In this episode of Tech leaders Unplugged, join host Tullio Siragusa for a sit down with Adam Wendel , Customer Success Manager at LogiGear , to talk about why digital transformation has become an essential component for companies to remain competitive in today's tech space. Delve into the reasons why businesses must adapt to the latest technologies to streamline their processes, enhance their customer experience, and stay relevant in the market, and how by leveraging technology, companies can unlock new opportunities, reach new markets, and accelerate their growth.
Digital transformation has become an essential component for companies to remain competitive in today's tech space because it allows businesses to leverage technology to create new and innovative ways of operating. Companies that fail to adopt new digital technologies risk losing market share to competitors who have embraced these changes. It enables businesses to automate routine tasks, optimize processes, and increase efficiency. It also allows for better data collection and analysis, which can lead to more informed decision-making. Furthermore, it can help companies create new revenue streams, reach new customers, and improve customer experiences. Overall, companies that embrace digital transformation can gain a competitive advantage over those that do not, making it a crucial element of modern business strategy.
Tullio Siragusa (00:14):
And we're live. Welcome back to Tech Leaders Unplugged. I'm Tulio Siragusa speaking today with Adam Wendell. And we're talking about a topic that's been top of mind for a lot of companies, at least for, I would say maybe 20 years now, which is digital transformation. The digital transformation journey. And what we're going to discuss today is the on, you know, navigating uncharted territories. We're going to try to cover five key issues that enterprises are facing is when it facing, when it comes to the digital journey. I think it's fair to say, Adam, that digital transformation is kind of, we're a little past that now. I think most companies are on their digital journey or various iterations of it, but still facing some challenges. Welcome to the show, Adam. Looking forward to having this conversation with you.
Thank you for having me, Twilio.
Tullio Siragusa (01:05):
So there are five key things that are, that are probably what I would call the most hindering challenges to digital transformation or enterprises on their digital journey. We're not probably going to be able to cover all five of them in the next 20, 25 minutes, but we'll do our best to do so. Let's start with the first one. This is sort of like something we're seeing a lot with many clients, but it's also very top of mind for organizations, and that is the cultural resistance and the challenges around change management. This, you know, digital transformation requires a significant shift in mindset and also in organizational culture. It's a big change for a lot of companies, especially manufacturing companies that are somewhat behind and trying to catch up. There's resistance in natural resistance to change. There's also fear of job losses. There's a lack of understanding in many cases that comes into place and people just kind of tend to feel overwhelmed about the fast pace of technology. You know, they just got used to doing things a certain way, maybe on spreadsheets and so on. And suddenly technology's changing and disrupting the way things get done. So ultimately there's a big change management challenge. I mean, would you say in your experience, just working with clients even here at Logic Gear, that that's true? And what are you seeing? What have you seen in recent years, Adam?
Adam Wendel( (02:35):
I mean, in my career and my experience, I mean, anything disruptive is going to be uncomfortable. So, you know, there's going to be a resistance to want to stick with what you know and what works. But that doesn't mean it's always going to be the most effective, efficient way to help your customers or help yourself reach an online market. You know, in the old days of just internet listing business with bed and breakfast.com, you know, you talk about a property that was wanting to reach more guests, well, that's going to come down to using an e-commerce platform to broadcast a listing to reach more people. There's some discomfort around that when, you know, the bulk of your business is based around, you know, an intimate touch directly with guests that are showing up and, and how you provide your hospitality. So yeah, I think it's just leaning into what is new and then working through, what is disruptive or uncomfortable to make it something actually that'll be easier. On the other side,
Tullio Siragusa (03:31):
You know, that's an interesting example of travel tech with such a disruption for those purposes. But also from the end user's perspective, from the customer's perspective, we went from calling someone or going to an agency to basically become employees <laugh> of an airline or employees of a hotel chain by booking our own stuff. Yeah, so, you know, it we went from the relationship being a one-to-one, to one of one to many, but then still personalizing. And that's been a big challenge. So that's, a really great example of why that's been resistance in that space. You know, one of the things that I found useful in terms of dealing with cultural resistance and change management is the importance for senior executives, to be very supportive of the digital journey. So it can't just be driven by the CIO or the CTO. It has to be something that's top of mind all the way to the board. I mean, that's one of the best practices that's been clear. And then articulating the vision of where it's going and continuously providing that feedback to the employees and stakeholders is the key thing, to managing that change.
