The Women@Digital group and advisory board settled on the following three objectives:
Collaborate: Learn from our collective experiences and create diverse and inclusive workplace environments through practical action.
Co-create: Become the preeminent adviser on board-level digital agenda items.
Contribute: Inspire women to pursue careers in digital and support like-minded groups to drive more widespread social change.
A common theme in all three objectives is “the power of ‘we’”—meaning our drive and capacity to make a tangible difference, both for our respective organizations and for the broader business community.
The Women@Digital group meets regularly to share updates from their respective teams and organizations, and to learn new ways to make their workplaces more inclusive.
COVID-19 forced us to build and adapt to a virtual world, and it’s more important than ever to enable our colleagues of all backgrounds to succeed. Mentorship is key part of that process. Strong mentor/mentee relationships help us stay connected, share thoughts in a safe and productive environment, and maintain our emotional and mental well-being.
Managing equity—the process of creating and managing owners in your company—with a distributed and remote workforce is a key criterion for success and will likely reflect in the No Normal. We recently partnered with The University of Chicago Booth School of Business to study the challenges of working (and learning) remotely, and found 3 steps to success.
Together, we will continue to combine our individual energy and power to make the work environment more productive and healthier.
The Women@Digital group is also dedicated to engaging board-level digital topics, both at their own companies and for the broader business community. Their current focus areas include:
Industry reports suggest two-thirds of all digital transformation projects fail when trying to build on top of existing legacy systems, limiting value creation. While firms see early success with minimum viable product (MVP) or pilots in select areas, most organizations are unable to achieve scale benefits from digital investments.
Our approach focuses on three things:
Mindset change: A new way of thinking and organizing to effectively deliver against business objectives
Skillset change: Aligned skills and capabilities to support crucial business priorities
Toolset change: Supporting architecture, tools, standards, and processes to enable faster delivery and support collaboration across technology and business groups
AI and Ethics
Revenue generated from the direct and indirect application of AI software is estimated to grow to $36.8 billion by 2025. Managing AI and developing a coherent AI strategy is increasingly a board-level topic, with significant implications for corporate ethical and fiscal responsibility. AI and cognitive systems are already transforming the healthcare, retail, and banking industries, with applications of this technology both within and outside of those industries still in nascent stages.
Most organizations will be touched by AI, and should establish an AI advisory council with a board-level mandate to ensure that company strategy actively anticipates and keeps pace with advances in this area, while governing implications and applications of the technology.
Emerging Retail Technology
Worldwide spending on retail technology is expected to reach $200 billion in 2019, with retailers funneling an increasing percentage of their total technology budget into retail technology. Cutting-edge retail technology can be a core differentiator in overall customer experience and brand perception, but poorly implemented or lagging retail technology can also be a source of customer aggravation, lost revenue, or just a waste of money.
Retailers need to take a goal-oriented and customer-centric approach to retail technology and consider the role of the in-store experience within the customer journey and their brand strategy.
Vendor selections, implementation plans, and maintenance all need to reflect an increasing pace of change in the retail industry, with retailers focusing on functionality, pilots, and agile implementations versus prolonged global rollouts.
Transforming from Legacy to Digital
Eighty-two percent of IT budgets are still allocated to legacy or classic IT with continued focus on efficiencies and stability. Expensive, complex, and outdated legacy IT systems tie up more than 70 percent of technology resources. A CEO’s priority is to fix the legacy given the massive legacy footprint in the financial services space.
Unlocking savings potential in IT frees up resources to be reinvested in digitization. Our approach to legacy transformation includes a wide array of levers (for example, standardization, landscape simplification, operating model changes, Agile and DevOps capability development, and automation). The primary focus is to bring costs and risks down and improve quality and reliability.
The Women@Digital group is committed to inspiring more women to enter the digital space and lifting others as we climb. We regularly partner with similar-minded organizations to accomplish this, including:
DivInc, an Austin-based accelerator program for women and people of color. DivInc transforms the existing entrepreneur tech ecosystem into a more authentically inclusive environment. They believe diversity and inclusion drive innovation, and they aim to unleash the untapped and hidden innovative talent within our communities and generate an entrepreneur mindset shift for generations to come.
Kendra Scott, a jewelry, home decor, gifts, and beauty brand committed to community giving. Their Kendra Gives Back community-giving program allows community members to host in-store events for causes and organizations that work to improve health and wellness, education and entrepreneurship, and empowerment.
We are also committed to partnering with women-owned and -operated businesses for our meetings and initiatives. If you represent or can recommend a relevant business, brand, or organization, please reach out to [email protected].
History of Women@Digital in the Americas
“Sometimes the youngest among us come up with the most brilliant of ideas.”
The idea for a dedicated community of women within the digital space started with one consultant while she was attending a regional firm meeting.
She was in a session for the Digital Transformation Practice when she started to reflect on the presence of the women in the room. They made up less than half of the room, but these women often led the discussion, both within the room and in other circles at the firm.
Individually, these women were already leaders in their circles, so the consultant started to imagine what they could achieve if they formed a formal community. Inspired to find out, she walked over to a few other members of the practice to share the idea. Within a few minutes, the global head of the practice had endorsed the Women@Digital group.