Prof. Niall McKeown, CEO, IonologyProf. Niall McKeown, CEO
Digital transformation isn’t a new concept. Nearly every organisation is either planning to go down this path or already has a digital-first approach to their business processes, operations, and customer engagements. But how many are actually seeing it pay off?

The answer is: surprisingly few. According to recent research by Bain and Company, only eight percent of the global corporations have been able to achieve focused enterprise outcomes from their investments in digital technology. The rest are still struggling to leverage it to the fullest. The key reason behind the huge gap is the mis-sold idea that implementing technology leads to transformation and that technology alone creates a competitive advantage. While new technology is vital to any successful transformation, it is not the primary driver. In other words, technology is only an enabler of digital transformation; it is the people that unite digital thinking, tools, and processes. By focusing on equipping the workforce with the knowledge, training, and leadership support required to develop a digital mindset and skillset, businesses can sustain long-term digital transformation.

To that end, Ionology, a Belfast, Ireland-based firm, has developed a data-driven digital transformation framework that businesses can use to evaluate opportunities, develop an evidence-based roadmap for growth, and create an effective plan of action that unifies leaders, marketers, technologists, and innovation/R&D teams. Prof. Niall McKeown, CEO of Ionology, says, “We help organisations build their capabilities to drive digital transformation using our framework, software, and training. We enable them to make the transition from traditional business thinking to thinking like a digital innovator.”

Instilled at the heart of Ionology is the belief that “Strategy creates competitive advantage; people and a culture of innovation sustain it; and technology and communications are the means by which it is delivered.” Today, everybody has access to the same technology. The difference between those that win and those that do not is in the mindset of the leaders, managers, and decision-makers and how they perceive digital transformation. A strategic approach—with clear ROI goals tied to a clear business value proposition—is the need of the hour. “This is precisely the expertise we bring to the table,” adds Prof. McKeown. “We are a team of digital transformation experts who bind our skills and experience together to help other organisations transform and adapt to today’s rapid pace of change that is driven by technology.”

We are a team of digital transformation experts who bring our skills and experience together to help other organisations transform and adapt to today’s rapid pace of change that is driven by technology

Ionology’s digital transformation framework enables businesses to facilitate growth, innovation, and sales by identifying capability gaps, determining where to spend money on digital, and the best way to profit from these investments. Furthermore, it also helps business leaders employ the most effective marketing tactics, understand if and how they can take on their digital competitors, and select or create the right technology to deliver transformation—all using data-driven decision-making. Drawing an interesting analogy to further explain the capabilities of Ionology, Prof. McKeown states, “A pilot doesn’t need to know how to change the fuel pump on the jet engine but must understand the capabilities of the engine in order to take off, fly, and land the aircraft safely.” Similarly, it is extremely critical for organisational leaders to understand every aspect of a business and the capabilities of emerging technology to create a strategy that aligns with the company’s goals and the needs of the customers while addressing innovation. With the help of Ionology’s framework, businesses can leverage the available resources to map their digital transformation journey and use time, talent, and capital to their advantage.

“Moreover, we can look at the digital footprint of a business and tell how innovative they are. We can also calculate the likelihood of success by measuring a company’s competitive advantage and availability of resources,” informs Prof. McKeown. The digital transformation framework also helps evaluate the volume of customers in the market a business wishes to grow in, identify the tasks the customer is trying to achieve, and test if the customer would buy their proposition over that of the competitor’s. In short, the framework helps companies develop a coherent plan of action, a set of tactics, and defined outcomes, which are typically delivered through technology and communications while also providing the guidance required to improve innovation and close capability gaps.

Besides, Ionology’s offerings go beyond the framework to include advisory services and advanced courses that bridge the gap between business strategy and technology, helping enterprises gain an edge that fits with their transformation strategy. The company specialises in delivering practical, immersive, and interactive in-house training programs to educate independent consultants, business leaders, and decision-makers about the advantage of digital transformation in terms of increased competitiveness, improved customer experience, building an agile, innovative workforce, opening new markets, and reducing operating costs. The learning experience is enriched with hands-on experimentation, AI tools, and peer-to-peer engagement—truly unique, inspiring, and career-enhancing experience for all course participants.

What’s more? The courses are developed by industry experts that work with business and government institutions on a daily basis, helping them in their journey to become agile. “Creating a digital transformation strategy is not something that can be outsourced to IT. Leaders, managers, and decision-makers must take a course in leading such programs if they want to stay relevant in creating an improved business, and our courses guide them to do so in an efficient manner,” asserts Prof. McKeown.

Today, having successfully operated for almost two decades, Ionology is the perfect partner for companies striving to steer through the current sea of uncertain digital transformation. “Most businesses get trapped in digitalising their existing business model. While they are right to be proud of their accomplishments, what they miss is the fact that it is just the starting point, not the end. With our innovative offerings that include education, advisory, and consultancy services, we will continue to help businesses leverage emerging technology to become a high-performance digital business,” concludes Prof. McKeown.

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