Irish News

Takeaways from The Business Show 2021: Digital Evolution: Achieving Excellence in Digital & Delivery

By Business & Finance
14 April 2021

The second in a webinar series for The Business Show 2021 was broadcast on Tuesday, 13th April, and took an in-depth look at how organisations can achieve excellence in digital and delivery.

Panelists included Phil Codd, Managing Director Ireland, Expleo, Peter Hendrick, CEO, National Broadband Ireland, and David Willis, B2B Digital Product Manager, Electric Ireland. The webinar was moderated by Joan Mulvihill, Digitalisation Lead, Siemens.

The industry experts touched on a number of core areas including the process for end-to-end digital transformation, how to achieve customer excellence on your digital platforms, and how bringing technology and connectivity to regions is a factor in rural businesses going digital.

The Business Show 2021 is the second in a series launched by the Business & Finance Media Group and will culminate with the Rebooting Ireland Virtual Summit on 22nd April 2021. This will be an interactive online event including live keynotes, panel discussions, networking and opportunities to share digital content. It is designed to help guide businesses through challenging times with a view to emerging stronger and more agile.

The Business Show began in March with a series of virtual events and culminated with the Rebooting Ireland Virtual Summit on 22nd April, the interactive online event that included live keynotes, panel discussions, networking and opportunities to share digital content.

This webinar is available to view on demand here. Below are five key takeaways from the event.

Peter Hendrick, CEO, National Broadband Ireland spoke about the process of rolling out the government’s national broadband programme to bring future-proofed, high-speed broadband to thousands of premises across Ireland and how they are managing customer expectations through digital. He said:

“The priority right now is that people want broadband, they almost don’t care how they get it. Our role is to deliver it as fast and well as possible. We have many stakeholders around the country. We’re rolling it out across approximately 96% of the landmass of the country…The process of how people connect is critical and how efficient it is.”

Peter emphasised the importance of efficiency and connecting the digital and analogue worlds together:

“That efficiency loop, it sounds simple but look at all the elements behind it. We’re taking a digital world and operating with an analogue world, analogue being people, trucks, machinery and materials. All coming together to arrive at someone’s house, at the right time, to deliver a service and everything working end to end.”

Peter touched on the challenges of balancing both the needs of different governments and changing priorities. He noted that our current demand for digitalisation is best described as an evolution:

“It’s a fine balance between evolution and revolution. Going back 20 years ago, I worked for Siemens and we were trying to sell technology. But the demand for bandwidth has increased dramatically in the last 18m months. So there is a major shift and Ireland is leading in that.”

David Willis, B2B Digital Product Manager, Electric Ireland spoke about the increased demand for digitalisation of transactions and the changing customer needs at Electric Ireland. 

“When we went out and talked to business customers a few years ago, there were only about 2% of business customers who were interested in interacting with us digitally, so it has come a huge way in the last few years in terms of customer expectation of getting everything and interacting with everything online.”

David described the process of ensuring excellence and meeting and exceeding their customers needs:

“We’ve tried to put customers at the centre of what we’re offering rather than saying, ‘we think this is what you want’. We’re letting them tell us what they want and guide us…Sometimes we’ll have designed what we think is a good service and they might turn that on its head. So there is learning from both sides.”

He spoke about the insight on energy consumption they are providing to customers and how the company encourages its customers to use just the right amount of energy: 

“That’s something that we’ve particularly focused on over the last couple of years, understanding where the energy is going and trying to give the customer a hand in only using the right amount and not wasting any of the energy that’s being provided”.

Phil Codd, Managing Director Ireland, Expleo described the company’s role as helping organisations meet their digital programme goals with new methods, skills and expertise. He shared his experience of launching the Covid app: 

“With digital, people think it can be done instantly but you still have to have that governance. When the Covid app went live and into the Google app store, it had to work, it had to be efficient. If it didn’t happen that way, everyone would have pointed to the government and HSE and say they’d failed. So the delivery of that software was critical. Everyone was so proud of what they’d achieved. It was a completely different way of delivering a critical programme to the nation.”

He described the surge in demand from Irish businesses for digital transformation: 

“I think overall we’re seeing a massive increase in the demand across all levels, not just corporates. Last year, as part of The Business Show and Rebooting Ireland, we put up a fund of 100,000 euro to help organisations with their digital programmes and we got a great response from small manufacturers that wanted to look at new markets and how they could do that, pharmaceutical companies who were looking at efficiencies and charity organisations who were looking at new revenue streams. We also had churches who were using streaming videos so we got involved in ensuring that the performance of streaming services at Christmas was ok. 

Phil noted that bravery and innovation is key to success. 

“People have to be brave about what they want to do. It’s still true that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail but now, we can fail quicker. We can try new things, innovation is really the buzzword of the day where companies are happy to try things.”