Adam Wendel( (04:49):
I yeah, comment on that. I, I really like that one because, you know, every stakeholder has a dog in the fight. There, there's going to be an impact at some point across the process. So understanding what that is for each of us and then making that work and being supportive by executive sponsorship, very critical for anything to be successful in driving change to an organization.
Tullio Siragusa (05:12):
This is one of the reasons I personally love OKRs, right? Because with OKRs, you can set objectives and key results you want to accomplish at the corporate level, and then you can align all the way down the, chain of the organization and everyone is working towards the same goal. Another best practice is to encourage learning a learning culture. I, I really like, the idea that you want to invest in employee training, right? So if you're going to do a digital transformation or you're on this journey, make sure you're leveling up the employees to understand why it's being done, how they would operate within that new environment, and basically promote a culture where it's about continuous learning, but it's really learning to adapt to change. I mean, that's really what it comes down to. Have you seen where some companies have done better than others in helping employees adapt to change, in alignment with their digital transformation or digital journey?
Adam Wendel( (06:11):
Oh, yeah. I mean, a lot of times, you know, we're all being asked to do more and work with less at the end of the day because we expect with technology that you can just make it happen, but it can really be overwhelming for anybody in a particular role to be doing what you've been doing. And then shifting to also taking on the new task you know, whether that be Salesforce development, making it work for you in a better scope and a spreadsheet. Yeah, there's just, I think it's the overwhelming aspect of doing what you're doing while shifting to something new is, is just one of the uncomfortable parts of it. But yeah, the training development aspect, I mean, that's long-term development, that skills later.
Tullio Siragusa (06:54):
Yeah, I think it would also be very helpful for organizations to get more proactive in designing all these changes and involving the organization with these changes. Like one of the things we do well with our strategy and design team is actually work with end users, you know, do workshops and create awareness around the benefits of where we're going and get active feedback, you know, because that feedback can enable an environment where people are participating with the changes and the transformation, so they feel more empowered, less like they don't know what's going on. They feel like they've actually contributed to the success of the changes. And it's very transformational, not just from an org, from a digital perspective, but from an organizational perspective. So companies that are struggling with us definitely check us out. We have, a design team that can help with those things.
Tullio Siragusa (07:48):
Let's move on to the next one. Adam big challenge still around legacy systems and integration. Especially from bigger companies older companies, that's a big challenge. You know, they have legacy platforms and integrating those is, is not easy. And often what happens there is, is that you have outdated technology that's trying to, you know, match up to the latest and greatest. And it can be very expensive and time-consuming, and in some cases, it just doesn't work. So, so you, you now have to scrap things that don't no longer serve you and sunning that's costly and very disruptive to the business. So a lot of companies face this challenge in striking the balance between maintaining existing systems and adopting new technology. And it's a real challenge because ultimately if you're not transforming fast enough and your competitors are, you pride yourself at a disadvantage. What are you seeing, you know, in companies that are challenged with this? How are they handling it, in your, in your experience?
Adam Wendel( (08:55):
Ooh, and this, this is a big one, and it really varies by, I think, the age of an organization. You know, if, if you're an older enterprise organization trying to shift away from a legacy product, it's, it can be really difficult to keep in mind what budget you're going to work with while you're supporting the legacy and what you want to put into moving into the new. And then I, I think it really comes down to defining the outcome that you want on the other side, and what do we want to take away from this, and where do we want to go? And that'll help you define a service plan to get there.
Tullio Siragusa (09:25):
Yeah, I think that's of great importance, defining the outcomes. So, with that, you know, you want to engage with partners that can help with doing assessments of the technology stacks, identifying where the appropriate approach to modernization, sunsetting strategies, you know, making sure that you have a plan for continuous integration. And that's the key thing. You have to celebrate little wins at a time when you're in this environment. You know, doing a big surgical change is incredibly disruptive. It's a lot of companies did that early on and, and found themselves realizing, gosh, this was really, really too, too painful. So, you know, you got to celebrate your wins along the way and working with a partner that understands how to, you know, adopt continuous integration and continuous change is
Adam Wendel( (10:11):
Key. Yeah, and I, I think one other final thing on that one is just the more you invest in the services side of it to make it happen, it just seems like that's going to end up in a more quality outcome rather than trying to correct it later after you, after you start taking those baby steps.
