How B2B brands can use new technology to drive business innovation

Maddy Cooper, founding partner at Brilliant Noise, discusses why digital transformation should be a change of mindset and way of working

B2B brands have rightly started to pay attention to implementing new technologies that drive business innovation. But there is too much focus on technology in all the conversations about digital transformation.

CEOs nearly always refer to their CTO (chief technology officer) or chief innovation officer as the ones that have their digital transformation in hand - but the real opportunity lies in considering digital transformation as a change of mindset and ways of working. The greatest innovations come from new way of working and being, not new tech for its own sake. This sounds obvious, but the common mindset amongst organisational leaders is to buy a shiny enterprise level tech solution, to primarily automate old ways of doing things and make them go faster. That's not the right goal.

CMOs are set to outspend CIOs on technology next year and will invest significant amounts on social listening and global content distribution platforms. However, most CMOs aren’t used to buying tech and this usually results in a fraction of the capability being used and slow uptake within the organisation.

People have to be part of the solution design and the new ideal ways of working. Instead of leaping to technology and automation as the answer, B2B businesses need to first address deeper issues to determine what their customers and their employees need to succeed.

Digital transformation is about changing and rethinking the way that people work. The first goal for any business is to create collaborative, agile cultures where different skills and perspectives can merge to create faster opportunities. Then the tech can be briefed.

The mature innovative digital businesses act their way in to a new way of thinking. They think laterally in interdisciplinary teams to transform their customers’ experience and their organisations. They create silo free structures and collaborative cultures, all oriented around the needs of the customer. This results in what we call Connected Customer Marketing – and should be the ultimate goal for all successful businesses.

Companies increase their value when they increase their profit per head - the total return on their people and their processes. The tech should not only make customers happy, but also make employees happier and more efficient. Both have to be transformed for maximum return. The culture stack and the tech stack are equal parts of the challenge and solution.