EU alumnus Kevin Sigliano is Managing Director at Good Rebels and Director of International Business Development at Admira, as well as holding other roles. Born in Italy, Kevin relocated to Brazil as a child before moving to Venezuela, the U.S., Germany, the U.K. and Spain, so when asked where he is from, he does not have an exact answer! He speaks Italian, Spanish, English and Portuguese fluently, as well as being certified in sailing and scuba diving.
Kevin studied his BBA at EU Business School in 1994. Here, he shares his method for managing a diverse portfolio career, and why he believes that digital transformation is a must for every company.
How do you manage so many different roles and projects simultaneously?
My many different jobs include leadership roles at my two startups, Admira and Good Rebels. The first is a retail technology company, the second a digital transformation and innovation consultancy. My average day always starts with checking how my companies are doing, dealing with everything from business development and outside-of-the-box thinking to managing teams. After that I focus on my other jobs. I’m also extremely fortunate to spend a lot of time working with startups: I speak to between five and ten each month. I also teach at IE business school in Madrid and travel a lot for conferences and to network.
Among many things I advise companies on how to apply digital transformation. Many companies are doubtful about how much they should innovate, how to change their organizational structure, how to grow and how to generate traction with customers. A number of CEOs and boards of directors have invited me to support them in their thinking, so once or twice a month I meet one of these leadership teams to help with their transformation, growth, strategy and roadmaps.
People often tell me that nobody can be effective having numerous initiatives on the go at the same time. But I disagree, you just have to learn how to work in a different, less-traditional way. Your clients and your team need to know that you are not always available, and that sometimes you have to work remotely or from a different time zone. This collaborative way of working and flexible lifestyle allows me to participate in so many projects simultaneously.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is that I deliver results. I have to make sure that I use my limited time carefully to generate meaningful impact for each company and in each professional role that I hold.
What is digital transformation?
To understand the process of digital transformation, we need to forget the words ‘digital’ and ‘transformation’ for a minute.
Companies whose value proposition is losing relevance today do not understand the mega or micro trends in current consumer behavior, innovation or new business models. To generate significant growth, it is necessary to implement forward-thinking strategies in three critical areas: customer experience, brand perception and financial planning.
This is where digital transformation comes in. Digital Transformation today is any solution, whether in supply chain management, finance, marketing and so on, that has a digital component. So, if I am a retailer and I want to sell my product, of course I have to think about ecommerce, but I should also be aware of the suite of digital solutions that exist for the real world. For example, in a physical retail store the right combination of technologies can enable retailers to understand how well they are serving their clients, and how to drive sales within that store.
Why is digital transformation important?
Digital transformation is about creating a roadmap to enable your company to grow faster. This can be done by improving the consumer experience, employee engagement and operational intelligence. And the intelligence aspect is huge, because less than 10% of companies today have access to relevant and effective business intelligence. This has to be a priority for companies who want to truly understand their business and move forwards.
Digital transformation is also about creating a more empowered workforce, driving talent and promoting company culture, so that this becomes one of your key assets.
If there is no change management or leadership, digital transformation will fail. It is vitally important to make sure that employees are on board and committed to working towards this process of change and growth. And it sounds analogue but making people happy is essential and digital tools can be used to support this. For example, there is a growing desire to be able to work autonomously; real-time, collaborative project management systems make this possible.
Additionally, as a business it is important to gain deeper, more accurate insights into the market, into the competitor landscape, and to be connected to the ecosystem of startups and innovation.
In every sector there are opportunities to enhance your business through digitalization, even for those that are not obviously digital. A wine company, for example, won’t move away from selling their physical, bottled product, but they can innovate and digitalize other elements of the business such as the online customer experience.
McKinsey has a framework that shows how different sectors need to be digitalized but, in my opinion, even those businesses and industries not listed could benefit from this process. Plus it is important to have a digital performance customer centric strategy for 2020-2021.
To survive this era of continual transformation, we all need to have a more ambitious mindset. Everyone in a company, from the leadership down, needs to be ready to embrace change.
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