Tullio Siragusa (10:28):
Yeah. The other thing to keep in mind is a lot of companies fail to do this when you're going through a digital transformation and you have a lot of legacy systems and you're trying to marry up the new with the old if you haven't adopted, for example, test automation methodologies, you're going to find yourself behind in trying to keep up with these changes because you have to be able to quickly iterate and test the progress you're making. And if it's based on a manual process that's going to be extraordinarily time-consuming, not to mention prone to errors, you miss things that way. So, so adopting a test automation methodology and adopting the right tools can really accelerate, that integration. So that's definitely something that's a best practice to keep in mind. All right. Let's keep, let's keep going with the third, unless you have a thought on this as well, Adam.
Adam Wendel( (11:20):
You know, I think of the analogy of just kind of fixing the car while you're, or, or improving the car while you're driving down the road. At the end of the day, it's, it might be one way to look at it, but automation is just one of those things that you want on your side to be making it happen while you're progressing along.
Tullio Siragusa (11:36):
Absolutely. Absolutely. Yep. So let's continue on. The other thing that's come up as a, a challenge for enterprises undergoing their digital journey of digital transformation is cybersecurity and data privacy. You know, because business is, are becoming or, and have become more digitally connected, there's a higher risk of a data breach. We've seen many examples of this. I mean, even the IRS got breached, right? So protective sensitive information and also insurance compliance is a big challenge, especially with regulatory compliance, for example, GDPR and CPA in the UK and Europe. So, you know, that's creating new challenges for companies on their digital transformation journey. What have you seen work in terms of planning for this and being more effective around this for companies that you've worked with?
Yeah, I mean, the biggest one is education and just talking about what the best practices are as an organization. You know, something as simple as phishing attacks, right? Is something that we all just have to develop as a muscle in our organizations year after year. And then, well then you can also then talk about what measures you're going to take to make that happen. Are your automation tools going to help you stay ahead of the curve when it comes to seeing these things or, you know, just setting a little more stricter requirements on how we operate as organizations and button things up?
Tullio Siragusa (13:00):
Yeah, and also I, it's important for the IT organization to partner with legal on these sort of things too, because now you have regulatory compliance challenges in how you handle data, especially if you're handling consumer data or if you're in the healthcare space, you have HIPAA compliance. So you need to, if you don't have a compliance team per se, you know, having someone who, who's a partner to the CIO and their team on the legal side is also very important. So it creates new complexities, but there are definitely ways to handle that. And some of the tips for doing that would include, for example educating employees on insecurity has practices like you mentioned, monitoring changes with privacy data regulation, and having a compliance team that can keep up with those things. And then of course, working with a partner, that can offer to consult on how to best approach these challenges. You know, in QA automation we talked about earlier, that's being extended too into doing things like penetration tests and, and, and, you know, some of the cybersecurity testings are becoming part of the, the automation and QA team's efforts as well. So integrating some best practices there will also help in making sure that you've got good coverage on the security side.
Adam Wendel( (14:17):
Yeah, yeah. Best practices and your tools, the applications that contribute to that are what can also help drive to make the change. But absolutely, I think it, in the security space as a whole, I mean, I think this is just something that we're going to see more and more investment overall because that's where we got to go and it really security starts it's in that first stage to make the digital transformation.
Tullio Siragusa (14:36):
You know, I was at a conference about a month ago in San Diego and the F b I presented at that conference and it was very enlightening how many cases of cyber securities exist. It, it's impossible to keep up with all of them, but they were encouraging, if you're a large company, make sure you have a relationship with your local F B I office because they're keeping track of trends. And if you're seeing some anomalies, you can have that partnership work to your advantage. So, I was really, I really appreciated this idea that specifically the FBI is, their cyber task force is very actively looking to support companies to deal with the attack. So having that partnership is also key. I mean, that's very different than even 20 years ago we didn't talk about, we didn't need c didn't have a need to, need to have a relationship with legal or, or the FBI for that matter.
