about management knowing where the industry is headed, it is also about getting employees to buy in.”

About the Digitalization Forum Series

The AmCham Digitalization Forum Series was initiated in 2016 in response to wide interest from AmCham member company leaders in better understanding the challenges and opportunities of today’s digital business environment. From sharing best practices to exploring how different member companies have implemented digital transformations, the series aims to foster confidence, inspire collaboration, and promote cross-industry dialogue across the Norwegian-American business community.

Our next Digitalization Forum on May 29th will feature Harvard Business School’s Sunil Gupta, author of the book Driving Digital Strategy: A Guide to Reimagining Your Business. For interest in participating, please contact us at amcham@amcham.no.