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Brand, Campaigns & Content May 31, 2017

The question is whether the current set up of departments is sustainable.


As a group, Dept has decided to implement a one-stop-shop strategy that brings creativity, technology and data together. Can you see any trends emerging regarding Digital Transition? What are they?

A lot of companies are instigating Digital Transition nowadays, which is great. However, the average speed at which companies are used to operating, is not fast enough when it comes to Digital Transition. If you look at it from a different perspective, from the outside in, it will encourage you to see beyond your existing services. I am still amazed that businesses are so reluctant to look at things from the customer’s perspective. This is only possible when you look beyond the separate departments; from the customer service to the sales department, from campaigns to your website. And once you have this sorted, you still have to deal with the internal organisation. Speed, digital services and, even though it may seem obvious, actually putting the customer centre stage. But they really are the three most difficult issues for businesses right now when it comes to digital transformation.

Where until recently anything digital technology related was up to the IT or Marketing department, you now see that boards have started putting Digital Transition high on their agendas.

What is the function of the MT within Dept in regards to Digital Transition?

As mentioned above, digital technology lies close to the heart of the business nowadays. This means that the MT needs to be involved and, more importantly, needs to ensure that the organisation is set up in such a way that it can actually pick up speed. And to achieve this, you need the right people and the right teams. But you also need to have a solid overall vision and the guts to actually put the customer first. This will only work with the full support of the entire MT, not just that of the CMO, CDO or CIO.


Many of the work methods within businesses originated in IT departments. (Scrum, agile etc.). So what can we expect over the coming years?

The question is whether the current set up of departments is sustainable. After all, there is a reason why there are more and more cross-departmental digital teams. Marketing, product owners and IT need to start working together. I think businesses will start organising far more with a focus on the customer and the digital channel, because this makes the biggest impact. It is pretty much how we set up Dept — as a network of specialist online agencies with 500 specialists who not only think together but, more importantly, also do together. Through short sprints and continuous development, with the best people and changing teams put together for each project. Whether you call it scrum or agile, I believe that you can create true magic when creation, technology, data and media specialists work together.

Nowadays end users have a lot more prior knowledge when they enter a collaboration, how does Dept respond to this?

Customers are becoming increasingly knowledgeable. And that is how it should be. I believe that the quality of the project teams ultimately determines the quality and speed of the solutions. These teams are often a combination of internal people, freelancers and agencies. Their collaboration must be based on trust, and it is essential that everyone shares as much knowledge as possible. The involvement of end users, something we refer to as involved design, is super important in this respect. It is essential to involve customers in research, testing and analytics, and data within your projects. It is the only way to achieve both quality and speed.

Are there any fields in which IT can still take major steps? (such as the Cloud, Mobile, Compliance, Security, Code Designing, etc.)

This is what we call service design. You start from scratch and set up the entire organisation so the customer takes centre stage, looking outwards. This may sound simple, but it is actually really complicated. Especially for the IT department, which has always been focused inwards on internal affairs, rather than outwards. But once you manage it, like Coolblue and Netflix for instance, the IT department can perform miracles when it comes to making the customer really happy.

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