Tullio Siragusa (15:27):
So the world is changing and we need to, you know, keep up with it. Of course. All right, let's keep moving. The fourth thing that often comes up as a big challenge on a company's digital transformation journey is the lack of skills and talent, right? Specifically because of the rapid piece of technology changes, it's la it, it leads to a skill gap, right? And, and we've seen that we, we work in this every day and many organizations are struggling to either retain good employees because those who are leveling up their skills are always, you know, being poached. So that's a challenge in maintaining them. And also there's, there's necessary expertise more than ever now and things like data analytics and, and artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. So, these are some of the uncharted territories, even though they, you know, they're buzz every day we talk about 'em, but to a certain degree, it's not like they're 20-year-old competencies that we've matured. They're still sort of in uncharted territory also. So attracting talent that's leveled up their skills that has these experiences is crucial to the enterprise to successfully navigate on their digital transformation journey. What have you seen with clients? I mean, you work with clients every day on this journey facing these challenges. I mean, that's part of the business with what we do here at Logic Gear. What have you seen as it relates to this, Adam?
Adam Wendel( (16:54):
Well, I mean, on one hand, I think it's important to learn from your partners and the vendors that you have. I mean, that's what, there's an exchange there where we can learn from each other from what, what is the pain of the customer that we can help solve and work out, and then what can they learn? And then the same way for us, what can we learn from them? What's happening in the market so that we can make our services better? And it just comes down to investing in employees to what we can do to help them in their journey to help everybody, whether it be ourselves, a logic gear or on the client side, helping themself learn more about the process.
Tullio Siragusa (17:26):
You know, to a certain degree, the pandemic has helped organization adopt models that allow 'em to leverage remote workers from anywhere, right? So, and I think one of the lessons learned for a lot of companies is, geez, we actually could get in, get access to certain talent that we need if we just, you know, break away from the way we've done it in the past, everybody has to be in the office, right? So, so definitely having globally distributed access to team members with a different specialty is key because you're going to find certain areas of expertise in certain regions of the world more than others. So if you haven't adopted, the model of the onshore and nearshore and offshore for, skills and for the talent you're kind of doing yourself this justice as a business. So it's very important to have a partner that can provide you flexible access to good talent across the globe for specific requirements but also can provide you some good pro program management skills, subject matter experts who can partner with you and help you, you know, get those things done.
Tullio Siragusa (18:31):
I mean that's kind of, that's what we do here at Logic Gear, but I think that's probably one of the biggest challenges enterprises face is, is, you know, how do I get access to the right people that can do all these things? And in some cases, they're just, they're just not where you are, so you have to go outside of the walls of where you are. What have you discovered, Adam, in that, in terms of that, has there been resistance to that lately to do more of that? Or has there been more of an open mind to it since the pandemic?
I mean, I, I love this topic. I mean, you know, has there been resistance to working with global partners as a whole and how we operate as businesses? I mean, I think operating as a 24-hour business with real-time customer service in this day and age, you have to, if, if you're going to go that route, I mean, I'm, I'm a big proponent of it, but I mean, this is how we feel. The lack of skills and talent is basically your workforce then could be a flat organization that could be anywhere. And it just comes down to skills and what you're doing to help your customers. So, I think this is one way to fill that actual digital talent gap is working together.
Tullio Siragusa (19:37):
Yeah, and these are key things. It, you know, it's not about labor arbitrage. You know, when offshore started, the value was labor arbitrage, for example, right? Even nearshore capability is still was taught to labor arbitrage, but it's not about that anymore. It's, it's really about loving up the skillset and finding the right talent where they are. And in most cases, it's also enabling a 24 7 type of scenario for supporting your most important initiative. So one of the encouragements I would give companies is to stop looking for just cost savings. You know, there's value yeah. In, you know, getting talent offshore, but really it comes down to driving the right set of people for the right requirements and, and doing it with a partner that understands how to mix that in such a way that you get both the speed and the value at the same time. You know, and that's the key thing to success today.
Adam Wendel (20:31):
Yeah. And I, I like that too, because it's, you know, it could be speed, it could be efficiency, or it could be maybe, maybe there's a technical problem that, you know, you're just not sure how to get across to that next sprint. Or maybe you just need a consult on a better way to do it that you haven't thought of before within your own teams. So getting help is a good thing and we should welcome in and explore those options when you hit a
Tullio Siragusa (20:53):
Wall. Absolutely. All right. And finally, the fifth biggest challenge, it always comes down to execution and strategy and execution. You know, those two kind of go hand in hand. You can't get to good execution without a good strategy and without execution. Strategy is just, you know nice things to think about, right? So defining a clear digital transformational strategy that aligns with the business objectives is the top priority. And also getting buy-in from the key stakeholders. And often companies will get buy-in from key stakeholders at the top, but you also want to include the employee base and the customer base. So this is where personally I like design thinking because it really, you know, it really challenges you to go and talk to the end users, the people who are going to adopt the change, and really understand what problem you're actually going to be solving and then making sure that you're, you're aligning around the end user, because at the end of the day, if you can't get adoption to the change, then it fails. What have you seen companies, you know, struggle the most with when it comes to strategy and execution?
