Saturday 25 January 2020

How this EY expert helped the British & Irish Lions tackle its digital transformation

British and Irish Lions' Johnny Sexton is tackled by New Zealand's Jerome Kaino
British and Irish Lions' Johnny Sexton is tackled by New Zealand's Jerome Kaino

Louise Kelly

Many firms are wasting a huge portion of their budgets by pumping money into their own digital transformation without considering the end value chain, according to a digital expert at Ernst & Young.

Most C-level executives realise that immediate change is necessary to embrace the combination of disruptive technologies such as IoT, AI, robotics and blockchain that are hitting their critical inflection point at the same time.

But unless they understand just how this technology can re-write the value chain of their own industry, they will simply end up "doing digital" rather than "being digital".

"The difference between 'doing digital' versus 'being digital' is that 'doing' is just digitalising the front end so that means building a website or an app on the back of yesterday's distribution model, automating yesterday's business process," EY Head of Digital for the EMEIA region, Laurence Buchanan.

"Being is really thinking about what the value chain of the revolution of the industry is, then reinvent the business model and the end-to-end operations and get a business that's fit for purpose tomorrow."

Over the next five to ten years, Buchanan expects that several industry sectors, including automotive, fintech, and personalised healthcare, etc. decade will see the re-writing of the value chain due to this explosion of connectivity and automation.

"Around a decade ago the media industry, the telco industry and the retail industry, found themselves in the eye of the storm, Media, for example, saw its core product digitised, its distribution model digitised. Most other industries - such as healthcare, insurance, life sciences and manufacturing - technology hasn't fully rewritten the value chain of those industries but it absolutely will," he said. 

Buchanan works with clients of all scale to help them understand the opportunities and threats posed by disruptive technology.

He has worked with the Royal Caribbean to help them be proactive in making digital relevant in the world of cruise ships.

"It impacts every single part of the passenger experience as people search their holidays, as they get on to the cruise ship, as they wish to be connected on the cruise ship. Disney really showed the path to that with their magic band that in effect means building your digital passport and wallet around the entire theme park. The cruise ship is trying to replicate that whole experience," said Buchanan.

Understandably, a number of unique challenges are presented with the digitisation of the cruise ship as it's based in the ocean mostly and travels through different ports which have different customs and excise regulations.

"We've helped them to start a digital innovation factory in Miami where they're constantly going through new design sprints to explore different parts of the business model to reach that end-to-end experience for the customer," said Buchanan.

Closer to home, one of EY's more recent clients was the British & Irish Lions who, perhaps surprisingly, have less than 20 on their team.

"They're a big brand but actually a tiny organisation," said Buchanan.

"But with the Lions every four years, last year was really the first time that they thought about technology being a part of every single aspect of their business.

"When you think about technology in sport, people first jump to the players; in their coaches' box, they have live access to the GPS data and tracking the performance of players. But, for the Lions, technology was also important to the fan experience so we worked with them to put some of that performance data in the mobile app for their fans.

"It was also important to their commercial partners as being able to provide sponsors with new sources of value through digital increases their commercial value." 

Online Editors

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