The Digital Champions Club story started back in 2015 when the program’s founder, Simon Waller, was consulting to a number of SMEs on various digital transformation initiatives. With a background in business improvement, strategy, leadership and technology, Simon was regularly being asked by organisations to help them identify value adding technology opportunities and then working with them to implement solutions.
The outsourced expert approach, whether it be consultants or IT services has been the de facto way for many SMEs to approach digital transformation. But Simon realised that in a period of accelerating change this approach had its limitations.
He identified four key issues with the outsourced approach.
- Intimacy. Unless external experts are deeply embedded in the organisation they will never truly understand the real needs of the people in it. As a result, they are likely to deliver ‘cookie cutter’ solutions that aren’t the best fit (though they might try and dress this up as ‘best practice’).
- Time. When we engage consultants or outsource IT, time is the defining factor of cost. As such, we generally only engage external experts for the minimum time required. Consequently, there is limited capacity for them to identify and deliver on opportunities outside the defined scope of work.
- Consistency. When an external expert leaves, their knowledge, and the momentum around change, often leave with them. The likely outcome of which is nothing else will happen until they are asked to come back again.
- Cost. Outsourced staff cost more per hour than internal employees. Although there is often a requirement for some expert knowledge, you are often paying expert rates for work that your own staff could do. As technology becomes more pervasive this cost is only going to go up.
What organisations really needed were internal experts who could drive digital transformation projects. Individuals skilled up and supported to not only make smart technology decisions but to take a hands on approach to implementing solutions.
Thankfully, three of Simon’s clients agreed and in 2015 Simon started working on a program that would eventually become the Digital Champions Club.