Adam Wendel( (22:04):
Well, I mean, I think at first you just have to set aside time to have an honest conversation about what you want in your roadmap and what those goals are. And then really kind of like the struggles when you get to how are we going to move forward and take steps. Just, I, I think there's a good book team of teams and, you know, one of the things is just you're going to adapt your strategy as you move along. And I think you got to give your people involved in the process, the, the lateral movement to, to change and adapt to whatever those problems that you're going to be confronting because you're going to have a roadmap at the beginning, and then how you get to that outcome at the final steps. It, it's going to be a little bit different, I think, than what we always expect. So I think that's just something to prepare for as you move through to the solution.
Tullio Siragusa (22:46):
Yeah, I mean, this is one of those things, like even when it comes to self-help, right? You could just read books and try to adopt the principles, or you can work with a mentor or coach or a therapist if you have to, right? But sure, but you don't go at it alone. So, you know, in terms of strategy and execution for companies on their digital journey, it's important not to go at it alone. It doesn't matter how skilled the C and the CTO o or the chief digital offer officer is. When you work with a partner that does this every day with hundreds, and if not, you know thousands of clients over the years you just gain the wisdom, you know, that comes from being able to apply knowledge in a, in a practical way. And so that's the value of having a strong partner that can help plan out the execution, that can help make sure you avoid the pitfalls and, you know, who's been there, done that so many times that can be very valuable. So highly encouraged, making sure you've got a good partner, and also making sure you have good governance and metrics and you're tracking those on a consistent basis. Those are the key tips for today in terms of these top five challenges for digital transformation. Anything you want to add as we come to an end, Adam?
You know, I think it's always a moving target. Keep up the conversation, stay engaged, and you know, keep working out our goals and outcomes. We'll get there together. That's the message I take every day,
Tullio Siragusa (24:11):
<Laugh>. Excellent. We're going to turn this conversation into a blog, and we'll post it on tech leaders unplug.com. It'll come out I think probably next week, so we'll share some of these tips and, and best practices. So, whoever's watching, if you want to dig in a little deeper, we'll make sure we provide some value in that blog. Tomorrow we have another conversation. We're going down again, the path of uncharted territories or, or new marketplaces and new opportunities. And I'm going to speak with one of our own, again, Bill Vannerus. We're going to talk about blockchain, the blockchain revolution, and how industries are being transformed, in a decentralized, secure, and transparent fashion. We'll talk about some of those things that are happening with decks and decentralized and, and smart contracts and all the promises that blockchain has not fully fulfilled yet, you know, it's way beyond crypto folks. So we'll talk about that tomorrow. I'm looking forward to that conversation. So come back tomorrow at 9:30 AM Pacific for another episode with Tech Leaders Unplug. Thank you for joining us and enjoy the rest of your day.
Adam Wendel( (25:19):
Customer Success Manager
Adam Wendel is a seasoned professional with over 15 years of experience helping organizations create value through innovation and relationships.
Adam serves as Customer Success Manager at LogiGear where he plays a vital role in managing renewals, implementing service solutions, identifying expansion opportunities, and driving client success on their digital journey.
With a strong background in customer success, relationship building, account management, and delivery, Adam has proven himself as a well-rounded expert in his field.
Tullio Siragusa, a pioneer of disruptive technologies, is an EQ thought leader, speaker, author, and coach. He has built world-class leadership teams for 34 years in technology companies and startups.
Tullio interviewed over 400 CxOs while producing and hosting dojo.live, gaining unparalleled insights into tech industry trends. He showcases his deep understanding of Design Thinking and EQ-based leadership to 1.3MM readers through his syndicated blog.
Tullio currently serves as Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at LogiGear and is an Advisory Board Member for the University of California, Riverside's Design Thinking Executive Program.
He promotes a human-centered approach to innovation with a strong emphasis on empathy. Tullio is a founding member of RadicalPurpose.org, advocating for human dignity in people-centric workplaces.