The digital market has clearly changed forever the way that business are born, develop and succeed or fail. The ability to absorb the change and challenges that digital presents is a measure of a modern, sustainable business.
Those that have in many ways created the market – for example FaceBook, Amazon et al. have automatically (although not always successfully) adopted the thinking, the methods and ultimately the behaviours that (dare I say) an agile organisation needs to implement.
Clearly many organisations struggle with this – the same challenges that have always existed -problems with structure, unclear purpose, fragmented methods of communication leading to lower levels of performance and ultimately completely unsatisfactory customer experiences have simply been magnified by a newer way of working.
Fortunately, when the digital market was under a period of huge growth, freshness and disruption, speed of decision making and communications were swift, simple and clear. It is ironic then that we are now seeing many of the very companies that were born within the digital market suffering under the same historical problems.
Digital and brand agencies are getting larger and becoming full service digital providers. From UX to development to design, SEO, Social they are offering a huge range of services to companies and clearly they offer size, scale, value and reassurance. However, they are themselves also are becoming slightly repetitive and trapped in a circle of multiple sign-offs, opinions and ego’s – ideas and responses to client needs become formulaic – meeting the need sure, but pushing creativity to the side in the name of timelines, process and monthly targets….
Ring any bells? They are simply replicating the very organisations they are working with. Structures, behaviours and process are mirrored and so are the problems. This may work for many organisations – the need to meet stakeholder expectations and formulaic thinking in terms of what constitutes success (on time, increased visibility but with no true customer success measures) but does it create the environment and services that organisations need to not just absorb change by lead it?
No. And that isn’t a problem if you are the type of company that can withstand the punches from faster competition, is resigned to dealing with organisational issues and is happy just continuing the same path. However, if you are an organisation that wants and must lead change rather than just reacting to it – then this simply is not sustainable, you need to work with agencies that are faster, more flexible less structurally constrained.
The increased number of collaborations and collectives of digital professionals provides a clue as to how the digital market is beginning to recognise and understand how to best work with their own clients. The ability to offer organisations flexible expert resource on demand that is fully dependent on the specific and ‘at this moment in time’ state of a customer challenge is incredibly attractive.
Often working as a collective ‘wing’ of a smaller expert agency these collectives primarily consist of experts who having worked within the digital industry for many years have the knowledge and confidence to work together independently. This provides huge opportunity for the launch of market changing solutions – delivered using process, rigour and skill – with little of the inherent organisational constraints that exist.
They are game changers – sure the digital market has always had independents and freelancers, but this is different – people are now coming together with shared purpose and visions without the desire and need to create large agencies – the ‘been there don’t want to do that’ mentality is beginning to hold sway.
So, if your organisation wants to deliver true change and really make a difference to your customers, then maybe you need to change your own thinking – move away from those agencies that mirror you and work with those that challenge you.