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Four ways to accelerate digital transformation in 2023

Brian Robinson
Brian Robinson
Managing Director UK
7 min read
14 July 2023

From escalating energy costs to high inflation and interest rates, the cost of doing business is on the rise, creating a new wave of challenges for business leaders.

In the face of uncertainty, businesses today are grappling with whether to batten down the hatches to mitigate risks, or to focus on pushing growth to help them stay ahead. 

Despite some signs of improvement to the 2023 economic outlook, with GDP growing by 0.2% in April, some industries are struggling more than others; with consumer-facing services growing by 1.0%, whereas the construction sector fell by 0.6%.

And In a survey conducted by PwC, 22% of CEOs polled said their companies would not be viable in a decade if they stayed on their current path, with 10% believing they have no more than three years to make vital changes, with talent and technology being key focuses. In addition, the survey revealed that 40% of UK CEOs believe their company’s tech capabilities are lagging behind the demands of their strategic objectives, which will only widen if action isn’t taken immediately. 

I recently explored the role of digital transformation in navigating these challenging times during a panel discussion at London Tech Week, where we discussed how organizations can continue to drive innovation within their strategic investments to ensure long-term growth. Here are five areas to focus on in order to survive and thrive:

01 Big impact, minimal effort

It goes without saying that in the current climate, businesses need to work hard just to keep the lights on. Technology has the power to help, but the term “digital transformation” often scares people away, as it’s interpreted as if they need to become the next Amazon in order to stay afloat. 

But in actuality, it doesn’t have to be a complete transformation of all parts of the business. We often find that on the list of 100 hundred things the CIO wants to do, only three need to actually happen. It’s about understanding what is going to have the biggest impact on your business with minimal effort, which could be as simple as digitizing certain customer touchpoints, or optimizing internal processes. 

For example, DEPT® worked with Harwoods to digitize their business. We consolidated systems, launched a custom e-commerce platform and implemented Salesforce, stock inventory and CRM, allowing its team to stay informed, become more productive and collaborate effectively, as well as creating a new digital sales channel. This led to Harwoods pioneering a hybrid approach to car buying and reestablishing their position in the market.

02 Consolidate to manage costs

With the rising cost of doing business, many organizations are looking to cut costs by reducing spending and innovation budgets. But more often than not, these businesses are not assessing the cost of (and value gained from) their existing tech systems, which is more often than not one of their biggest outgoings. 

Over time, businesses tend to accumulate a whole range of technologies that are either not used anymore (either at all, or optimally), don’t integrate with other systems, or don’t translate across teams, resulting in unnecessary costs and inefficiencies. 

A key way to effectively ‘do more with less’ is by consolidating your tech to what actually adds business value. We’ve recently done just that for a client – they were working with multiple different technologies and systems across 30+ markets’ main websites and microsites.

Not only did this hinder the user experience, it also fueled inefficiencies in operational delivery, blocked innovation, and stopped teams from getting the most out of their technology and tools. I

t also didn’t make sense financially as running costs were repeated across markets for similar solutions. We implemented a new technology architecture to consolidate, unify and strengthen its technical capabilities.

03 Invest in emerging tech

Web3, creative automation, AI/ML, smart products, and the metaverse represent the future of technology. Emerging technologies automate repetitive tasks, streamline processes, and enable efficient data analysis, helping businesses become more efficient and reduce costs; and businesses that effectively leverage these emerging technologies have the greatest potential to thrive in a highly competitive market. 

For example, we worked with Just Eat Takeaway to create an automated system that combines all the elements of building more effective creative assets. It works by selecting the best messages and creative combinations based on a pre-designed template, resulting in 400% cheaper costs vs manual asset production.

Additionally, emerging technologies are revolutionizing the way businesses deliver customer experiences. These technologies offer unique opportunities for businesses to create immersive and interactive experiences that expands their reach and engagement with consumers, captures their attention and fosters a deeper connection. 

“Advertisers have always had to adapt to their customers and if you reframe the metaverse as a few new channels where your consumers are, this is just the evolution of reaching your consumers.”Isabel Perry, VP of Emerging Tech at DEPT®

However, it’s important for businesses to carefully consider the risks and challenges associated with adopting emerging technologies. These may include data privacy concerns, cyber security threats, integration complexities, and the need for skilled personnel.

Proper planning, risk assessment, and collaboration with technology partners or consultants can help mitigate these challenges and ensure successful implementation.

04 Collaboration and culture

Finally, the importance of collaboration and culture in driving innovation and growth cannot be overstated. The changes to ways of working and mindset required with any digital transformation, it’s key that it’s driven by C-level. 

Change can only be delivered if the people at the top believe in it and drive it forward, especially to achieve the level of agility the business needs to deliver transformation.

A culture that encourages experimentation, embraces failure, and rewards creativity is key to maximizing growth opportunities. From my perspective, maintaining resilience while fostering innovation is key. Innovation could be as simple as allowing your team to have dedicated time to come up with new creative ideas.

At DEPT® we have ‘Thing Makers’ – an approach to creative R&D, where the team is challenged to adopt creative thinking to enhance their skills while developing innovative solutions for clients including eBay, Prime Video, ASOS and Twitch. The team have recently been experimenting with Photogrammetry, which can bring together product imagery with innovative design – allowing us more options to push design in post-production and experiment with 3D. 

Collaboration, both within the organization and with external partners and agencies, can help to accelerate innovation and growth. DEPT® has a wealth of experience working with a range of businesses to deliver digital transformation strategies, combining your industry knowledge with our expertise of the online world. 

Time to thrive

Although digital transformation is nothing new, it’s certainly not going anywhere. With the rate at which technology is developing, the impact and implications of it is constant, so businesses need to continue to keep up with the pace, or risk being left behind. 

In this day and age, digital transformation is essential for businesses to not only survive, but to thrive. And, innovating to gain a competitive advantage and future-proof your business is going to be key. 



Managing Director Digital Marketing

Lasse Rasmussen